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Let’s hear it for the femme fatales!

Jan 28, 2003 12:01 AM

CELINE DION christens her signature show at Caesars in March.

What a phenomenal week ”” excitement, openings, events, cancellations and scandalous behavior. I couldn’t be happier: it’s all grist for this columnist’s mill!

First, Engelbert Humperdinck ”” The Big H or The Hump to his lady friends ”” was to open at the Las Vegas Hilton on January 22, but the day before I received a message that he was sick and the engagement was cancelled. Being a responsible reporter, I called to find out if he was pulling some tom-foolery. Well, much to my chagrin, there was no story as he was really sick. Get well, Hump!

Then we had the 26th annual World Magic Seminar. The story everyone keeps calling me about is a late-night magical roast of Amazing Jonathan. It seems (despite warnings to all the attendees) Penn & Teller, the bad boys of comedy/magic, upset certain groups and individuals who walked out ”” maybe it was ran out ”” in disgust.

Everybody was up in arms and threatened to cancel everything from the Super Bowl to Sunday school. All I can say is it was entertainment, it was a roast and we all know that Penn & Teller have no scruples.

I love the Amazing Jonathan. He’s a zany guy with loads of talent. Penn & Teller live in their own world.

A couple of months ago I predicted that Phantom of the Opera was heading for The Venetian. We’re still waiting.

Earlier I wrote that my best girlfriend, Paige O’Hara, might perform in Miss Spectacular, a Jerry Herman musical. Herman, of Hello Dolly and Mame fame, wants to bring a show to Las Vegas. It was slated for The Mirage during the days that Steve Wynn had Sandy Gallin working for him. Steve was planning to build a theater to house the show. Well, Sandy is gone and so is the show and theater plans. That’s show biz.

Now we have Mamma Mia opening at Mandalay Bay, Celine Dion opening at Caesars Palace, a couple of proven "oldies" in Jubilee at Bally’s and Folies Bergere at the Tropicana.

And what about the marathon-type shows like the ones at the Riviera which include my good friend, and a great singer, Marlene Ricci.

And the hardest working woman in show business, Charo, has just opened at the Sevilla Dinner Club in the Aladdin, and I must say, thanks for bringing back the dinner show.

And Las Vegas has magic, for sure. From Dirk Arthur at the Silverton, Lance Burton at the Monte Carlo, Steve Wyrick at the Sahara and Siegfried & Roy ”” still doing incredible business ”” as they celebrate their 13th anniversary on Feb. 1 at The Mirage.

Word is that Tito Puente, Jr. will be filling in for Charo at the Sevilla while she takes a 10-day hiatus. Ole!

And L.A. Style opens February 4 at Nefertiti’s Lounge.

Remember when I got in hot water (it’s among my favorite venues) for writing about Caesars Magical Empire’s possible departure? Well, guess what! Voila, bye-bye!

As our city continues reinventing itself, I can’t help but wonder where are the stars? I guess stars are out. Shows are in.

Is there no end to rehab? Whitney, Diana, where are you? And, wouldn’t we love to see Aretha? Bring back the girls! Guess we’ll have to hang on until Celine opens at Caesars.