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Divine Divas dazzle in distaff division

Nov 19, 2002 3:07 AM

   This is Divine Diva Week in Las Vegas. It all started with a pleasant little outing at the Suncoast following the delightful performance of Diahann Carroll, who is diva extraordinaire. In another life and as a 20-year-old hairdresser in New York City, Diahann was a client of yours truly. Seeing her at the Suncoast brought back many memories. Diahann has been enjoying a triumph as the first woman of color to ever do a production of Sunset Boulevard. Her talent has always equaled her beauty.

   The diva scene continued with the wonderful Lainie Kazan and Mary Wilson. Mary has recently relocated to Las Vegas and was a welcome sight. The word is that Diane Ross didn't invite Mary to the Supremes' reunion tour last year. Too bad. They were once a great team.

   Lainie Kazan has to be enjoying the success of her latest film, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, one of this year's biggest hits. A little known fact about Lainie goes back when she was the understudy for Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl. When Lainie was called into action for Barbara's absence, she knocked 'em dead. The audience loved her. Unfortunately, Lainie's understudy gig in Funny Girl was short lived. I think she was too good! Anyway, the diva herself, the wonderful Lainie Kazan, will be at the Suncoast November 22-24. Her show is not to be missed.

   Another diva and another wonderful friend, Mimi Hines has just signed with the show 20th Century where she'll portray Imogene Cocoa. The show opens at UCLA and they hope to bring it to Las Vegas. Mimi was also in Funny Girl and she and Lainie are old friends. It was a diva reunion.

   My very best gal pal, and yes another diva, Paige O'Hara, the voice of Belle in Beauty and the Beast, just cut a new CD with Peabo Bryson. Plus Paige is putting together an afternoon show for Vegas. Expect more news on this.

   The incredible Rita Rudner and her husband are working on a show about the Beatles. Rita and hubby's show Boo! at New York-New York continues to do well. A new television show, Ask Rita, is scheduled to launch in January 2003. The show is going to have a Dear Abby concept and I suspect that comedic flair only Rita can add. Everyone seems to be seeking advice these days — after all Dr. Phil is enjoying tremendous success and Ask Rita may be just what the doctor ordered.

   The incomparable Connie Francis will be appearing at the Texas Station on Nov. 23-24. Welcome back, Connie. And then there's distress diva, Paula Poundstone, who's returning to Las Vegas. Baby diva, Lezlie Anders, may soon open her show Fever here in Vegas. Everybody loves this baby.

   Turning to the other gender, over at The Orleans, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons had the baby boomers tapping their toes to that familiar sound.

   The Bikini Beach club at the Rio is open and doing a brisk business. And the always popular and so talented Scintas are giving a big, bit party at the Rio to say thanks to the media.

   The opening for Lord of the Dance at the Venetian was what could be called strange. Especially when you consider Michael Flatley had just signed a $250 million contract.

   First, the media and VIP's were ushered into the V-Bar for pre-opening cocktails. As we all searched for the tidbits, the food, the chips, there was none to be found. Maybe there was something special after the show. Sitting in the both next to me was Michael Flatley himself, looking fit, fit, fit and Steve and Elaine Wynn, who must have been researching ideas for LeReve.

   Following the show we returned to the V-Bar to enjoy one of the fruits of life, water. Again the search for food was fruitless, literally and figuratively. Next time I’ll smuggle in a box of Junior Mints.

   Greg Thompson's Showgirls will introduce Stars on November 19. This is a new three-some who will replace Greg's wife and former headliner, Sunny. They have some big shoes to fill. As well as other inner garments.