Paragon Gaming has taken over operations at the 3,000 room Westgate Hotel/Casino. Paragon has been able to transfer many reservations from the now closed Riviera, so things are off to a good start.
New employees are being added, many from the Riviera. A big name in the main showroom would really help, along with Suzanne Somers in the former Shimmer Cabaret. The Purple Rain show and the Elvis Exhibit are also there. With the proper marketing this place can happen once again.
Also, condolences to Westgate owner David Siegel on the loss of his 18-year-old daughter Victoria. David has so much on his plate now as he is in the midst of making more changes at the resort.
Tony’s in short
I am still a Broadway Theater fan and always watch the Tony Awards. The co-hosts were past winners Kristin Chenoweth and Allen Cummings, but Kristin seemed to get the “short end of the stick.” She should have done more and he less.
Some gay issues were covered in the winning musical “Fun Home.” Helen Mirren, looking as elegant as anyone could look, won as best performer by a leading actress in a play and Kelli O’Hara won as best leading actress in a musical.
Alex Sharp surprisingly won over Bradley Cooper for best leading actor in a play and Michael Cerveris won for best leading actor in a musical. The three hour show does, however, become a little boring and should be cut by at least 30 minutes.
The fashion winners were Mirren and Bernadette Peters. Seeing the fantastic Chita Rivera strut her stuff was a standout. Chita and the late Gwen Verdon were two of the best dancers and all around performers ever to light up a Broadway stage. Another highlight was the hilarious banter between presenters Larry David and Jason Alexander. Jason has taken over the lead in David’s hit, “Fish In The Dark,” to rave reviews. It’s not easy to follow Larry but Jason pulled it off.
The Keep Memory Alive event has, as of this writing, stars galore attending including Suzanne Somers, Gloria Estefan, Sharon Stone and Quincy Jones. Honoree Andrea Bocelli has a duet with Celine Dion, who is set to fly in from Boston where husband Rene is having throat surgery. The event is quite the fundraiser.
The popular pizzeria is partnering with the Nevada Blind Children Foundation on Wednesday, June 24, for a pizza-making class to benefit visually impaired students. It will be held at Grimaldi’s S. Rainbow Blvd. location. For more information please visit: www.grimaldispizzeria.com. We recently had a great pizza there thanks to Marla Gold and her staff.
A cool change
Criss Angel will be touring beginning Tuesday, June 23, with a new concept in magic shows. Teleportation technology will have him and some of his cast performing simultaneously in two different places. Criss says his goal is to redefine magic and he usually succeeds at whatever he strives to do.
Penn & Teller are bringing their brand of comedy and magic back to New York this summer. They will be performing July 7-Aug. 16 at the Marquis Theater, the same one as the Gloria/Emilio Estefan musical “On Your Feet,” directed by Jerry Mitchell, which opens in November after a June/July tryout run in Chicago. The story is based on the life of Gloria and should surely bring their style of Latin music into the mainstream. With the ever increasing Latino audience this show should be a blockbuster. A media blast has already begun to publicize the show. Bravo.
It’s now official that Brian Williams will not be returning to anchor the NBC evening news as Lester Holt, one of NBC’s best journalists, has moved from interim to permanent anchor. Holt has also been a standout as host of the weekend “Today” show and “Dateline.” Also, “The View” has announced that Raven Symone (and her special hair) is now a permanent cohost with Whoopi, Nicole Wallace and Rosie Perez. Raven was the youngest child on “The Cosby Show.” “The View” has made many changes and there is definitely a new enthusiasm that was missing until recently.
Smith Center coup
Cabaret Jazz has landed this year’s Tony Award winner Annaleigh Ashford on June 27-28. The show covers standout hits of Judy Garland and Donna Summer, and music from Stephen Sondheim. Also, the touring company of the mega-hit Book of Mormon show is returning to Reynolds Hall Sept. 18-Oct 22. This show has been hailed as one of the best-ever Broadway musicals. For more information and tickets call 702-749-2000.
Jim Bailey, the iconic tribute artist, passed away last week at 77. His impressions of Barbara Streisand, Judy Garland and Peggy Lee were just a few of his great ones. RIP Jim Bailey.
Odds & Ends
Bob Anderson’s great tribute show to Frank has been extended to Dec. 31. Bob stays completely in character until the very end when he sings a number in his own voice and style. The show is a must-see… Best of luck to Seth Schorr as Chairman of the Downtown Grand, a new position… Pia Zadora is taking the summer off at Piero’s to travel and work on new projects. She returns Sept. 11 for weekend shows… David de Alba does his tribute to Judy Garland this Sunday at The Onyx Theater. His no lip-synching approach has been a favorite for many years.
The Rev. Monti once again wishes you only the best.
Monti Rock, who starred with John Travolta in the classic Saturday Night Fever, is a legend, performer, GamingToday entertainment columnist and marketing expert. Contact Monti at [email protected].