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Cast of ‘Showstoppers’ didn’t see closing coming

With a cast and crew of 100, “Steve Wynn’s Showstoppers” was one of the biggest productions that ever operated on the Strip.

Even as crowds dwindled to less than 50 percent capacity in the 1,500-seat Encore Theatre, there was a sense jobs were safe because of Wynn’s deep pockets and his personal attachment to the Broadway spectacular he assembled.

So when a meeting was called after the Saturday show a week ago, and the grim news that the show was closing was delivered, “it was shocking,” said Nicole Kaplan, one of six principal female leads among the 66 singers and dancers.

“I don’t ever think there was a time when we anticipated any changes,” said Kaplan of the show that opened in December 2014.

Wynn’s most hands-on project closes Sept. 30.

“Unfortunately all good things come to an end. It’s business,” she said, pausing. “Show business.”

There were tears, she said. “We’re a really tight-knit group. Like a family. The hardest part will be not being able to be together every night.”

“That’s what we’ll take away from this most, this sisterhood,” she said.

The news was especially difficult, given that “Jersey Boys,” the hit musical bio of the Four Seasons, is closing Sept. 18, meaning her husband, Graham Fenton, will be out of work, too.

He has held the Frankie Valli role since 2011, after three years as an understudy for six roles.

His wife remains upbeat. It’s too soon to figure out the next move, she said.

“I have nothing bad to say about the whole experience other than it’s ending too soon,” she said.

Are those closure announcements, along with “Jubilee,” “Raiding the Rock Vault” and Matt Goss, all in the first half of 2016, signaling a seismic change? Were they shows that had run their course? Or has the popularity of the megaclubs altered the spending habits?

It’s a shakeout we haven’t seen in a long time.

MEDIA UPDATE

The Nevada Broadcasters Association’s annual Hall of Fame gala will be Aug. 20 at the Four Seasons.

Gov. Brian Sandoval and first lady Kathleen Sandoval are receiving the President’s Award for their “unwavering support … but also their service to our communities and to the state of Nevada,” according to NVBA President Mary Beth Sewald.

The Pinnacle Award is going to National Association of Broadcasters CEO Gordon Smith. Lifetime achievement awards are going to Emily Neilson and Paula Francis, formerly of KLAS-TV, Channel 8.

Tony Sacca is receiving special honors along with his induction into the Hall of Fame for his 30 years of service and dedication to the entertainment and broadcast industry in Las Vegas.

A posthumous special honors award will be presented on behalf of the late Rich Abajian for his service, volunteerism, philanthropy and his long history of serving others.

Other inductees include syndicated sports talk host John “J.T. the Brick” Tournour of Fox Sports Radio.

ABC affiliate KTNV-TV, Channel 13, has a new co-host teaming with Shawn Tempesta on “The Morning Blend.”

JJ Snyder comes from Los Angeles, where she worked the entertainment scene for ABC’s “On the Red Carpet.”

She also has an acting background, with credits on “Castle,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Glee,” “Two and a Half Men” and “Coyote Ugly.”

Snyder was raised on a horse farm in Washington state. She attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California.

A COOL ROOM

Clint Holmes loves the new home he’s sharing in the redesigned Palazzo Theatre.

“I think the room is one of the stars of the show,” he said by telephone last week. “There’s nothing like this in Las Vegas, maybe anyplace.”

It was redesigned with a passarelle, a runway that extends from the stage, for “Baz,” but “it’s perfect for me. It’s very theatrical, which I love,” said Holmes, who returned to the Strip with his highly energetic new show “Between the Lines.”

Holmes is also pleased with his new CD that officially comes out later this year, but is available at his show.

“It’s the best record I ever made,” said Holmes, who teamed up with the Count Basie Band at the legendary Capitol Records.

THE PUNCH LINE

“A 91-year-old woman in Germany is under investigation for destruction of property after she tried filling in words on a crossword puzzle on display at an art museum. If charged, the woman could face time in a four-letter word for enclosure.” — – Seth Meyers.

Norm Clarke can be reached at 702-383-0244 or norm@reviewjournal.com. Find more online at www.normclarke.com. On Twitter: @Norm_Clarke

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