It’s ‘Human Nature’ to praise Smokey Robinson

Mar 5, 2013 3:00 AM

This week we had the spectacular re-opening at The Venetian of Human Nature – the four chaps from Australia did not disappoint.

I originally saw them at Imperial Palace and I never forgot that the marquee said “Smokey Robinson presents…” My hat’s off and I bow to Adam Steck. This young producer has become a mainstay in the Las Vegas fabric.

Steck imported Thunder from Down Under and The Australian Bee Gees. He also brought us Frank Marino’s Divas; and let’s not forget he’s the producer of Boyz II Men at the Mirage. But at this opening of Human Nature, Smokey Robinson got on the stage, sang and “wowed” the crowd.

The show is revamped with new sets and new musicians, and is now sparked with a new magic. It is improved beyond words. In the audience was an array of Motown stars, including the diva herself, Mary Wilson, who informed me she is selling her house and leaving Las Vegas.

I was surprise to learn from the illustrious Tony Sacca, with his lovely wife Josette, that he has a new TV show at the LVH (formerly the Hilton) with a new band and will be interviewing “stars.” He has a whole library of stars he has interviewed over the last 30 years from Sammy Davis Jr. to George Burns, Don Rickles and yours truly.

The after party at Venetian in the Gallery had an array of celebrities. Talent Agent Jaki Baskow, famous chef Carla Pellegrino, Marino and his entourage, Glenn Alai (Penn & Teller’s manager) and others.

I had a long conversation with Murray Sawchuck and his lovely wife/assistant Lefty, who will be going into the 4 o’clock slot at the Tropicana.

One last note about the Oscars: I loved Seth MacFarlane as a host, a singer, a creative artist who wrote the script and directed the movie Ted and the TV show Family Guy. He brought a new, refreshing dimension to the show even if some of the jokes were a little edgy. He was funny though.

There were outstanding performances with the standout being Shirley Bassey singing Goldfinger – she’s 76 and still has that voice and presence. I also liked Adele singing the title song from Skyfall and receiving her first Oscar, plus Barbra Streisand’s appearance with a touching tribute to her late friend and America’s composer Marvin Hamlisch.

Jennifer Hudson brought the house down with her rendition of And I’m Telling You from Dream Girls. And to think she was told by the folks at American Idol that all she would ever be was a lounge singer. How’s that for encouragement? But she showed them by starring in a hit musical and winning an Academy Award.

The Oscars, Grammys and all of these award shows have much less to do with the awards are more all about fashion and hair. The red carpet, who’s wearing whom, who’s with whom – who really cares?

Here’s my version: Best dressed, hands down, was Charlize Theron, looking spectacular in a white Dior gown and a short hair cut. Also looking great was Jane Fonda (75 years young) in that striking yellow Versace.

The entrance of Kristin Stewart on crutches and Anne Hathaway’s dress were too much for me. Stars should wear the clothes, not the clothes wearing the stars.

Daniel Day Lewis became the first male to receive three Best Actor Oscars. Best Actress Jennifer Lawrence, who fell on the way up to the stage and made light of it, was stunning and wonderful, and a future star on her way to great things. All in all, it was a very musical, entertaining, wonderful night for the Academy Awards.

I had the greatest conversation with Anita Mann, the producer/director of Fantasy that has been on for 12 years at Luxor. She tells me she’s revamping it and tweaking it. There you go, Anita, keeping it fresh, vibrant – that’s why you’re still here.

I went to see my friend Pia Zadora at Suncoast last Saturday nite and she sparkled. She opened for Frank Sinatra in the old days and still is a powerhouse performer. I loved her song selection and she serves as an inspiration to those who believe you never give up.

So much of performing is to just get out there and do it, and Pia proved that point very well. The audience was appreciative and gave her enthusiastic applause and even a standing ovation. Welcome back, Pia!

The Suncoast is bringing Loni Anderson (ex-wife of Burt Reynolds) and Hal Linden in the Jewish Repertory Theater of Nevada’s production Love Letters. Neither of these TV stars has been seen in a long time and should easily find an audience here.

George Wallace received a Lifetime Achievement Award during the Soul Train Awards Weekend Centric Comedy All-Stars show. Wallace is being honored for his nearly four decades in comedy and is currently in his ninth year at the Flamingo. Check local listings.

“The Phat Pack”, the only show of the Plaza’s original four that opened earlier this season, is returning to the Plaza as part of the grand re-opening of its showroom on March 13. The show will run every Wednesday through Sunday at 5 p.m., This show, with hilarious original songs, standards, and Broadway/Vegas hits, is appropriate for all audiences.

The Onyx Theater will present Next To Normal, a raw, authentic rock musical chronicling the effect of mental illness on a mother and her entire family. This show, new to Vegas will perform during the month of March. For details please contact the Onyx Theater at 702-732-7225.

Tickets for the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open PGA Tour are now available. Daily and weekly tickets and ticket packages for the 2013 tournament can be purchase online at www.shrinershospitalsopen.com or by calling 702-873-1010. The event is Oct. 14-20 at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas and returns for the 31st consecutive year.

Golden Rainbow presents its 27th annual Ribbon of Life at The Smith Center on Sunday, June 30. This fundraiser helps HIV/AIDS patients and their families.

To all my GT readers, on May 29 I will be retiring as a performer. It’s time to “hang up my dancing shoes.” I will still write my columns and critiques, work on films and other projects, such as marketing and officiating at weddings.

Thanks to all my fans and supporters, who humbled me with expressions of love and the many get well cards, which were so appreciated, when I was recovering from my bout with pneumonia.

CORRECTION: Last week we mistakenly wrote that new producers were taking over Legends in Concert. The same talented production team is still at the helm of Legends, now at the Flamingo in the 4 p.m. time slot. This show will celebrate its 30th anniversary on May 5, making it the third longest running show in Vegas history.

To all my adoring fans, know that I love and cherish you. Have a spectacular week!

Monti Rock, who starred with John Travolta in the classic Saturday Night Fever, is a legend, performer, GamingToday entertainment columnist and marketing expert. Contact Monti at [email protected].

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