‘Fantasy’ to find more sizzle

Jul 18, 2005 12:32 AM

Two young bucks, including Lopez’ former first husband Chris Judd, are "modernizing" "Midnight Fantasy" at the Luxor. Montella’s sources say that when the changes are complete, it will just be called "Fantasy" and will be more titillating and tantalizing than ever. Look for a mid-August debut.

The new Luxor regime, I’m hearing, will also expand the showroom, once "Blue Man Group" departs, and will be booking headline acts for a few months. "Hairspray" won’t open until February or March because it doesn’t have a name star signed yet, which the MGM Mirage is requesting.

What is opening this weekend is "NO MSG — A Musical Variety Show in Good Taste" at the beautiful new Chinatown Theatre in the Chinatown Mall on Spring Mountain Road about five minutes west of The Strip. Producer/director Jerry Schafer is really going to surprise patrons with this warm, comfortable and beautiful state-of-the-art venue. He designed the showroom with the ticket buyer in mind. The arm-chaired seats are cushioned and wide and everyone has a great view of the huge stage. A unique twist of the two nightly dinner shows is that you don’t eat in the showroom. You have a choice of dinner before or after the show, or at another time, in six restaurants in the Chinatown Mall.

Schafer, who pioneered local variety shows in the late ”˜60s such as "Speaking of Girls," "C’est la Femme" and "The Piece-Full Palace" before heading to Hollywood to produce and direct films and television, has assembled a fast-paced variety presentation featuring the New Dynasty Chinese Acrobats. Unique China face mask artist Qi Jian Guo, the Janien Valentine Singers, impressionists Craig Canter, the Jamie Townsend Band and more. Check it out. Tell them Monti send you and it might be worth a discount!

Maude and Golden Girls star Bea Arthur, who has to be older than I am, is bringing her Broadway show — "An Evening with Bea Arthur and Billy Goldenberg" to the Tropicana on Aug. 27. Goldenberg is a pianist, composer and arranger. Though she’s known for her television work, Arthur began her career on the stage and originated the role of Yente the matchmaker in "Fiddler on the Roof" on Broadway.

The local press means something to Wynn Las Vegas, after all. I’ve been told that Mr. Wynn has hired a new publicist (from the Rio) and her job is to mend the relationship with the local media. Right now there is none, so the let’s start a relationship!

When Planet Aladdin and magician Steve Wyrick parted ways, my buddy Steve said that he had another venue for his massive magic show. Okay Steve, it’s time to let the cat out of the bag as magic needs a shot in the arm along the Strip.

The Trump vs. Trump building competition will be fun to watch, but being a renowned hair stylist in a past life, I’m looking forward to their hair battle. Both take pride in their personal look, so I’m predicting different styles and numerous color changes for both.

Mentalists and hypnotists continue to be the local rage. While Gerry McCambridge, who bills himself as The Mentalist, has been extended through August at the Rampart Casino due to packed houses, my favorite hypnotist Justin Tranz has found a home at the Lady Luck. Tranz’ R-rated show is hysterical and is well-worth the 10:30 p.m. trip downtown.

Two of our most giving performers are at it again. Lance Burton will hold his annual benefit for the Zelzah Shrine Temple on July 31 in his theater at the Monte Carlo at 5 p.m. "Lance Burton & Friends" will also feature comedy-magician Field West, magician Nathan Burton, DV8 Reality Magic and puppeteer Anthony Rais with Totolino. Call 382-5554 for ticket information.

Rita Rudner is donating the proceeds from 600 tickets from her Aug. 12-13, New York-New York performances to the Second Chance Foundation and Scleroderma Nevada Chapter.

News & Notes: Steve Nicks returns to the Colosseum at Caesars Palace Aug. 6”¦My dear friend Liza Minnelli making the shows rounds in New York and ready to hit the stage here”¦Daren Leverenze, who lost $3 million here in the late ”˜90s, is going to attempt to win it back on a new CMT (Country Music Television) reality series called Man vs. Vegas that will begin airing on Oct. 22”¦The Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill is offering a cooking class on Saturday morning with a $45 price tag”¦The Palms has released a limited edition casino chip featuring CineVegas Film”¦ Festival honorees Ann-Margret and Dennis Hopper”¦Penn & Teller’s Showtime television show has received an Emmy nomination for outstanding reality program”¦Fellow journalist Norm Johnson is showing his bronze sculptures at the City Lights Art Gallery in Henderson on Thursday evening”¦Viale Restaurant has opened at Caesars Palace.