Benefit bringing performers together

John O’Hurley is down with the creative premise of the annual Golden Rainbow benefit. Sure he’s the star of “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” but the 22nd “Ribbon of Life” is all about stepping out of your regular job on the Strip to do something different.

So the “Spamalot” cast will instead stage the “Bend and Snap” number from “Legally Blonde,” with O’Hurley as the hunky UPS guy, complete with “a totally inappropriate outfit,” the actor says through a Wynn Las Vegas spokeswoman.

“Everyone always wants to do something new,” says Chris Coaley, co-director of the weekend’s benefit for AIDS and HIV prevention and support programs. “The energy comes from the fact that they have the chance to do something new and creative.”

More than 300 performers from productions on the Strip and local arts troupes rehearse their segments in separate groups, coming together at the last minute for the two shows at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in the theater at Paris Las Vegas. Tickets range from $35 to $200; call 384-2899 for information.

This year’s revue is divided into three segments. A Disney-heavy “Hollywood” segment includes performers and their children. A “Heartland” middle is heavy on gospel and rootsy song choices, with singers including Tim Searcy and Reva Rice. It’s followed by the traditional salute to Broadway, with the “Mamma Mia!” cast reworking the “Gypsy” song “You Gotta Get A Gimmick” as “You Gotta Get A Cirque Show.” …

The debut of the Vegas Voice blog by Review-Journal entertainment writers has provided a vehicle for instant posting of show openings and closings. But for those who don’t yet have it bookmarked (hint, hint: https://www.reviewjournal.com/blogs/vegasvoice) — or who still feel safer with their cereal bowls near newsprint instead of their laptops — here’s a recap (and some new twists) on changes at the Sahara and Flamingo Las Vegas:

Trent Carlini’s Elvis Presley tribute closed abruptly a couple of weeks ago. David Saxe, who inherited the revue from original producer Joey Battig, says he had to close the show for myriad reasons, which he declined to elaborate. Battig and former band members — whom Saxe replaced with impressionist Gordie Brown’s band — say the show was starved for attention and affection from the new producer.

The other Sahara tribute, “Fab Four Mania,” closes on Saturday, with its cast going through a divorce. Half the cast will move to the Saxe-operated V Theater in the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood to reopen under a new name as early as Monday, while the other half — the half which holds the rights to the Fab Four name — will be seeking a new venue.

Producer Ron McNeil, who sometimes plays John Lennon in the show, says Frank Mendonca as Paul McCartney and Gavin Pring as George Harrison will stay with him. Steve Craig and Tony Felicetta will move to the V as Lennon and Ringo Starr.

The tribute shows make way for one new one that will replace them: “Raw Talent Live” will debut in August, the creative concept of producer Nicole Durr — billed only by her nickname, “ND,” in press materials — who was last seen on the Strip with “Havana Night Show” at the Stardust. (The theater still is leased to Saxe, but he will not have an active hand in the production, essentially subleasing to the new producers).

Durr is a business partner of Bernie Yuman, longtime manager of Siegfried & Roy, who is listed as executive producer in the venture. Though Siegfried & Roy were investors in the Cuban show, they are not said to be involved in this one.

The press release for the new show promises a combination of dance, original music and “exclusive, high-tech video illusions,” transporting audiences to a “virtual world.”

“Havana Night Show” was at the Stardust from August 2004 to February 2006. The Cuban revue made national news when its Stardust arrival was delayed a month by the Cuban government holding up the 50 performers’ visas. The government must have suspected what would follow; the company defected en masse that November.

At the Flamingo Las Vegas, The Second City comedy troupe will vacate the 180-seat cabaret it shares with “X Burlesque” on Aug. 1. Steve Flynn, local spokesman for the Chicago-based enterprise, says the producers “got along very well with our neighbors,” but missed the ability to run late shows as well as an element of control.

Flamingo Las Vegas spokeswoman Deanna Petit says options still are being discussed, and that it’s “not a given” that “X Burlesque” will add more shows or change its show time.

Mike Weatherford’s entertainment column appears Thursdays and Sundays. Contact him at 702-383-0288 or e-mail him at mweatherford@reviewjournal.com.

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