Hey, that guy’s Wayne Newton costume was spot-on.
It was the real Wayne Newton who headlined for the well-heeled at the first Halloween party at the new-and-improved Stirling Club at Turnberry Place on Wednesday night. Newton was the show-closing star, performing “C.C. Rider,” “Viva Las Vegas,” and “Danke Schoen” among other classics in a five-song set.
“They said I could only sing four songs!” Wayne Newton called to the crowd of about 550 VIPs. “But is it OK if I sing one more?”
Mr. Las Vegas hadn’t yet sung “Danke Schoen,” his signature song, so the extended set list was not a surprise. Nor was Newton’s participation; he was a scheduled performer for a crowd laden with Turnberry Place residents and prospective club members.
Even club owner Richard Ditton, who purchased the annex in for $12 million in March, was in the house (he was the bearded gent in the wizard outfit).
Earlier, Newton had performed his regular show at Caesars Palace’s Cleopatra’s Barge, where famed filmmaker Tim Burton — also not a costume — was in the audience. “You’re an idol!” Burton, a fan of vintage Vegas icons whose “Lost Vegas” fine-art exhibit is currently on display at Neon Museum.
Newton then hustled to the Stirling Club, where he was reunited with Kelly Clinton-Holmes, a backing singer for him for several years dating to 1987.
“This night is exciting, for me personally and I know you’re excited,” said Clinton-Holmes, who was Stirling Club’s entertainment director in the venue’s previous incarnation before it shut down in May 2o12. The scene was further enlivened by the Every Woman Band, which headlines Rocks Lounge at Red Rock Resort,
Off-stage, Newton appeared in court Tuesday at the sentencing in the burglary case at his Las Vegas estate, later saying, “I know that when I am outside the gates of my home, I belong to the public, but this was a violation of my family’s home.”
Later that day, he and his wife, Kathleen; and daughter Lauren began taking videos and pictures of personal items at Casa de Shenandoah in an ongoing dispute with Shenandoah’s new owners over ownership of those items.
The Newtons are next due in court for a hearing on the matter on Nov. 13, and Newton especially has said the process is grinding him down — he did not attend the most recent proceedings on Oct. 22. As Newton showed again at Stirling Club, he’s far more suited to the showroom than the courtroom.
On the topic of big figures at the Stirling Club. …
Ex-Raider great Lincoln Kennedy prevailed in the Raiders Foundation Nevada Youth Football League benefit charity tournament at the club on Oct. 24. A giant on the field and also in Las Vegas poker rooms, Kennedy has honed his card-playing acumen in such casinos as Bellagio and Wynn Las Vegas.
Thus, Kennedy, an all-pro offensive tackle, was a favorite to at least contend in an event that also drew actor and World Poker Tour analyst Vince Van Patten. Kennedy, who worked the room in shades while smoking a fine stogie, came away with the tournament’s grand prize: a seat at the 2020 World Series of Poker.
Raiders alumni who turned out included Jim Plunkett, Khalif Barnes, Mario Celotto, Leo Gray, Darren McFadden, Marcel Reese, Barry Sims, and Roland and Sam Williams. The Foundation has effectively arranged for ex-Raiders greats to lay the groundwork in the community for the team’s arrival next season. Raiders President Marc Badain also played, with proceeds going to the NYFL. Those figures are still to be announced.
The Colosseum at Caesars Palace is often called the House that Celine Built, similar how Yankee Stadium was the House that Ruth Built. But Celine Dion, currently on world tour, is reportedly building an actual home in the Summit master-planned community. Dion’s plans for a possible performance residency in Las Vegas are still to be determined, but a living residency is already in the blueprints.
I caught “Friends A Musical Parody” at the D Las Vegas on Tuesday night. I never understood the popularity of the TV show, so I didn’t get every joke and reference, but did feel the sitcom deserved good skewering and this show zealously serves it up.
The unauthorized satire of “Friends” is a rare piece of musical theater in Las Vegas — especially on Fremont Street. This show occupies its own classification. The cast sings it great and has mastered the original actors’ mannerisms and quirks — around the horn it’s Erin Balstar as Monica, Zac Greenwell as Joey, Jerod Perez as Chandler, Luke Striffler as Ross, Jackson Tobiska as Gunther, Nicole Unger as Rachel and Casey Weems as Phoebe. The swings — invaluable in such a wide-ranging ensemble cast — are Val Witherspoon and Ryan Flanigan.
Technically, a common challenge in small-venue productions is a proper audio system, especially when delivering a heavily scripted performance. That was the case in the show I caught — the effort of writing lines that require timing were frequently undercut by substandard mic setup. Check those head mics.
But there are many inspired moments — “Smelly Mom,” a work-around version of “Smelly Cat,” is funny. So is the show-closing, “The One Where They Make On Million Dollars An Episode,” riffing on “Seasons of Love” from “Rent.” The parody has impressively run for a year, on the second-floor D Showroom, and is boosted by the original sitcom’s 25th anniversary. This show is like a trip to Central Perk, you’ll walk out with a bit of a lift.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram