Lineup includes B.B. King, George Thorogood & The Destroyers, Blind Boys of Alabama, Coco Montoya and moreThe inaugural Big Blues Bender, featuring a Grammy Award-winning lineup of superstars, will be hosted at the renowned Riviera Hotel & Casino Ticket packages for the can’t-miss festival, which will take place from Sept. 25-28, are now on sale. With a dazzling lineup full of musical legends and fan favorites, the Big Blues Bender will cover an expansive spectrum of genres, including blues, rock, zydeco, gospel and funk. The legendary B.B. King and George Thorogood & The Destroyers will headline the festival. It will also feature the soul-stirring harmonies of the Blind Boys of Alabama, the masterful accordion sounds of Buckwheat Zydeco, Charlie Musselwhite and his legendary harp, Ana Popovic with her powerful vocals, Tab Benoit and Coco Montoya. Festival packages, including lodging at the Riviera and tickets to the five-day festival, begin at $599 plus tax and applicable fees per person. Packages include the “Boom Room” and the “Wang Dang Doodle VIP Package”. The “Locals Ticket” begins at $75 a day with a valid Nevada ID. Ticket packages are currently on sale and can be purchased online at www.bigbluesbender.com. Guests must be 21 years or older to purchase ticket packages and 18 years or older to attend the Big Blues Bender .
RICK HARRISON LEADS “PAWN STARS POKER RUN” FOR EPILEPSY
Rick Harrison of HISTORY’S hit reality show “Pawn Stars” will lead the inaugural “Pawn Stars Poker Run” on Sunday, October 5 in Las Vegas to benefit the Epilepsy Foundation of Nevada. Rick, accompanied by his son Corey, will lead motorcycle riders through Las Vegas starting off at the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn, 713 S. Las Vegas Blvd. Some of the stops riders will visit include the 100-year old historic Pioneer Saloon in Good Springs, NV, Distill — A Local Bar (Summerlin) and Triumph Motorcycle. The final stop brings the riders back to downtown Las Vegas for the After Party and raffling off some amazing prizes at Hogs & Heifers Saloon. Grand Prize for the best hand is $2,000. Registration is open now online at http://www.epilepsy.com/pawn-
stars-poker-run. Early registration is $30 per rider and $15 per passenger. Rick Harrison is an Epilepsy Foundation national board member and spokesperson. Harrison developed epilepsy as a child, living with difficult to control seizures which often disrupted his time at school and with friends. While his seizures have now ended, Harrison is dedicated to helping promote the mission of the Epilepsy Foundation and its local chapter in Nevada by bringing attention to the greater need for epilepsy awareness, education and acceleration of new seizure therapies. * * * * * ELVIS IS BACK IN THE BUILDING AT LEGENDS IN CONCERT The dynamic cast of Legends in Concert , the world’s greatest live tribute show at Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, has a new look this fall season with an exciting new lineup of award-winning tribute artists accompanied by a fresh ensemble cast of dancers and backup singers, along with the highly-anticipated return of the king himself, Elvis Presley. Anyone who has ever wanted to take a trip back in time to the glamorous days of vintage Vegas now has the chance with the debut of Bill Cherry, the 2009 worldwide winner of the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest. Also new to the fall cast is pop princess, Britney Spears, portrayed by Katie Murdock. Rhythm rhapsody funnymen, the Blues Brothers, portrayed by Eric Martin and Carmen Romano, always bring the comic relief with hilarious jokes as they interact with the audience and take song requests as Jake and Elwood. Swing sensation, Bobby Darin, portrayed by Art Vargas, brings his movie star good looks to the stage with oldie hits and suave serenades that take the crowd back to the fabulous show business days of 1958 with hits like “Mack the Knife.” This is a historic moment, as the real Bobby Darin recorded his live album “The Curtain Falls” at Flamingo Las Vegas in 1963. Now fifty years later, the curtain rises again in the exact showroom with an extraordinary tribute to the man and his music. The debut of the new fall cast has a music legend for everyone, from contemporary pop stars to the most legendary icons, so don’t miss your chance to be there when the stars align with 11 performances every week in the Donnie & Marie Showroom: Sunday and Monday at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., Tuesday at 9:30 p.m., Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday at 4 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. * * * * * PIANIST PHILIP FORTENBERRY RETURNS TO THE SMITH CENTER OCTOBER 5 Virtuoso pianist Philip Fortenberry will perform “The Man at the Piano” concert at The Smith Center’s 250-seat Cabaret Jazz showroom on Sunday afternoon, Oct. 5, at 2:30 p.m. Fortenberry debuted his new solo show in June 2013 to sold out audiences showcasing his signature playing style in an acoustic 75-minute cabaret-style concert with the music surrounding his life story beginning as a child pianist at the young age of four in rural Mississippi to becoming a sought-after Broadway pianist, a concert artist at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, The White House, and on to giving command performances for royals and dignitaries including President Bush, Mikhail Gorbachev and the late Margaret Thatcher. Tickets are now on sale for the concert and priced at $36 and $26 at The Smith Center Box Office, by phone 702-749-2000, or online at www.thesmithcenter.com. For more information about Fortenberry’s prestigious career or to purchase his solo CDs, visit www.philipfortenberry.com. * * * * * TAKE A TRIP OVER THE RAINBOW WITH GEORGE BUGATTI AND “THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF SONG: THE MUSIC OF HAROLD ARLEN” RETURNS HOME TO lAS VEGAS AT CABARET JAZZ AT THE SMITH CENTER
“The Wonderful Wizard of Song: The Music of Harold Arlen,” a jukebox musical featuring classic songs by the iconic Oz composer, returns home to Las Vegas at Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts Oct. 17-19. Created by Vegas mainstay performer George Bugatti , Sam Arlen and American Idol’s Nigel Wright “The Wonderful Wizard of Song” was written in Las Vegas and worked-shopped at The Debbie Reynolds Theatre before making its year and a half run in New York City. Performances are Friday, Oct. 17 and Saturday, Oct. 18 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 19 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $39 and $45 and are currently on sale at The Smith Center box office, online at www.TheSmithCenter.com or by phone at 702.749.2000. “The Wonderful Wizard of Song,” takes the audience on a journey, through a series of vignettes, tracing Harold Arlen’s career, seamlessly moving through the Cotton Club era to his Hollywood years and ending with his time on the Great White Way. In this popular Off-Broadway hit, guests are treated to inspired renditions of “Stormy Weather,” “Come Rain or Come Shine,” “Paper Moon,” “Accentuate the Positive,” “Let’s Fall in Love” and the much loved tunes from “The Wizard of Oz,” including “Over The Rainbow,” named by the American Film Institute as the No. 1 in the 100 Greatest American Movie Songs. Weaved in the 90-minute musical are inside stories of how some of the world’s most beloved songs were created as well as rare behind the scenes footage from “The Wizard of Oz” taken by Harold Arlen himself. Produced by Yellow Brick Productions in association with Edmund Gaynes, Jerry Rosenberg and Shea Arender. “The Wonderful Wizard of Song” opened in New York on Dec. 17, 2012 at the St. Luke’s Theatre and ran thru May 25, 2014. It is written by George Bugatti and directed and choreographed by Broadway veteran Gene Castle with additional staging by Josh Iacovelli. All archival and historical content is provided by Sam Arlen. Musical direction by Joey Singer with arrangements by Steve Rawlins and Arthur Schroeck. For more information on “The Wonderful Wizard of Song” visit www.thewonderfulwizardofsong.
com. In an effort to foster this “homegrown show,” The El Cortez Hotel and Casino, Casa di Amore Italian American Restaurant, Mob Bar, and The Bootlegger Bistro have all provided promotional support for this event. George Bugatti is an American singer, pianist and songwriter with three CD’s in wide release. His latest CD, A Night for Romance was produced by Nigel Wright (Executive Music Producer of American Idol and Warner Bros’ Phantom of the Opera) and is distributed by Universal/Verese Sarabande. In 1998, Steve Wynn invited Bugatti, Michael Feinstein and John Pizzerelli to open Wynn’s Bellagio Resort in Las Vegas where he recorded Bugatti’s Live on the Strip produced by Paul Anka Productions. His first CD, Oh, What a Night for Love, was produced by Steve Allen of “The Tonight Show” who discovered George at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills. Bugatti headlined with his big band at The Sands, Atlantic City and made his NYC debut at Carnegie Hall in 2003 playing piano and singing. A Night for Romance, features “Two Shots of Happy” (originally written for Frank Sinatra) by U2 front-man Bono and given to George when Sinatra passed away. “The Wonderful Wizard of Song” is a labor of love for Bugatti who has written, directed and performed in the various versions of the show all over the country. Recently, Bugatti starred with The Rochester Symphony in “Over The Rainbow” produced by Todd Gershwin and Dan Chilewich. Bugatti is also co-founder, along with Sam Arlen, of The Harold Arlen Foundation/American Songbook Foundation. About Harold Arlen Born in 1905, Harold Arlen began playing with local bands, movie houses, vaudeville troupes and cabaret as a teenager in his home town of Buffalo, NY. His early collaboration with Ted Koehler, beginning in 1930, led to writing such hits as “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” and “I’ve Got the World on a String” for the famed Cotton Club. In 1939, he won the Oscar for Best Original Song for “Over the Rainbow” from “The Wizard of Oz” and earned eight more Academy Award nominations including “The Man That Got Away” from “A Star is Born.” Arlen was enshrined in the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1971 and passed away in 1986 at age 81. George Bugatti, Co-Founder (with Sam Arlen) of the Harold Arlen Foundation, said “If Arlen has just written “Over the Rainbow” he would be assured of his place in the Great American Songbook. Aside from being Judy Garland’s life-long signature, Rainbow was rated No. 1 by the Recording Industry Association of America and the named one of the “Songs of the Century” by the National Endowment for the Arts.” * * * * * THE IMPROV AT HARRAH’S: SEPT. 23-SEPT. 28 The world-famous Improv at Harrah’s Las Vegas is the longest-running comedy club on the Las Vegas Strip. The Improv’s ability to showcase young comedians, as well as bring in big names, has attributed to its longevity and success. Each week, The Improv showcases some of the funniest and freshest faces in comedy, creating a show that is always unique and definitely funny. The comedians who will perform Sept. 23–Sept. 28 are: Dat Phan: Known as the original winner of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” Dat Phan creates a culturally insightful show, using his youthful energy and unique life experiences. Phan has been featured on many movies and TV shows, such as “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “The Tyra Banks Show,” “Cellular” and “Family Guy.” Leslie Ann Thompson: Leslie Ann Thompson has participated in several stand-up comedy competitions including the 2005 “Michigan Comedy Survival” where she won second place, the 2006 “Canadian Mist Comedy Competition” and the “Detroit International Comedy Festival.” Thompson has performed in clubs from coast-to-coast and on a cruise ship in China. Traci Skene (Sept. 16): Traci Skene, a Philadelphia native, was once named “Funniest Woman in Philadelphia.” Skene’s comments on the questionable fashion choices of Hollywood’s “beautiful people” are a regular part of US Weekly’s wildly popular “Fashion Police.” Her fans delight in her pithy tweets and her humorous personal blog, Road Atlas Shrugged. Gary Cannon (Sept. 17- 21): Gary Cannon began his comedy career in San Francisco, moving to L.A. after developing his style and confidence. From working some of the top clubs in Southern California, Cannon transitioned his comedy into another area: studio audience warm-up. Cannon started on the “Dean Martin Celebrity Roast” infomercial and then went on to warm up audiences for the “Late, Late Show” with Craig Kilborn and with Craig Ferguson as well as “Last Call with Carson Daly.” Shows are at 8:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Tickets are $29.05 or $44.95 (plus applicable taxes and fees) for VIP tickets that include special seating, an Improv t-shirt and post-show meet-and-greet with the comics. Special two-for-one tickets are also available for locals for the 10 p.m. show. Tickets are available at Harrah’s Box Office (702-369-5223 and online at the website www.harrahslasvegas.com. Jerry Fink is an entertainment columnist for the Las Vegas Tribune newspaper and writes a weekly column. To contact Jerry Fink, email him at jfink@ lasvegastribune.com.