Rita Rudner, the Strip’s $100M woman, to be legendarily honored

Updated August 15, 2017 - 10:45 am

The Kats Report Bureau at this writing is near the entrance of Jean-Philippe Patisserie at Bellagio. The place offers wondrous cakes and crepes, but I dig it for the coffee. Another great, if unexpected, coffee brew is at The Smith Center. I highly recommend.

The purpose of this visit was to meet Sarah Jessica Parker, to chat shoes and Vegas and movies and such. Her SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker boutique at Bellagio is open, and Parker says the pressure is on. “I feel like I have 10 million female friends,” she says. “I need to give them high quality.”

I don’t know how many male friends she has, but she made another on this visit. One day, maybe, we’ll see some boys’ shoes in the store.

More from the scene:

Still a stand-up woman

Rita Rudner remembers her first gig in Las Vegas, about 30 years ago, at a convention at the Las Vegas Hilton.

“I was hired to dance and sing about cars at an industrial show,” she says. “I danced around a Lincoln Continental. I think I can still sing about that car.”

Soon after, Rudner was performing 21 shows a week (yes, three per night) at Riviera Comedy Club, launching an extended stay (personally and professionally) on the Strip, which included residencies at New York-New York, Harrah’s and The Venetian.

Over a 15-year run on the Strip, Rudner sold nearly two million tickets and grossed more than $100 million. Her tenure and influence are being honored with the Casino Entertainment Legend Award at the fifth annual Casino Entertainment Awards on Oct. 4 at Vinyl at the Hard Rock Hotel. The event is tied to the annual Global Gaming Expo (G2E) convention.

Previous Legend award-winners include Jerry Lewis, Wayne Netwton and Brenda Lee. Also being honored is Mark Prows, MGM Resorts’ senior vice president for entertainment operations, who oversees arena activities in the company.

Rudner and her husband and manager, Martin Bergman, still own a home in Las Vegas and split time between here and Laguna Beach, California. She has most recently headlined in the Comedy Rocks series Rocks Lounge at Red Rock Resort, and is set to return Nov.3-4. Fans will recognize her opening act, her 15-year-old daughter Molly, who is an emerging singer-songwriter. Rudner once joked about children as “the sticky little people,” but that was before Molly came into her life.

“She is amazing,” Rudner says. “We went to Hawaii for two shows, one in Waikiki and one in Maui, and she took a friend and opened for me. It’s so natural, wonderful, for us to be able to do that.”

She and Bergman are working on a play. “It’s about two people who meet in Las Vegas and build a life together,” she says. “I think we’re in Act 3 right now — in the play and in life.”

Daltrey’s bubbly

The Who frontman Roger Daltrey launched his champagne last week at Mr. Chow at Caesars Palace. The new bubbly, called Champagne Cuvee Roger Daltrey, is offered by the glass or by the bottle on Mr. Chow’s famed champagne trolley. The champagne is a partnership with Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of Nevada and the entertainment-based distribution company Eminent Life.

A portion of the proceeds go to Teen Cancer America, the charity co-founded by Daltrey and fellow Who founder Pete Townshend.

No Opium at The Act

The latest word on Opium moving into The Act at the Shoppes at Palazzo is: Opium is not moving into that space. This is fresh news, veritably confirmed through a spokeswoman for Venetian/Palazzo. The Las Vegas production company Spiegelworld had planned to use the venue for a variety show, but officials responded to reports about the project over the weekend and said it is a no-go. Opium is reportedly still in development, but not at The Act, at least not now. But as we have learned, stay tuned. A lot can happen in a week.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Sheldon Adelson, chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp., which operates The Venetian and the Palazzo.

Who was where

Sunday: Boxing legends Mike Tyson and Floyd Mayweather at hoop legend Shaquille O’Neal’s debut as DJ Diesel at Rehab at the Hard Rock Hotel … The Weeknd at Drai’s Nightclub at The Cromwell, taking in the set by Drai’s Live resident artist Fabolous.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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