Distaff entertainers finding the spotlight

January 22, 2002 4:00 AM


Over at the Flamingo, the Gladys Knight show opening on February 12 is the talk of the town. Chip Lightman””who also manages Danny Gans”” plans to embark on a very strong marketing campaign. The Flamingo, known for its very large Japanese tourist crowd, made a sensational hit out of the Rockettes, but unfortunately the showroom has been a graveyard for four-wall deals. Now the Flamingo says that they will back this show 1,000 percent. Let’s hope that’s enough!

Wonders never cease to amaze this columnist: Connie Ross and Gary Campbell, who had the television show Backstage America that emanated from the Imperial Palace, are no longer on the air. A very reliable source informed me that Connie only wanted to do shows twice a month, but the powers that be said no. How could anyone say no to Connie?

Chita Rivera, one of Broadway’s greatest stars, was honored last weekend at the Nevada Ballet Theatre’s Black and White Ball. This talented legend, who starred in Chicago at the Mandalay Bay, has always been one of the nicest and personable stars that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Plus her work on the silver screen has been memorable. Who could forget her in West Side Story and Sweet Charity?

Is Las Vegas ready for Broadway? How about culture? At the Aladdin, JAM Productions has staged the Broadway phenomenal hit, Tommy. This show, choreographed and directed by Tony Stevens, is a scaled down version of the original Tony Award winning Tommy that wowed them in New York. Stand-out performances include Michael Seelbach, a sexy new hard-rocking performer.

Also at the Aladdin””one of my favorite Broadway shows of all time””Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, is coming in for one night only, February 2.

Over at the Riviera, the very lovely and talented Marlene Ricci has landed an indefinite engagement in Le Bistro. Nice to see the Riv make a smart move.

The History of Rock and Roll Revue at The Orleans is playing until February 4.

Despite all the new shows, Thunder From Down Under at the Frontier appears to be holding its own. The young producer, Adam Steck, is a successful young entrepreneur in this town, and it’s nice to see male cheesecake still sells!

I wish things had worked out for Kenny Kerr. Kenny informs me that he is still looking for a showroom, but aren’t we all? Yet it’s hard to imagine the quintessential female impersonator on the sidelines.

The Sundance Film Festival in Aspen””Robert Redford’s baby””is off and running for the year 2002. I am a big fan of this festival, which has become a wonderful event for the creative talent in the film industry.

The Green Valley Ranch Station is doing more than expected business. It has been a successful venture and the locals are thronging to its fine restaurants and other offerings. Congrats to Stations and the Greenspun empire (as if they need any more winners!).

Over at the Palms, Robin Leach hosted a high-roller party, with many celebrities flying in.

The Sahara’s Steve Wyrick has returned after being out for two weeks. Don’t mention the limp; he’s sort of sensitive about it!

Drew Carey ””who recently lost a great deal of weight after his heart surgery””will be at the MGM Grand from February 1-3.

The Jeff Kutash show””The Main Event””which I am a big fan of, starring Bob Anderson””is close to signing a deal at a major property.

The Marriott, the former Regent in Summerlin, has just hired Tom Miller as entertainment director. Let’s look for good things.