Aretha Franklin deserves to be resident performer in Vegas

Jul 24, 2012 3:00 AM

A wonderful week thanks to Aretha Franklin.

The “Queen of Soul” was superb as well as elegant, eloquent. She possesses the voice of the century. Her stage demeanor exudes confidence and charm. The diva deserves to be a resident artist the four to five times a year she performs in Vegas.

She was phenomenal and the sold out audience reception was nothing short of a mutual love fest. I went backstage and found her to be charming. She remembered when we were both handled by the queen of agent/managers, the late Ruth Bowen, who sadly passed in April 2009 at age 84.

Much thanks to Ruth’s husband, Billy Bryant, for calling me and making it all possible. I had the best seats in the house and was embraced as the Queen of Vegas (or is it the King?). Sometimes I get confused.

Another opening, another show! The new show is called Surf, The Musical and features the music of the Beach Boys. Planet Hollywood outdid themselves with the staging, choreography and dancers. Fantastic!

There is an impressive ferris wheel sequence and the vocal arrangements reflect the best of the Beach Boys. The invitees were an excellent eclectic mix of media –Chippendales, Frankie Moreno, Carrot Top, Nathan Burton and some stars I didn’t recognize.

We need to cancel “American Idol.” I mean let’s pull the plug on this piece of trash. I could have been the right judge, but they never called. Hey, I am the male Paula Abdul! Stephen Tyler and Jennifer Lopez have abandoned ship.

J.Lo, by the way, has enough on her plate to keep her busy (and wealthy). She’s sold over 55 million records, made films, and now has a tour with Enrique Iglesias. The ratings are down and the “talent is abysmal” and Randy Jackson’s time is up. They all made millions.

I would love to bring Paula Abdul back. Patti LaBelle would be a great judge as would “Miss Band of Gold,” Freda Payne. Not Charlie Sheen, though. The show doesn’t need that kind of resuscitation. And, definitely not Adam Lambert. Just pull the plug!

Also big news from the Oprah front. Miss Winfrey is reported to have fired 30-40 people on her staff. Her OWN network is not working. It is overblown Oprah and too much of a good thing. Gayle King went to CBS and is doing a great job with Charlie Rose in the mornings. This show has class, the interviews are insightful and I am in love with Charlie.

A great trip with my entourage to witness Vegas! The Show at Planet Hollywood. The show is tighter with more variety, more entertaining and more innovation. My hat’s off to David Saxe and his team for producing a little gem.

Last week it was announced that Cee Lo Green, who was supposed to be doing the “Liberace” show, is postponing it because of his commitment to “The Voice.” Green is a judge (if you can call it that) and vocal/presentation coach for the fledgling performers.

So let’s count the reality/talent shows. There’s “Opening Act” on E! being produced by some “cat” named Nigel; “Duets,” “The X Factor” (which should be called Axed Factor), “America’s Got Talent” (or no talent) and now we have dating shows, psychic shows, housewives, sporting goods housewives and mob wives.

Where are the gay wives? I am a consultant to what would be a fabulous show and I am proudly a gay housewife. Darn, I’m good on so many levels and you’d better hurry up and get me because time is of the essence.

My friend David Cassidy is still in the news. I have to be impartial over this next item because he is a friend.The situation can’t be fixed so let’s move on.

Case in point: In 1967 or 1968 yours truly was fired from Caesars Palace. I say that the people who did that were correct. I drank Pernot and smoked joints, causing my career to go up in smoke. Luckily for me I had Johnny Carson on my side and scandal was good entertainment plus great for ratings.

David has offered to do a free charitable concert next year, but what we all need to remember is he was acting for a friend. Monkees lead singer Davy Jones had just died, and Cassidy really wasn’t prepared to do a full length show dedicated to his friend. He should have mastered one or two songs and moved on.His fans, especially those on that Sunday night, felt cheated.

I am working on my own tribute to Disco Tex: The Legacy and Legend of What Was!! It is so good to be the king.

This week I got a call from Norbert Aleman, who is preparing the biggest and best anniversary to honor 25 years of Crazy Girls. He is refining and re-tooling to make it perfect. This show is perfect and with a little updating it could be “perfect plus.” Shows that run for 25 years have that special something. We need more of these.

Kenny Kerr, former star of Boy-lesque is back at work. The famous (sometimes infamous) female impersonator is bringing a two-show engagement to the OnyxTheatre on July 31. This extremely talented drag star does impersonations of Eartha Kitt and Billie Holiday to name a few. His Marlene Dietrich and Carol Channing spoofs are some of the best ever seen.Hopefully Kenny will get a steady “gig.”

He’s that kind of talent.

Let us not forget the closing of two favorite shows of mine – Phantom in September and Viva Elvis at Aria later in the year. Human Nature, four of “the baddest” white boys to ever sing Motown, may be moving to The Venetian. It seems the construction surrounding the Imperial Palace is creating dust, making it difficult for the boys to perform at their best.

Add Celeste Holm to the growing list of show business dignitaries to leave us. Celeste performed on Broadway and then moved on to featured roles in such film classics as “All About Eve,” “High Society,” and”Gentlemen’s Agreement.” We will miss that deep satin voice, her wonderful wit and charm.

A final note: I’m so glad folks are coming out of the closet like Anderson Cooper, two rap stars and two movie stars. Mr. Rock is going back into the closet where he feels safe.

As always The Rev. Monti wishes you a great week.