What was exciting about seeing Bill Nolte give an hourlong Clark County Library concert was the hint it gave that Strip performers might be starting to share more of their talents with the community.
Nolte, as local theater lovers know, had been the highlight of the Paris Las Vegas production of Mel Brooks’ "The Producers," which closed Feb. 9. His role as crazed, pigeon-raising, Nazi-loving playwright Franz Liebkind nearly justified the huge admission price.
On Sunday, the actor doffed his usual layers of costume and exposed a surprisingly versatile baritone, capable of power and softness.
"It feels nice to be up here without the greasepaint, the hump and the bra," he said, in reference to his typical portrayals. His program included the standards you’d expect, as well as a humorous take on a Fats Waller song titled "I’m Going to Sit Right Down and Write Myself an E-Mail."
His one bit of glitz was a black jacket sprinkled with glitter ("After all, this is Vegas," he noted), and another littered with patches, all of which represented places to which the actor had traveled. He tossed all the names of the cities and places into a fast-paced ditty, which made for the highlight of the evening.
Nolte was smart to hire a first-rate director, Mark Waldrop (in New York now directing a John Lloyd Young appearance), who gave the songfest a fine sense of pace.
Nolte might gain by adding a couple of character sketches to his bill of fare. He sings well but does comedy best.
The program was part of the Performing Arts Society of Nevada’s Brown Bag Concerts, which have been going strong for about 20 years. Here’s hoping we’ll be seeing more Strip stars taking off their makeup and making chummy with us locals. …
Steve and Sandra Huntsman, two local theater performers who frequently have appeared with Signature Productions, will conduct a spring break musical theater youth workshop March 17-22 at the Kids in Motion Dance Studio, 4024 N. Tenaya Way. They’ll offer training in all aspects of performance, that will culminate in the presentation of a musical revue. Cost is $150 for early registration. Info: vegascyp.com. …
Acorn Media already has released the DVD of PBS’ February broadcast of Stephen Sondheim’s 2006 version of "Company," in which the actors double up as the orchestra. It’s a first-rate re-enactment, with unusually helpful camera angles and a powerfully vulnerable Raul Esparza as Bobby, the young man with a commitment problem. Included is a short but insightful composer interview. With the film version of "Sweeney Todd," a critically lauded New York revival of "Sunday in the Park With George," and now this, Sondheim is having a good year.
Anthony Del Valle can be reached at DelValle@aol.com. You can write him c/o Las Vegas Review-Journal, P.O. Box 70, Las Vegas, NV 89125.