Clint Holmes combines song and theater in new cabaret act

Clint Holmes is getting used to explaining the difference between purpose and place — how a "cabaret," a "theater" and a "nightclub" are places to see a show, but also a kind of show as well.

And then there’s the geography between Las Vegas and New York. The fans who know what they want from Holmes here, versus the friends he is trying to make in the Big Apple.

Fortunately, this guy knows his way around.

The veteran entertainer launches his residency as the monthly anchor of The Smith Center’s Cabaret Jazz venue this weekend, with all three shows in the 256-seater nearing capacity at this writing.

The room is new, and so is "cabaret" as a genre, as practiced by the likes of Andrea Marcovicci (April 13-14) and Jane Monheit (May 18-19).

"I think cabaret is kind of a combination of nightclub and theater," Holmes says. "More narratively driven than a nightclub act, and yet it is a nightclub act. And that is the challenge to it, really.

"To find your way through that cabaret genre, I think you have to raise the stakes a little bit," he adds. "If I do my nightclub act, I just simply pick the songs I like and do them. This has a little bit more of a work ethic to it."

Holmes has the showroom side of the equation down cold. Las Vegans remain loyal from his long run at Harrah’s Las Vegas and more recent weekends at the Suncoast.

But at the historic Cafe Carlyle in New York, the mirror is spun around. New Yorkers may have lost track of the Buffalo, N.Y., native since he left the tristate area for Las Vegas in 2000. But they know what to expect from a cabaret singer.

The Cafe Carlyle was the three-decade home base of the late cabaret legend Bobby Short (and remains the Monday night roost of Woody Allen as jazz man). The home court crowd at The Smith Center will see a preview of "This Thing Called Love," the show Holmes is ramping up for the Carlyle April 10-28.

"One of the things I’ve learned about doing cabaret … is there really needs to be a real point of view to the evening," Holmes says.

So Holmes and director Larry Moss came up with the notion of mashing up Cole Porter and Paul Simon: What would happen "if they walked into a bar and sat down and started to talk about love," Holmes says.

With Porter, "you can almost see the martini in his hand as he writes," and with Simon, "you kind of get the sense there’s a beer on the table behind him. And yet they both made statements about their time."

Holmes and musical director Jeff Neiman’s five-piece band sometimes make them unlikely partners, mashing up Simon’s "Have a Good Time" with Porter’s "It’s All Right With Me," and "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" with "Get Out of Town."

Holmes is still waiting to explore the "theater" side of New York. Director Moss also guided his autobiographical musical "Just Another Man" through its early workshop versions. But so far, he’s found the door more open at the Carlyle than for a high-stakes Broadway gamble.

"This is part of that learning experience," he says. "There’s a bit of being an actor in this."

Holmes assures his local fans that when he returns in May, it will be with a different and likely less formal vehicle. He still wants to call up his performer friends as guest stars and wants to make room for looser moments in even this weekend’s shows.

But the goal isn’t to take refuge in the familiar.

"It’s more interesting and more of a challenge, and also more of a statement in a brand new room and brand new situation, to say, ‘It is a little bit different,’ " he says.

"It’s the same guy, he sounds the same and all of that, and it’s the same energy and persona. But it’s a little bit different. And I think that’s a good way to go in."

