63°F
weather icon Partly Cloudy

For Caesars, waiting is the smartest part

Olivia Newton-John was just a pen stroke away from signing a deal to perform at the Flamingo when her sister was diagnosed with brain cancer last year.

The deal went on hold, and the Australian star’s older sister Rona faded quickly within six weeks, slipping away last May. Newton-John, 65, took the rest of last year off.

“She just didn’t have it in her to go perform. She needed that time to heal,” says her publicist, Michael Caprio.

But Caesars Entertainment Corp. remained patient. On Tuesday, the company announced what both sides hope will be an open-ended Las Vegas run at the Flamingo, debuting April 8.

The singing star most famous for the movie version of “Grease” will share the early slot in the Flamingo showroom with fellow ’70s superstars Donny and Marie Osmond, performing select weeks during breaks of their long-running show.

Newton-John’s first engagement will be April 8-12, returning May 6-10 and 27-31, and again in July and August. Tickets for all the dates are $69 to $139 and go on sale Friday.

The Flamingo showcase will be a career retrospective adapted from the singer’s touring show, shorter but enhanced with more production value.

If it turns out to be a Las Vegas exclusive, it will be by choice, not by contract. Newton-John has a few other dates booked, but will more or less make Las Vegas her home base.

“I do know the plan is to be here on a more permanent basis, let’s put it that way,” Caprio says.

Our favorite “Grease” girl would perform a few engagements before deciding whether to stay in the hotel or buy a house in town.

“When her sister was alive they used to come here for the shopping and the spas,” Caprio adds. …

This seems to be a fertile time for people who meet doing one show to go off and work together on something else, sometimes creating exciting new ideas. And these people all know each other, which allows me to link most of this week’s column items together like a good Craig Ferguson monologue.

So here we go, getting the bad news out of the way first.

The Phat Pack, a trio of singers who met during the long tenure of the Vegas “Phantom” musical, lasted only nine performances in the Windows Showroom at Bally’s before issues over getting paid came to a boil.

It turns out the room leased from Caesars Entertainment involved two entities. Andrew Van Slee’s Extraordinary Media Inc. is the one that did the deal with the Phat Pack, and is no longer part of the operation.

Ken Walker, whose main business is running Creative Light Source in North Las Vegas, is now the sole lease-holder on the room and the sole producer of “Tony ’n Tina’s Wedding.” He says he would like to have the Phat Pack reopen in April, after one member, Randal Keith, finishes an out-of-state contract in “Young Frankenstein.”

The Phat Pack’s Bruce Ewing says Walker wasn’t able to offer the group a guarantee.

“His main concern right now is keeping ‘Tony ’n Tina’s’ going,” Ewing says. “And I need to either be produced (with a financial guarantee) or close the show and do it on the road for a while.”

After doing the show at their own expense at the Plaza, “we can’t do that anymore,” Ewing adds. …

So, Randal Keith is off to “Young Frankenstein,” but not without one more turn in “Les Miserables.”

Keith toured with “Les Miz” for years in the starring role of Jean Valjean. Doing it one more weekend, in a concert version that benefits Golden Rainbow and UNLV’s Performing Arts Center and School of the Arts, won’t be as much of a novelty to him as it will be to Tim Molyneux, who sings the role of Valjean this Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m., before turning it over to Keith the next weekend. Tickets are $25.

Molyneux makes a high school dream come true by playing Valjean. But he is better known on the Strip as the producer of “Bite,” which had a good run at the Stratosphere. Until the stake is pulled from the dormant vampire revue, he returns to his first love.

“I never set out to be a producer, it just fell into my lap,” he says.

But he did set out to be a singer from age 5, and started learning opera at 13. Molyneux is also training his tenor on an album of standards and Motown classics with local producer Pat Thrall.

The performances at Artemus Ham Hall will be without costumes but with “implied theatrics.” Bill Fayne conducts a 25-piece orchestra and the Las Vegas Master Singers, and says his arms were tired after the first rehearsal of two hours and 40 minutes of music.

“It’s certainly the most ambitious thing I’ve ever tried to do here,” Fayne says. …

So a few weeks ago I wrote about Fayne helming a work called “A Love Story,” with Anne Martinez as one of the singers in the romantic triangle he concocted.

Now Martinez is co-creating a work of her own called “Alice,” which she calls “a romantic steampunk” take on “Alice in Wonderland” and a vehicle for BBR, her singing duo with Savannah Smith.

The two stage the work with four dancers and a nine-piece band at 11 p.m. Tuesday in the lounge of The Tuscany, 255 E. Flamingo Road.

Martinez says she believes the show has commercial potential for Las Vegas, and developed it thinking, “If I went to see a show, what is something I can’t find right now that would blow me away?”

Martinez knew bandleader David Perrico and choreographer and co-director Ryan Kelsey from her tenure in “Pin Up.” She was a singer in that show before joining the short-lived “Dancing Queen,” a generic revue that’s perhaps the perfect example of why we need to try things such as “Alice.”

And, just to prove I can tie it all together Ferguson-style (but without the wit), trumpeter Perrico on Tuesday recorded his band’s standing gig at the Stratosphere. He says two record labels are interested in his original compositions for the big band.

So far, the recording won’t be available to you or me. “Right now we just want to capture some stuff because the band hasn’t been recorded yet,” he says. But you never know.

Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at mweatherford@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0288.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Entertainment Videos
What it's like to skip the lines and fly by helicopter to EDC
What it's like to skip the lines and fly by helicopter to EDC. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Smith & Wollensky opens at The Venetian
After 18 years, the Smith & Wollensky location on Las Vegas’ south Strip closed in 2017, to be re-born two years later with a rib-cutting — instead of a ribbon-cutting — in The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
Colin Cantwell, Creator Of Iconic Star Wars Ships Visits Vegas
Colin Cantwell, who created and designed such "Star Wars" ships as the X-Wing fighter, and Death Star, met fans at Rogue Toys in Las Vegas today. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Beauty & Essex in Las Vegas makes an EDC Wonder Wheel
In honor of the Electric Daisy Carnival, Beauty & Essex at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas makes its Wonder Wheel party-worthy. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Giada talks Vegas Uncork’d
Giada De Laurentiis talks during Aperitivo Hour, a Vegas Uncork'd event, at her Caesars Palace restaurant, Pronto, May 10, 2019. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Scenes from Vegas Uncork’d 2019 on the Las Vegas Strip
The 13th edition of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit brought four days of food, wine, celebrity chefs and parties to town, May 9-12. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Three ingredients Gordon Ramsay can’t live without
Bon Appetit's Andy Baraghani interviews the "Hell's Kitchen" chef during a Vegas Uncork'd event at Caesars Palace, May 11, 2019. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas Uncork’d launches wiith bubbles and a blade
Dozens of chefs representing some of the Strip’s top restaurants gathered Thursday at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas to launch the 2019 edition of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bunky the Clown at the clown convention
Bob "Bunky the Clown" Gretton talks about his life as a clown and the Clown Convention which was in Las Vegas at Texas Station this week. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Frying soft-shell crab at Lola’s in Las Vegas
At Lola’s: A Louisiana Kitchen in Las Vegas, soft-shell crab is breaded and fried and served either as an appetizer, po’boy or platter. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
The Stove in Henderson makes Pecan Pie Pancakes
At The Stove in Henderson, chef/partner Antonio Nunez stacks buttermilk pancakes with pecans and dulce de leche and tops them pie crust crumbs. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vinnie Paul remembered at Count's Vamp'd
The late rocker's favorite table at one of his favorite clubs in Las Vegas. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
4DX movie experience at Red Rock
4DX movie experience during a demo reel at Red Rock. (Christopher Lawrence/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
What To Do On May The 4th
There are plenty of events going on May the 4th this year around Las Vegas. Celebrate Star Wars and Comic Book Day all at once. The Rogue Toys, the 501st, Rebel Legion and Millennium Fandom Bar are all hosting fun events to help celebrate your geek-dom. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Water Sports Introduces New Attraction At Lake Las Vegas
Las Vegas Water Sports will debut its new aqua park attraction at Lake Las Vegas Days this weekend. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Making the Space Invader at Greene St. Kitchen in Las Vegas
Lysa Huerta, pastry cook at Greene St. Kitchen at the Palms in Las Vegas, starts with angel food cake, Fruity Pebbles ice cream and strawberry sorbet to create a space creature engulfed in flashing lights and swirling mists. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Pools
The M, Park MGM and NoMad are just a few great pools in Las Vegas. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jose Andres explains Iberico pork
(Al Mancini/Las Vega Review-Journal)
Inside Life is Beautiful
Craig Asher Nyman explains how Life is Beautiful festival is booked and talks about this year's line-up. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tattoo'd America Pops Up In Vegas
Tattoo'd America, a new pop-up attraction on the Linq Promenade, had their grand opening Friday. The attraction is dedicate to the culture of tattoos. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Jose Andres gets key to the Strip
Chef Jose Andres was presented with a Key to the Las Vegas Strip and a proclamation declaring April 26 Jose Andres Day in Clark County by County Commissioner Tick Segerblom on Friday. The ceremony took place at his restaurant Bazaar Meat in the SLS Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sadelle’s in Las Vegas makes a grilled cheese with an inverted bagel
Michael Vargas, executive sous chef at Sadelle’s at Bellagio in Las Vegas, inverts an everything bagel and grills it with Swiss, cheddar and Muenster cheeses to make the Inverted Bagel Grilled Cheese. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Learn how to make China Poblano's Salt Air Margarita
Learn how to make China Poblano's Salt Air Margarita (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tattoo'd America invites you to have fun and take pictures
Kassandra Lopez at Tattoo'd America invites you to have fun and take pictures. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Prime rib is carved tableside at Lawry’s The Prime Rib in Las Vegas
Dave Simmons, executive chef of Lawry’s The Prime in Las Vegas, which plans special cuts for National Prime Rib Day, demonstrates the restaurant’s service from rolling tableside carving carts. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making gluten-free pizza at Good Pie in Las Vegas
Good Pie owner/pizzaiola Vincent Rotolo makes his gluten-free pizza.
Rockabilly fans enjoy Las Vegas weather poolside
Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender runs Thursday, April 18th through Sunday, April 21st with a huge car show on Saturday featuring The Reverend Horton Heat, The Delta Bombers and The Coasters. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Brownie sundae at VegeNation in Las Vegas is completely vegan
Donald Lemperle, chef/owner of VegeNation in Las Vegas and nearby Henderson, NV, makes his sundae with ice cream made with coconut and almond milks, a brownie made with coconut flour and oil and organic sugar and cacao, and fresh fruit. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Taste of the Town: Henderson Booze District
Those who like to support local businesses and sample local products will find the best concentration in an unlikely spot: a Henderson industrial park.
Founder of Las Vegas theater talks about a favorite play
Ann Marie Pereth, founder of A Public Fit Theatre Company, speaks to the Review-Journal about which play she would see every day if only given one option. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST
Roger Waters melds classic rock, modern concerns

The tour is called “Us + Them” for reasons made very clear. But Roger Waters’ tour stop Friday at T-Mobile Arena also seemed at times to alternate between “us” and “him.”

Mel Brooks makes his Las Vegas debut — at age 91

Comic legend witnessed classic Vegas shows, and his Broadway show ‘The Producers’ played here. But Wynn Las Vegas shows will be his first on stage.