News Column

'MDQ' makes quick Cash with Veronic DiCaire; Flamingo to catch Donny Osmond on the backside

August 7, 2013


Aug. 07--A quick shake of the rake as the week in VegasVille heats up:

--The appearance by Veronic DiCaire at the end of Monday night's performance of "Million Dollar Quartet" was the first headliner walk-on during the production at Harrah's, but it likely won't be the last.

Producers are interested in inviting a host of guest vocalists to the show to sing a song with the band after its (spoiler alert!) encore segment, where all four main characters sing a classic rock 'n' roll song. DiCaire, the bubbly singing impressionist at Bally's Jubilee Theater who is co-produced and promoted by Celine Dion and Rene Angelil, was the first of these guest stars. She had a blast, summoning her impersonation/interpretation of June Carter Cash in a duet of "Jackson" with Ben Hale (Johnny Cash).

Others on the hot list to appear in these unbilled performances are Napoleon's at Paris Las Vegas resident headliner Taylor Hicks, who would have been the first guest singer if not for a scheduling conflict; Donny Osmond (more on him in a moment); Caesars Palace Gossy Room mainstay Matt Goss; former Harrah's headliner and current Cab Jazz kingpin Clint Holmes, who was in the "MDQ" audience Monday (I can verify this, as I was sitting next to him); and the Stratosphere's Frankie Moreno, who closes his shows with a medley that includes Jerry Lee Lewis' "Wild Child" or "Whole Lotta Shakin.' "

Expect a strong effort from the producers to look inside Caesars Entertainment properties and also in the city to give a boost to "MDQ." Doubtless, there is no shortage of qualified candidates to step into this sort of role. I see a dozen a week, at least.

--A good word to use when describing Donny Osmond's hiatus from live performance is "tentative." He's been sidelined for about a month with a torn gluteus maximus suffered onstage in the first week of July. The butt of quite a number of cheeky puns related to the incident, Osmond is scheduled to return to the show Sept. 3, when Marie Osmond is back from her performances in Atlantic City. The original schedule was for the duo to be back in good repair on Aug. 20, but Donny needs a little more time to ... repair.

While headlining at Caesars in A.C., Marie has been performing with her nephew David and John Schneider, the famous Bo Duke from "the Dukes of Hazzard" and co-founder, with Marie, of the Children's Miracle Network three decades ago. The shows have been very well received, about a half-dozen standing ovations per night, as Schneider has shown impressive stage chops for someone who hasn't been a busy live performer recently.

--Jimmy Kimmel's wedding to Molly McNearney last month in Ojai, Calif., was packed with celebs. Matt Damon (naturally), Ben Affleck, Emily Blunt, John Krasinski and Howard Stern were among the 300 or so attendees. One of the more prominent guests was not so famous, but was one of the more important figures in Kimmel's life, especially during his youth in Las Vegas: Father Bill Kenny.

Kenny was Kimmel's priest at Our Lady of Las Vegas Catholic Church, and Father Bill remains a close friend and confidant of Kimmel's. Fittingly, Kenny led the service's final prayer.

--A couple of folks we hadn't seen perform in VegasVille in a while appeared at Kelly Clinton's Bootlegger Bistro open-mic night this week. Jimmy Hopper, who opened VooDoo Lounge at the Rio and spent five years at Bellagio's Fontana Bar, took to the piano for a run through of "Piano Man" and brought Holmes up to duet on "You Are So Beautiful," an odd selection that was delivered with platonic precision.

The last I've heard of Hopper playing in town was about three years ago at the Lounge at the Palms, but he told the crowd that he's been in talks for a room somewhere in town. I liked him at Fontana a lot, and when he was at the Rio, he was one of the most popular live acts in the city.

And, one of the great opening acts in comedy (Rodney Dangerfield, Joan Rivers and George Carlin among the legends he's worked with) Dennis Blair, who has just moved back to Vegas, played the guitar and told a few jokes. He's back at Sin City Comedy and Burlesque in September.

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Just as distinctive as it's famous neighbors Caesar's Palace and The Venetian, Harrah's Las Vegas has been entertaining guests since 1973. The 87,700-square foot casino is filled with 1,520 slot machines and 107 gaming tables. Outside the casino, guests are able to experience fun in a street-fair atmosphere at the Carnival Court, an outdoor lounge with live entertainment (including the bartenders), food stands and outdoor shops.

At Harrah's comedy is King, and that has never been more apparent then the comedy acts of Rita Rudner, the Mac King Comedy Magic Show and the Improv Comedy Club. After the show, guests are more than welcome to laugh at their friends at The Piano Bar, famous for its dueling pianos and karaoke. Most recently, Harrah's added tribute show "Legends in Concert" to its list of entertainment.

Restaurants like Ming's offers Asian cuisine, while Ruth's Chris Steak House offers guests fine steaks and fresh seafood. Toby Keith's I Love This Bar is a country-themed bar with a restaurant, live music and the occasional appearance from Keith himself.

3475 Las Vegas Blvd South Las Vegas, NV 89109



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