Ave-Q stretches from NY to LV

Aug 22, 2005 2:06 AM

It’s a proven winner on Broadway with three Tony Awards and its Las Vegas introduction was sheer perfection, artfully staged by master showman Steve Wynn. Now only time will tell if an irreverent, adult-themed show that combines Muppet-like puppets and human performers can fill a custom-built theater — it seats 1,200 — 10 times a week.

As proudly boasted by impresario Wynn at the press gathering, "Avenue Q" is the dawning of a new entertainment era in our city. And, outside of Broadway, it’s the only place you’ll be able to see the show.

Wynn shared the stage with the puppets, including a special Wynn replica, cast members and the show’s producers. The banter was executed with streamline accuracy and there’s no question that the assembled media left with high anticipation about the show, especially from a song written and performed specifically for the occasion entitled "Only In Vegas."

The Wynn Las Vegas PR staff was finally gracious to the local media, welcoming the usual suspects, international media and others I sometimes call "bottom feeders."

"Avenue Q" previews begin Saturday; opening night is Sept. 9.

"Fantasy," the revamped adult-themed revue at the Luxor formally called "Midnight Fantasy," has opened and it is sinsational. It’s hot, hot, hot. Choreographed by Chris Judd and Eddie Garcia, the show is total high energy. "Fantasy" is produced by my greatest fan and my greatest friend, Anita Mann. Kudos go out to new Luxor President Felix Rappaport for a fantastic opening night. The boss looked great minus the tie and his long blonde locks.

I saw the wonderful Tony Orlando at The Orleans. The man’s still got it. Tony and I go way back to when he was a record artist at Capitol Records and I was barely a singer trying to make a record deal. Tony and I bonded back then. It was Tony Orlando, Freddie Prinze, Geraldo Rivera”¦the Four Horsemen of Puerto Rico. Tony also had Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt and her beau, Dennis Bono, at a show. Of course, he introduced them, but forgot Bono’s first name and called him Frank Bono. I hear that backstage Bono said it won’t be long that he’ll never forget his name”¦when he becomes the governor’s first man. Hunt is running for the big office next year.

By the way, I’m only asking. Does Gov. Guinn know where Hunt is every Thursday at 2 p.m.? She’s not politicking! She’s looking after Bono while he tapes his radio program at Sam’s Town. And, despite the rumors, I’m hearing that she still is not sporting a ring on THAT finger!

Hilton headliner Barry Manilow is expanding his merchandising efforts with a line of jewelry titled "M." Available exclusively at the M Store at the hotel, the initial offerings are a silver cuff, a matching ring, crystal earrings and a matching necklace. Barry, you know I’d be the perfect person to show off your jewels! Send me some samples.

Caesars and Onboard Media, a Miami-based publishing company, have partnered on a new lifestyle and gaming publication, Caesars Player. The premiere issue featuring actress Eva Longoria debuted this month. Each issue of Caesars Player will include a celebrity profile, spotlight fashion trends and examine the high-priced toys of the rich and famous.

With its former entertainment director out of the picture, the refurbished showroom at the downtown Plaza has finally opened by bringing back an old tradition of Broadway plays. Renée Taylor and Joe Bologna are starring in a celebration of comedy and marriage entitled "If you ever leave me”¦I’m going with you!" In the showroom’s heyday, Maynard Sloate staged wonderful plays in the room albeit with limited funds and space.

Wayne Newton has completed his current run at the Hilton and his future at the hotel is in question. A source told your Montella that at this time the veteran performer has no scheduled dates in Las Vegas and that he has only a series of one-nighters through the end of the year, including New Year’s Eve.

The lineup for the first Newport Pacific Records "Jazz at the Highlands" has been finalized for two nights of entertainment at the Dragon Ridge Country Club on Saturday and Sunday. Jazz guitarist Nils heads the list along with Susan Anton, Rick Latham and the Groove Doctors, the Larry White Jazz Band, guitarist Doug MacDonald, David Van Such, Len Levine and his swing band Jump, Jive & Wail, John Nasshan’s jazz band Quintessence, Rick Arroyo and the Latin Percussion Ensemble, singer/songwriter Shelley Fisher, songstress Shelly Taylor, Motown natives The Brothers Ali, piano twins Mark & Clark and local 11-year old singing sensation Malia Civetz. Proceeds from both days go to the Sharon Osbourne Colon Cancer Program at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the Las Vegas Philharmonic Orchestra, respectively.