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Plaza Showroom springing back to life with laughs

Updated March 30, 2021 - 6:49 pm

Plaza Showroom has long been one of the city’s hidden gems, if a gem can be hidden in the middle of a hotel-casino on Main Street.

The regally appointed throwback venue is springing back to life this spring. Proving that comedy works in Las Vegas, “The Comedy Works” series is front and center, with Kevin Farley re-introducing the series April 30-May 1. Farley is a Second City alum who appeared in “Black Sheep” with his late brother, Chris Farley.

“Saturday Night Live” vet Chris Kattan headlines June 18-19. The series lineup is further bolstered by Jim Florentine (May 7-8), Lavell Crawford (May 21-22), Augie T. (May 28-29), Luis J. Gomez (June 4-5), and T.J. Miller’s “The Best Medicine Tour: Doing it Right” (July 23-24).

Plaza CEO Jonathan Jossel has tried a few concepts in the venue, including such productions that didn’t stick, the musical “A Mob Story” from September through December 2018, and the variety show “One Epic Night” for five weeks in 2016. The Scintas and even a run of “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” have also played the room.

But headlining comedy is king now.

“We like how the room is set up for comedy, but we wanted to be able to go to the larger capacity before bringing back the series,” Jossel said Tuesday afternoon. “The room will be primarily for comedy, and we’re planning to announce more headliners as we move forward.”

Jossel is also planning to use the venue for the hotel’s 50th anniversary later this year. That date actually falls July 2, but the party is planned to be too large to play small.

“We need mass capacity for the 50th,” Jossel said. “It’s going to be huge.”

Prince and repeat

We are old enough to remember Elton John’s residency “The Red Piano” at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace. Today it’s Marshall Charloff and “The Purple Piano” Prince tribute at Alexis Park’s Athena Showroom. The show premieres Friday and runs 8 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays (tickets are $49.95, excluding fees, at ticketkite.com or 702-483-8056).

Charloff re-creates Prince’s final tour concept, “The Piano & A Microphone” from January 2016, a showcase of just the artist at the piano. The tour was cut short by Prince’s death on April 21, 2016. The album of unreleased material “The Piano & A Microphone 1983” followed in 2018

Charloff is a veteran symphony musician who has played with the Atlanta Rhythm Section, and starred in the touring show “Purple Experience.”

The new Alexis Park headliner is peeling back Prince’s legacy to a single instrument. As he explains, “I created this show to take up the mantle of ensuring that more people saw this intimate side of Prince that is faithful to him.”

Setting sail

The Windjammers have survived COVID. The new version of Jerry Lopez’s yacht-rock outfit plays a single show 7:30 p.m. April 10 at The Copa Room at Bootlegger Bistro. This is the first show at Copa Room since Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns paused The Healing in February 2020.

Seating is limited, and reservations are encouraged at 702-609-3390. Admission is $45 with two drinks, a fair bit higher than the Santa Fe shows, but remember, this is a refined, yacht-like experience.

Yahz indeed

Austin Lydell Patterson, known professionally as Yahz Chyld, brings the “Neon Black With Yahz Chyld Collective” show to The Space at 8 p.m. Friday. The lineup should destroy the place (figuratively) with Savannah Lynx, J.R. Beatbox, Chimini, Mariko, John Gillette, B. Dailey, Malachi “Kyi” Durant, and Gloria “Glo” Vivelo in the mix. A “halftime show” from Otischa Smiley is in the mix.

Patterson is a multifaceted vocalist/pianist who has developed a blend of soul and funk. This is worth a look-see, or a spin, if you will. Major talent all over the place. The event livestreams, too, at thespacelv.com.

What works in VegasVille

The Jeff Hamilton Organ Trio just lit up Stoney’s Rockin’ Country club, or as Hamilton dubbed the place, “Stoney’s Rockin’ Jazz Blues Country Bossa Nova Club.”

Monday’s show was the first jazz showcase ever at the Town Square throw-down haunt. Hamilton might be the best jazz drummer in the world right now. A few of my jazz-aficionado friends tell me so.

One is Mike “Jonesy” Jones, the wondrous jazz-piano artist who plays the music interludes for Penn & Teller at the Rio. Jones will be back onstage when the magic show returns April 22. Until then, he needs to find a place for the 136 jazz-piano videos he’s recorded during COVID. I say a long watch party, maybe at Stoney’s Bossa Nova place.

Cool Hang Alert

This really is an alert because this Cool Hang doesn’t quite exist yet. Nonetheless, The Nevada Room, the larger sister venue to The Vegas Room at Commercial Center, has set an April 20 opening for its piano bar and bistro. At least, around that time. Vegas pianist Patrick Hogan, from UNLV’s jazz studies program and the Maryfair Supper Club is tentatively the first headliner.

A big supper club is also in the plans, to open a bit after the bistro, in an entertainment and dining fortress covering 7,000 square feet. This place headed up by Tom Michel and Chef David Robinson has amazing potential, in a historic location. We’ll be there, a lot, first to see Mr. Hogan.

Home means Nevada

Somehow it makes sense in VegasVille that the architect of the modern residency, Celine Dion, and the state’s longest-serving governor, Bob Miller (office-holder from 1989-1999) share a birthday. Dion turned 53 and Miller 76 on Tuesday.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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