weather icon Clear

‘Laugh Out Loud with The Scintas’

Sometimes it’s better not to live up to the hype.

Teaming with new producers for a full-circle return to the Las Vegas Hilton, The Scintas talked of radically changing their approach after 30 years.

Fortunately, they overstated the situation. The family band from Buffalo doesn’t have a lot of competition for the old-Vegas dollar, so it’s not so much a matter of getting with the times. They did all they really needed to do: open the sibling act to outside scrutiny and tighten it up a bit.

The new "Laugh Out Loud" in Shimmer Cabaret has a few change-ups for loyal fans, but isn’t likely to change the larger world’s perception of The Scintas (pronounced "Shin-tahs"). You either think of the group as the last bastion of old-school variety, or you’re too busy clubbing and Cirque du Soleil-ing to think of them much at all.

For seven years now, Frankie Scinta has been the go-to guy if you want to see someone play the spoons and imitate Dean Martin. (Danny Gans? Doesn’t play the spoons.) But don’t count on Chrissi Scinta’s covers of Beyonce and Gwen Stefani to empty the club line.

The Scintas were more of what they used to call a "show band" when they first played the Hilton in 2000. The Italian jokes and Ray Charles impressions rekindled an era when lounge acts put on minishows mirroring those in the main showroom, but with more emphasis on the zany. "For Once in My Life" may be a fine tune, but it’s so much better when you do it with the Stevie Wonder cornrows and shades, right?

After bigger stages at the Rio and Sahara, the 325-seat Shimmer seems less of a comedown for the group than a homecoming. Drummer Peter O’Donnell — the only nonsibling member of the quartet — is again down close enough for the audience to see his face and hear his quips. The three added utility musicians also chime in on the wisecracks.

A colorful stage conceals the standing set for "Menopause The Musical" and gives the show a game show luster; no surprise if you know co-producer Andy Walmsley is a set designer for "American Idol" and other high-profile TV series.

Content changes are more subtle. When Joe Scinta waddles out as Joe Cocker, looking as though he had just woke up from a bender that lasted the entire 1970s, it’s now for just enough time to get the joke without a belabored bit.

Likewise, Frank’s "Piano Man" salute to the family’s late father used to leave the others cooling their heels backstage. Now it’s a group effort that builds into a rousing Billy Joel medley, one that most of The Scintas’ demographic will find as easy to sing along with as the shopworn "Lean on Me" finale.

Not every change works so well, even though it’s nice to see the effort. Chrissi, who usually spells the comedy with straight-faced singing, is now of an age where she’s better off with the timeless choices ("You Raise Me Up") than chasing the pop tarts with Stefani’s "The Sweet Escape." (Show Business Rule No. 23: Young pop star covering a standard? Cool. Older singer covering young pop star? Not so much.)

Walmsley and co-producer Steve Parker also may have pruned so much down to the comic impressions that they didn’t leave enough time for the Scintas to be themselves. I’ve seen the act so many times that I can’t really tell if a first-timer can still get the full Frank-and-Joe dynamic. The brisk pace is mostly welcome, but some less-rehearsed banter could further the lounge vibe the room encourages.

But for the most part, this is the lift the family needed to test its continued Vegas viability. The biggest drawback for The Scintas’ older fans might be the 9:30 p.m. start time, and even that is somewhat mitigated by a 2 p.m. matinee on Mondays.

To paraphrase a Sinatra song everyone in this audience will know: If they can’t make it here, forget about them making it anywhere else in town.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Entertainment Videos
Heavier traffic expected from EDC festival attendees
Electric Daisy Carnival attendees began to vacate the Las Vegas Motor Speedway starting before 5 a.m., the majority heading south on Interstate 15.
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)
DJ Steve Aoki visits Las Vegas comic book store
DJ Steve Aoki visits Torpedo Comics in Las Vegas Friday, May 17, 2019, for a signing for his new comic book series "Neon Future." (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
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)
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.