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

Entertainment Videos
Andrew Carmean will be the only local participant in upcoming demolition derby
Andrew Carmean, a demolition driver, will be the only local participant in upcoming derby at the Plaza Hotel. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Masso Osteria first anniversary in Las Vegas
Scott Conant was in town Tuesday to host a one-year anniversary party for his Red Rock Resort restaurant Masso Osteria.
Baked Alaska a specialty at Favorite Bistro in Las Vegas
Award-winning pastry chef Claude Escamilla makes Baked Alaska with strawberry sorbet and vanilla gelato and flames it at Favorite Bistro at The Linq Promenade in Las Vegas. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Chili cooks face fierce and friendly competition at Nevada cook-off
Forty chili cooks competed in the Nevada State Chili Cookoff in Pahrump on Sunday, March 17, 2019, with the winners advancing to the World Championship Chili Cook-off in Des Moines, Iowa. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Arcade ‘speakeasy’ leads to secret door and Banksy art in Las Vegas
Arcade ‘speakeasy’ leads to secret door, Banksy art in Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Hazel in Las Vegas serves modern takes on traditional cocktails
Hazel serves modern takes on traditional cocktails (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas celebrates St. Patrick's Day
Tonight the city lit the Welcome sign green, McMullan's Irish Pub and the Guinness store also prepare for this weekend's St. Patrick's Day festivities. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Reuben sandwich at Served in Henderson, near Las Vegas
Matthew Meyer, chef/owner of Served, makes a Reuben sandwich with house-brined corned beef, house-made sauerkraut and gooey melted cheese at his restaurant in Henderson, outside Las Vegas. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Las Vegas day club season returns with big-name DJs
Rick Ross, March 23, at Daylight Beach Club at Mandalay Bay The Chainsmokers, March 30, at Encore Beach Club Marshmello, April 6, Kaos Dayclub at the Palms Chuckie, May 11, Marquee Dayclub at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas Calvin Harris, May 11, Wet Republic at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Pizza expert Chris Bianco makes meatballs in Las Vegas
Chris Bianco, who was the keynote speaker at the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas, demonstrates meatball making for expo attendees. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Las Vegas pulmonologist talks about new movie dealing with cystic fibrosis
Dr. Craig Nakamura, Director of Cystic Fibrosis Center of Southern Nevada, talks about the upcoming romantic drama “Five Feet Apart” where both of the lead characters suffer from cystic fibrosis. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
World Pizza Champion crowned in Las Vegas
At the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas, Italian pizzaiolo Federico De Silvestri took the top prize and more than $12,000. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Italian wins Pizza Maker of the Year at Pizza Expo
Federico De Silvestri of Verona, Italy, wins the finals in the non-traditional pizza category during the International Pizza Challenge at the International Pizza Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center Thursday, March 7, 2019. De Silvestri went on to beat winners from each of the four other categories — traditional, pan, pizza Napoletana and Roman — to win Pizza Maker of the Year. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Good Pie Coming To Arts District
Local pizzaiolo Vincent Rotolo says Good Pie is coming to the Arts District. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Local comedian says "It's ok to laugh, ...the comedy club is dark."
K-Von, a half-Persian comedian, talks about his style of comedy which keeps audiences entertained.
Pizza Dough Throwing Competition
Contestants participate in the World Pizza Games at the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas, Wednesday night. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
World Pizza Games showcased in Las Vegas
The World Pizza Games, part of the International Pizza Expo, drew competitors from all over the world to Las Vegas to compete in events such as dough stretching and box folding. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Pizza competitors dazzle at international expo
The International Pizza Expo at Las Vegas Convention Center included the first rounds of the World Pizza Games. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas showcases products and trends
At the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas, vegan and gluten-free menu choices and compostable packaging were highlighted, as well as Detroit-style and Roman-style pizza. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Chef Dan Krohmer talks about a new restaurant
Chef Dan Krohmer talks about the construction of his new restaurant at Fremont Street’s Fergusons Downtown complex in downtown Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Neon Museum lights up the Hard Rock Cafe guitar sign
The Neon Museum in Las Vegas flipped the switch on its latest acquisition Monday night, the Hard Rock Cafe guitar sign. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
A Taste of Eataly Las Vegas
Executive Chef Nicole Brisson gives a tour around Eataly Las Vegas, located in the Park MGM. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Order a pretty purple cocktail at North Italia in Las Vegas
Order a pretty purple cocktail at North Italia in Las Vegas (Janna Karel/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Towering triple decker sandwich at Sadelle’s at Bellagio in Las Vegas
Jonah Resnick, executive chef of Sadelle’s, the newest restaurant at Bellagio in Las Vegas, serves a daunting concoction of roast beef layered with house-made cole slaw, turkey and more cole slaw, on rye bread. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
Paris Las Vegas Debuts New Eiffel Tower Light Show
The Paris in Las Vegas unveiled its latest Eiffel Tower light show, Wednesday evening. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Video: Las Vegas Omelet House Marks 40th anniversary
Omelet House at Charleston Boulevard and Rancho Drive in Las Vegas, which opened in 1979, is a locals’ favorite, known for fluffy six-egg omelets. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Golden Knights' Ryan Reaves readying new beer
Ryan Reaves, a forward with the Golden Knights, has plans for a second beer, a lager, through his 7Five Brewing Co. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Bellagio Adds Lady Gaga To The Fountain Playlist
Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” has been added to the rotation of classic tunes played for the dancing waters at Lake Bellagio. The song debuted at 6 p.m. Monday. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Comedian uses laughter to bring understanding about AIDS
Comedian Brandon Cox Sanford talks about how he uses his comedy sketches to bring light to his AIDS diagnosis. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
20th anniversary of the House of Blues in Las Vegas
Sasha Rincon-Camacho, regional marketing director, talks about the 20th anniversary of the House of Blues in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
TOP NEWS
Home Front Page Footer Listing