It’s now definite that Nov. 5 is the date for the VegasCares show that local headliners and entertainers will present at the main theater in The Venetian honoring first responders and raising funds for the victims and their families. Scenic designer Andy Walmsley has agreed to produce a special set for the 1-4 p.m. event and Cirque du Soleil has promised many of its performers will take part and create a special one-time production number for the tribute.
Best Agency owner Ken Henderson is producing the star-studded event with Myron Martin from The Smith Center and will be the show’s artistic director. Review-Journal colleague Johnny Kats and I have agreed to assist with the production. Several Vegas entertainers have signed on to participate. A special VegasCares logo has been created for the event with all proceeds going to the fundraising effort created by Clark County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak and the National Compassion Fund.
The tears of joy when the Vegas Golden Knights made NHL history last night (Oct. 10) as the first team ever to open its inaugural season with a 3-0 streak of wins — but they were mixed with tears of sadness when the expansion franchise honored the victims and first responders of the gun massacre that killed 58 people and injured more than 500. Their names were projected onto the ice as each member of the team escorted a doctor, nurse, fireman, police officer onto a carpet at center ice for the national anthem. Vegas Strong logos were everywhere in the T-Mobile Arena and on small towels given to every person in the sell-out crowd of 17,500 with an additional 500 standing — all of whom marked the 58-second silence that was totally quiet.
But that turned to Stanley Cup cheering and screaming volume when the Golden Knights scored the first goal of the night. The team went on to beat the Arizona Coyotes 5-2. Our thanks to contributing photographer Tom Donoghue for his red carpet coverage of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, the players and Vegas celebrities plus the pregame tribute.
LATE NIGHT CHEF BRAWLS
Please note that the famed Back of House Brawl will be presented late Saturday night (Oct. 14) by urban Seed at its 4770 Wynn Road facility with chefs Emily Rubaker, Chris Palmiei and Sean Farney battling it out to raise money for the Denise Cohen Family Fund. Denise and her boyfriend, Derek Bo Taylor, were victims at the Route 91 Harvest festival Mandalay Bay shooting, leaving behind Denise’s two sons, Jefferey and Brandon. All funds raised at Back of House Brawl — starting with food trucks at 10 p.m. with the kitchen showdown at 1 a.m. — will be donated directly back to the Cohen family to help Denise’s sons after the loss of their mother. Donations can be made on their gofundme.com page as well.
The late-night chef competition that begins after restaurants close in Vegas was created in 2011 and within four years its become the late-night hottie spot for chefs, servers, bartenders and restaurant managers. More than 50 chefs from Vegas restaurants have competed for bragging rights and when it was renamed Late Nite Chef Fight in 2013 the FYI cable network ran it for two seasons.
The Howard Hughes Corp. is to develop and construct a baseball stadium in downtown Summerlin on 8 acres just south of City National Arena, the National Hockey League practice facility for the Vegas Golden Knights. The new stadium, to be named the Las Vegas Ballpark, will be the future home of the city’s professional baseball team, the Las Vegas 51s. The team, a member of the Pacific Coast League and a Triple-A affiliate of the New York Mets, is wholly owned by The Howard Hughes Corp., which acquired full ownership interest earlier this year.In addition, the Las Vegas Ballpark will host civic, community, nonprofit and sporting events.
The Las Vegas Ballpark is being designed by HOK, a global architecture firm with an expertise in stadium design, having designed more than 40 professional and collegiate stadiums worldwide. The 10,000-fan-capacity stadium blends the distinct architectural style of the Summerlin community with the aviation legacy of Howard Hughes. The ballpark will provide a wide range of seating options including 22 suites, club seats, berm seating, party zones and decks, picnic tables, kids’ zone, bars and even a pool beyond the outfield wall for its overall festival-like atmosphere.
Kevin T. Orrock, president, Summerlin, The Howard Hughes Corp. said: “Downtown Summerlin is on its way to becoming an unmatched sports destination. We could not be more excited to add baseball to our lineup.”
With the 51s moving to Summerlin the Las Vegas Lights football club will become the primary tenant at Cashman Field under a new 15-year lease starting in February 2018. Brett Lashbrook, owner, said: “Soccer is the world’s sport, and with Las Vegas being one of the world’s most attractive destinations, the sport becomes a pillar of our diverse community.”
WICKED WHISPERS RACY RUMOR
Is the “Downton Abbey” exhibition set to make its U.S. debut in New York on Nov. 18 headed to Las Vegas early next year? Fans of the PBS TV show from Britain will be able to go inside the world of the abbey, its favorite characters, costumes, locations and historic events of the World War 1 and Roaring Twenties historical era. NBC Universal studios is presenting the TV phenomenon as an exhibit promise to showcase never-before-seen footage. The hit TV series with Lord Crawley and those who serve the family “below stairs” along with Mrs. Patmore’s kitchen and the servants quarters will all be re-created. The program is seen in over 250 territories and the exhibition will feature more than 50 costumes and the famous glamorous dining room. The unique exhibition will tour various U.S. cities after its Nov 18 opening in New York and Vegas is one of the top destinations up for consideration on the West Coast. The show has won four Screen Actors Guild awards and three Golden Globes with 15 wins from nearly 70 nominations.
