After 23 1/2 years, the end of the line for "An Evening at La Cage" came with the suddenness of a stiletto heel snapping in half.
Long-time producer Norbert Aleman, a no-nonsense Frenchman, asked the cast to gather after Monday’s show in the main dressing room of their Riviera theater.
"The good news," began a somber Aleman, "is we’re all having a party down at Christopher’s (lounge). The bad news is this is the last performance of ‘La Cage.’"
The news hit Ryan Zink the hardest. Zink, who portrays country star Reba McEntire and socialite Paris Hilton, broke into tears.
Anxiety had been building for some time.
"We were all kind of holding our breaths," said Jimmy Emerson, who has been headliner Frank Marino‘s understudy for almost 20 years. "We kind of were suspicious because Frank was already taking gowns home. Not a good sign."
Everyone went to the party — except Emerson.
"I’m famous for having a big mouth," he explained, and he wasn’t happy. "A little notice would have been nice."
"Crystal" Woods, one of the show’s original members, along with Marino, had a hunch the end was near, given the dour economic developments along the Strip.
"But you’re never prepared (to hear it)," he said.
Woods, who has made a living since 1982 impersonating Diana Ross, might be in a better position than most of his castmates.
He’s been called back to two auditions for NBC’s "America’s Got Talent." Out of thousands, he was among 25 selected after two auditions.
If he gets the call, he’ll sing "I’m Coming Out."
"I’m saving ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.’ I’m going to keep the faith."
Bar Rafaeli, unveiled Tuesday as the cover girl of Sports Illustrated’s 2009 swimsuit edition, will be among nearly 20 of this year’s crop flying to Las Vegas on Thursday for "SI Swimsuit 24/7, From New York to Las Vegas."
The Israeli beauty is actor Leonardo DiCaprio‘s girlfriend.
The S.I. stunners will walk the red carpet at 9 p.m. outside Luxor’s LAX nightclub before joining the party in their honor. They will make appearances throughout Las Vegas.
The promotion is being presented by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and Southwest Airlines, which is providing "SI One," a Boeing 737-700 wrapped in SI swimsuit imagery.
THE SCENE AND HEARD
Joe Gannascoli of "The Sopranos" has a two-week cameo contract with "Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding," which opened last week at Planet Hollywood Resort. The next celebrity in the rotation is "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, the pro wrestling star, who will appear Feb. 20 to March 5. …
Marie Osmond is signing her Bridal, Valentine and Sweet Tots Collections in the Flamingo Promenade Gift Shop from 2-5 p.m. Friday. Only her dolls will be signed, and they must be purchased at the Flamingo on Friday.
At Piero’s Italian Cuisine on Monday: Mayor Oscar Goodman and his wife, Carolyn, with footwear and clothing designer Kenneth Cole, People magazine’s "Sexiest Businessman of the Year" in 1998, and his wife, Maria Cuomo Cole, daughter of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo. … Las Vegan Steven Jackson, the St. Louis Rams star running back, having lunch at The Country Club (Wynn) on Tuesday.
THE PUNCH LINE
"Michael Phelps again. Did I call you or did you call me?" — From David Letterman‘s Top Ten Messages Left on Alex Rodriguez‘s Answering Machine
Norm Clarke can be reached at (702) 383-0244 or email@example.com. Find additional sightings and more online at www.normclarke.com.