Poperazzi to celebrate music inspired by Italy at Starbright Theatre

Want a little Italian flair to your weekend? Poperazzi plans to perform the music of Italy and songs made famous by Italian Americans in a hip, energetic way at the Starbright Theatre.

The performance is set for 3 p.m. June 2 at 2215 Thomas W. Ryan Blvd. Tickets are $17 for Sun City Summerlin residents and $20 for nonresidents.

Another performance is slated for 3 p.m. June 30 at Sun City Anthem’s Freedom Hall Theatre, 1815 Hovenweep St. Tickets are $15 before June 23 and $18 after that. For more information, visit
mistinguettproductions.com/MPI/Poperazzi.html.

Expect everything from rock to opera and classic Frank Sinatra tunes to the Rolling Stones, mixing years of musical tradition in a contemporary format in the 80-minute show.

“These young, sexy and versatile entertainers are like a classic Vegas martini, performing a delicate musical mix of opera with a twist,” producer Mistinguett said.

The three performers were on a cruise ship to Alaska when View caught up with them via email. Each singer comes to Poperazzi with different musical backgrounds, although all have classical training.

Soprano Janien Valentine has been singing and dancing since she was 5. By 16, she had a recording contract with Amherst Records, which was followed by numerous awards. She landed in Las Vegas with “Starlight Express.” She is in the cast of “Peepshow” at Planet Hollywood Resort.

“It’s amazing to be the only girl in the group because the boys treat me like the princess that I am,” Valentine joked. “I’m a handful, so I don’t think they would want to have another girl in the group.”

After studying in the U.S. and abroad, Cody Shawn Gay has performed for corporations from Tokyo to Berlin. Besides Poperazzi, the tenor can be heard at Bellagio’s Fontana Room, where he performs with the band Fuse.

Tenor George DeMott was a recipient of the National Italian-American Foundation’s Luciano Pavarotti Scholarship. He’s been a featured entertainer aboard several cruise ships, namely Crystal Cruises. He’s won several awards, including the 1993 Metropolitan Opera National Council audition’s regional finals in Los Angeles.

Ellisa Lanza Bregman saw DeMott perform and said, “George is very talented. His grace and ease with the audience reminded me of my father, Mario Lanza (a tenor, actor and Hollywood movie star of the late 1940s and ’50s). He, too, was from a very large Italian family and, like George, was very proud of his Italian American heritage.”

Poperazzi took a while to form.

The two tenors met in 1995 while under contract for Crystal Cruises and worked together in different capacities since then. But they were in need of another voice, a female. It wasn’t until Valentine auditioned at the end of 2009 that Poperazzi was born.

DeMott came up with the name, which fits two of the main styles of music they feature.

“At the time we chose the name Poperazzi, Lady Gaga had just had the hit song ‘Paparazzi,’ ” DeMott said. “We were hoping people wouldn’t think we were a Lady Gaga tribute band. But, thankfully, the bulk of the people we were performing to probably had no idea who Lady Gaga was.”

Poperazzi’s first tour was called Viva Italia!, and the singers’ inaugural performance was in July 2010 in Madison, Wis., with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra.

The downside was it was outside, and they were in black tuxedos during a heat wave. The upside was they drew an audience of 12,000, and the performance was taped and later aired by PBS. Their North America tour included a full symphony Pops debut on New Year’s Eve 2010, done with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

“That was a dream come true,” DeMott said.

Some songs are done as solos. DeMott does the classic Neapolitan song “Torna a Surriento,” Valentine performs Whitney Houston’s version of “I Will Always Love You,” and Gay sings Michael Jackson’s “Man In The Mirror” while accompanying himself on guitar.

But “the bulk of the show and what we offer includes all three of us,” said Gay. “Depending on the show’s length, we will usually each do one or two solos.”

“The great thing about this Starbright Theatre show is it is an intimate theater, only about 300 seats,” DeMott said. “That allows us to do some fun musical things like an “unplugged” section where we can bring it down and do some numbers with just acoustic guitar or piano. We usually go into the audience anyway, or Cody does, in a ‘Jersey Boys’ (segment). He charms the ladies up close.”

The dream venue for DeMott would be Carnegie Hall in New York City.

“It doesn’t get much bigger than New York City,” he said. “(It says) ‘You’ve arrived.’ ”

“Definitely the Sydney Opera House would be amazing,” Gay said. “Carnegie Hall and Boston Pops would be amazing as well.”

“I agree with the boys — Carnegie Hall, Boston Pops or anywhere in Italy,” Valentine said. “I still haven’t been there.”

Meanwhile, the three performers are working with maestro Michael Krajewski, principal pops conductor for the Atlanta, Houston and Jacksonville symphonies, on a CD. They are also starting to write their own material and said they have hopes for a show on the Strip.

Contact Summerlin/Summerlin South View reporter Jan Hogan at jhogan@viewnews.com or 702-387-2949.

ad-high_impact_4
Local
Underground home was built as Cold War-era hideaway
The underground house at 3970 Spencer Street is one of the valley’s most unusual homes built 26 feet underground in 1978 by Girard “Jerry” B. Henderson, who, planned to survive the end of the world there.
Lip Smacking Foodie Tours takes you where the locals go
Donald Contursi talks about Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, which offers walking tours of restaurants on and off Las Vegas Boulevard with food samples and tidbits of history about the places they visit.
Bump stock manufacturers under fire
The Justice Department said last month that it had started the process to amend federal firearms regulations to clarify that federal law defines bump stocks as machine guns.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Longtime Las Vegas attorney John Momot dies at age 74
Criminal defense attorney John Momot, who represented mob figures and even played himself in the movie “Casino,” has died.
David Copperfield in court after man injured during magic trick
The attorney for a British man who is suing illusionist David Copperfield said his client suffered serious injuries after being called on stage during Copperfield's show at MGM Grand.
5 things connecting Las Vegas and Marilyn Monroe
1. Marilyn Monroe, known then as Norma Jeane, obtained her first divorce in Las Vegas at the age of 20 on September 13, 1946. 2. According to some biographers, Monroe lived at 604 S. 3rd Street for four months during the summer of 1946. The house has since been torn down and is now the site of a parking lot. 3. In 1954, Monroe almost married Joe DiMaggio in Las Vegas but the wedding was called off last minute. The wedding was to be held at the Hotel El Rancho Vegas which was located on the southwest corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. 4. Las Vegas has at least one road dedicated to the star. Marilyn Monroe Avenue is located in east Las Vegas and intersects with Betty Davis Street and Cary Grant Court. 5. There are currently more than 20 Marilyn Monroe impersonators for hire in the Las Vegas Valley.
Sir Richard Branson announces purchase of Hard Rock Hotel
Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, has acquired the Hard Rock Hotel with partners and plans to turn it into a Virgin-branded property by the end of 2019.
3 Centennial High School students killed in Calif. crash (Full)
Three Centennial High School students were killed Thursday morning in Southern California when their vehicle was struck by a suspected drunken driver while they were enjoying their spring break, according to a family member of one of the victims.
Retail Restroom Sexual Assault Suspect
Las Vegas police are asking for help finding a man they said groped a woman in a south Las Vegas Valley restroom. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Calvary Christian Learning Academy, “There was no fair warning.”
Samantha O’Brien, whose three-year-old daughter attended the Calvary Christian Learning Academy daycare, found out Monday night when her daughter’s teacher called about the school closing.
Mojave Max at Springs Preserve
File footage of Mojave Max at Springs Preserve. (Springs Preserve)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like