Motown sound hitting Vegas' Imperial Palace

May 19, 2009 5:04 PM
The Full Monti by Monti Rock III |

Motown legend Smokey Robinson was featured at a press conference at the Imperial Palace to introduce "Human Nature Reach Out," a group from Australia doing that legendary Detroit sound.

Smokey is an icon who still draws crowds. He joined Human Nature for a couple of songs and told us that nobody sang Motown any better than this group of four gentlemen, who by the way are quite cute.

The press conference also introduced us all to the newly refurbished theater left vacant by the exit of "Legends in Concert." Smokey is rumored to be making some guest appearances with the group.

In the audience for the press conference was Dan Marandino, the Imperial Palace president, performer Frank Marino, many of the usual media and all of the "Legends in Concert" cast now appearing at Harrah’s. Those "Legends" folks were a very rowdy group, maybe because they’re not used to sitting in the audience. Marandino is excited to introduce everyone to this new group from Australia.

Also on the horizon is the opening of "Menopause The Musical" at the Luxor’s plush Atrium Showroom on Tuesday, May 26. "Menopause" is making its much-deserved move to the Las Vegas Strip after performing 1,534 shows over the last three years.

Worldwide, "Menopause" has played to more than 11 million people and nearly 500,000 during its long Las Vegas stint.

From its first performance, the show has evolved as a "grass-roots" movement of women who deal with life after 40 and all the challenges that result in the mental, physical and spiritual freedom of the post-World War II baby boomer generation. "Menopause" parodies classic songs of the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s.

The Luxor cast will include Queen Emily, a finalist in last year’s "America’s Got Talent") as well as Paige O’Hara, the voice of "Belle" in the Disney classic "Beauty and the Beast."

Speaking of big openings, "The Lion King" at Mandalay Bay has been one of the most anticipated here in years. It’s Broadway and Disney meeting Las Vegas. This should be a perfect fit for the entire family. I received my invitation, saw the show last Thursday evening and it was spectacular to say the least. The show might be a tad too long, but it’s a definite must-see.

Well, what I cried for has finally happened! Holly Madison will be taking over the role of "Bo Peep" in Peepshow, replacing Kelly Monaco. Holly’s first performance will be June 22 at Planet Hollywood. Yo!

After attending an opening night performance it’s obvious that the production is expensive and can use a stronger comedic influence or something to create laughs.

Just recently it was announced the dancers will remove their pasties. I’m not sure that will create any more laughter, but then who knows?

The stars came out last Sunday on behalf of the Italian Earthquake Relief Fund that was held at the Orleans. The lineup of stars was one of the biggest we’ve seen and included Phyllis McGuire, Shecky Greene, Rich Little, Pete Barbutti and Frankie Randall, just to name a few. They may not all be Italian but they all have heart.

My hat goes off to Joan Rivers. At 75 years old she showed her resolve on Donald Trump’s "Celebrity Apprentice." The lady doesn’t allow anyone to get in her way. While Joan was collecting the $250,000 prize money for her favorite charity, her celebrity opponent (poker pro Annie Duke) returned to Las Vegas to raise money for her own favorite charity. And, no doubt, keeping the feud fire alive!

CineVegas Film Festival is set for June 10-15 at the Palms, but events in connection with this great Festival are taking place prior to the opening date. Last Friday it was CineVegas Under The Stars at the Springs Preserve and on Saturday it was CineVegas Cafe Series at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. We’ll try to get ahead of the curve on this.

It seems Dirk Arthur has reached the age where he can stay out at night. He just added an evening show to his already successful afternoon Xtreme Magic at the Tropicana.

The night show is an expanded version of his afternoon gig, but will still include the striped tigers and leopards together with some new outrageous illusions.

The Encore will feature Whoopi Goldberg this Friday and Saturday, while Beyonce will perform July 30-Aug. 2. These are very rare appearances in Las Vegas for the ladies. By the way, the tickets for Beyonce are probably among the most expensive we’ve seen.

Suzanne Somers, a singer, dancer, actress and author of 18 books, will be appearing at the Hilton this coming Saturday. Suzanne will be lecturing on how to continue staying young-looking, healthy and sexy. She should know. Just look at her!

More on Shecky Greene. His show at the Suncoast last weekend was a complete sellout. Not a ticket to be had. Shecky is one of the truly great comedians of our time.

Now that Shecky is back, we hope to see him become a semi-regular on the Vegas locals circuit like the equally great "Sultan of Venom" Don Rickles.

Groundbreaking for The Smith Center For The Performing Arts in downtown Las Vegas will be Tuesday, May 26. This center will become the city’s cultural hub when it opens in 2012 and home of the Nevada Ballet Theater and the Las Vegas Philharmonic.

All of Las Vegas is continuing to adjust to the loss of the multi-talented Danny Gans. A memorial service, by invitation only, will be held for Danny this Thursday.

Question? Comment? E-mail me at: Monti Rock III