RASCAL FLATS HONORS VICTIMS
Award-winning country music trio Rascal Flatts — lead singer Gary LaVox, lead guitarist Joe Don Rooney and guitarist and pianist Jay DeMarcus — have become familiar visiting performers. The family affair (LaVox and DeMarcus are second cousins) headlined at the Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel in 2015 and 2016.
So it was fitting that Rascal Flatts’ third mini-run in Las Vegas was held this time with “A Night to Shine” at the Venetian Theater. My friend, entertainment writer Don Chareunsy, reported that the evening kicked off with the three musicians walking onstage at the start of the evening to address the audience — in the former home of, among others, “Phantom — The Las Vegas Spectacular,” Tim McGraw and Faith Hill and, most recently, Il Divo — five nights after the Route 91 Harvest tragedy that left 58 victims dead and more than 500 injured.
Gary, Joe and Jay alternated in talking about whether they should still begin their run and agreed that they needed to stand strong with Las Vegas and country fans and offer healing and inspiration through music. The appreciative audience agreed and paid the guys with repeated standing ovations during the 80-minute set.
The set list — which included “Stand,” “What Hurts the Most,” “Yours If You Want It” and “Fast Cars and Freedom” — played a back seat to the band honoring the Route 91 Harvest victims, law enforcement, first responders and Las Vegas, but they rocked their uptempo, emotional and inspiring hits and ballads, with DeMarcus and an especially solid Rooney also taking lead vocals.
“Feels Like Today” took on new meaning; Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” made an appearance in a short mashup, something Rascal Flatts has done before effectively, as it did with Hozier’s “Take Me to Church” during a Joint performance; and the night ended with “Bless the Broken Road” and “Life Is a Highway.”
“A Night to Shine” was much-needed music for the soul after the difficult and emotional last week that changed Las Vegas forever. Rascal Flatts, who has amassed more than a dozen No. 1 hits, resumes “A Night to Shine” tonight, with remaining performances Oct. 18, 20 and 21.
Congratulations to the self-proclaimed “Queen of the Strip” and Las Vegas’s longest-running headliner Frank Marino, along with his cast of incredible female impersonators in “Divas Las Vegas” at the Linq, on the celebration of their eight years with Caesars Entertainment. Frank also celebrated 32 years performing on the Las Vegas Strip last month, and has just announced the show has signed a multiyear extension to continue dazzling audiences at The Linq.
The international entertainment icon laughed: “Don’t forget my motto – the more you drink, the better we look!” His show features17 different male performers a night, all sporting new female costumes that sparkle on the stage. Audiences also experience numbers showcasing talents from Ru Paul’s Drag Race and “America’s Got Talent” while surrounded by the six of Sin City’s hottest male dancers.
Frank and his Divas cast have just completed filming a reality show, “Last Laugh in Vegas,” where he helped a group of British celebrities transform into Vegas headliners to present a show in the entertainment capital of the world. It’s set to air on ITV in Britain in March.
DRAG IN INDIA
RuPaul’s Drag Race’ star Derrick Barry, best known as a Britney Spears impersonator, is touring the Indian cities of Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru this week and next. Derrick who lives in Vegas and appears in “Divas” at the Linq makes his debut at the Kitty Su nightclub tomorrow (Oct. 12) before starting his tour.
• UFC Flyweight champion, Demetrious Johnson, hosted an after-party at Chateau Nightclub & Rooftop at Paris Las Vegas following his historical win against Ray “The Tazmexican Devil” Borg. Nicknamed “Mighty Mouse” for his agility and quickness, Demetrious, dressed in a classic dark gray suit and simple purple T-shirt, arrived at the club following his hugely anticipated fight against Borg at T-Mobile Arena. The win at the T-Mobile Arena launched him to the top as the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in MMA currently holding the record for longest-active championship reign at 11 title defenses. He really celebrated in style at the party.
• Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Griffin Reinhart was at the hit show “Absinthe” in Caesars Palace following his team’s 2-1 weekend overtime victory against the Arizona Coyotes. After the show, Griffin went backstage for photos with the “Gazillionaire” and his exotic cast of misfits.
• Pop music superstars Britney Spears, Diana Ross and Sir Elton John return to separate Las Vegas Strip venues to resume their residencies: Britney is at Planet Hollywood with her “Piece of Me” show. The former Supremes star returns her Endless Memories concerts to the Encore Theater at the Wynn through Oct. 28. And the showman extraordinaire is with his “Million Dollar Piano” at the Colosseum in Caesars Palace through Nov. 4
• Rascal Flats resume their limited engagement run of ‘A Night to Shine” at The Venetian.
• Incubus continues to rock out at the Joint in the Hard Rock through this weekend.
• Lifelike dinosaur puppets are on stage at The Smith Center for the unique production of ‘Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo,” which spotlights an unforgettable tour of prehistoric Australia for all the family. Yes, the dinosaurs which come in all sizes — both roar and dance in this educational and entertaining show.