“Steve Wynn’s Showstoppers” stopped the show on New Year’s Eve, but Rachel Tyler continues to sing with great resonance at Wynn Las Vegas.
One of the principal singers in “Showstoppers” for 13 months, Tyler has landed at the hotel’s lone remaining production show, “Le Reve.” She took this tack in the aquatic spectacle on Dec. 19, less than two weeks before the closing of “Showstoppers.”
A real “belter” out of Liverpool, England, Tyler sang Barbra Streisand’s “Don’t Rain on My Parade” from “Funny Girl” and Ethel Merman’s “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” from “Gypsy” in “Showstoppers.”
In August, “Le Reve” issued a casting call for a new singer and Tyler was among the vocalists from near and far who auditioned. The format was similar to NBC’s “The Voice” for the singer and four “judges” — in this instance Wynn Entertainment General Manager Rick Gray, famed director Philip Wm. McKinley, music director Michael Brennan and Wynn himself.
“It was quite a serious process, the space was very cavernous and we were singing from ‘the cage,’ or the booth above the stage,” Tyler says. “We sang a few recordings in the studio, and it was up to Mr. Wynn to pick his favorite.”
A physical as well as vocal presence in “Showstoppers,” Tyler hopes she’s more visible as “Le Reve” continues to evolve. The show’s band and singers (Tyler and her male counterpart, Drew Williams) are out of sight, singing from the perimeter of the watery, in-the-round stage.
“There is some talk of having us up and out, on the stage, and obviously that’s something I’m hoping for,” Tyler says. “I like to be up there and performing.”
But Tyler is still singing on the Strip, in a remarkable opportunity. “I’m still feeling quite surprised,” she says. “I just can’t believe my luck.”
Which long-running Vegas production has just added “Love Shack” by the B-52s and “(You Gotta Fight) For Your Right (To Party)” by the Beastie Boys? Answer below …
NECKS OF RED; SADDLES OF SILVER
“We really want to be on the Strip, but it won’t be easy,” John Rich said Thursday afternoon. “Everybody wants to be on the Strip.”
You know it, Cowboy.
Rich is the “Rich” of the country tandem Big & Rich, and proprietor of Redneck Riviera, the bouncy country bar that just opened on the second level of Bally’s, above the Grand Bazaar Shops. The club faces the Strip, and has fold-up walls opening to the scene below.
Rich noted that Las Vegas is a mecca of country-western culture, for the annual National Finals Rodeo, PBR bull riding events and Academy of Country Music Awards telecasts. But he said that he felt frustrated because there is just not enough country music to be found in this town.
“As a fan, I would finish with a concert or leave an awards show looking for a place to find country music,” Rich said. “It’s out there, but you’ve gotta find it on the right night in the right place.”
One place to look: Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill, which has been doing burnin’ business for a decade just up the Strip at Harrah’s. But the live-entertainment schedule at Redneck Riviera is unmatched, as Rich promised acts running daily from 11 a.m.-2 a.m.
Ambitious, but if these folks do their homework they’ll find plenty of country-styled acts in VegasVille. The locally popular Tony Marques Band played Thursday’s opening. Also displayed in the club is a dazzling design effect: A mirrored, disco saddle, spinning gloriously over the dance floor.
Fancifully, Vegas proves once more it really is a cow town.
WHO WAS WHERE
Thursday: Killers front man Brandon Flowers at the 8 p.m. performance of “Absinthe” at Caesars Palace. Flowers popped into the show, but couldn’t make it until the end for a scheduling conflict … Marie Osmond at the opening of Redneck Riviera at Bally’s … Wednesday: Bill Medley of Harrah’s headliners the Righteous Brothers. Also in the room, original Osmond Brothers Merrill and Jay Osmond …
Donny & Marie’s show at Flamingo Las Vegas, which has been retooled with a new tribute to the ’80s as its opening number. You have to love these two summoning the rowdy Beastie Boys classic. Great times, as always, as D&M start their ninth year on the Strip.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section, and Fridays in Neon. He also hosts “Kats! On The Radio” Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on KUNV 91.5-FM and appears Wednesdays at 11 a.m. with Dayna Roselli on KTNV Channel 13. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.