May 18 2009

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Divas of the desert: Las Vegas ladies sing!

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Las Vegas hotels By E.C. Gladstone

Even though Mother’s Day has come and gone, the occasion inspired me to want to pay tribute to our many great female performers, young and old. Las Vegas may host the world’s most beautiful women, but it also has many of the most talented. If you want to see a Grand Dame put on a show, I can’t think of any place with more choices than the Las Vegas hotels. The list is always changing, but take a look at who’s on the boards these days…

Cher, Caesars Palace

Cher’s own self-styled career tribute is as much a Bob Mackie fashion exposition as it is a concert. “Don’t I look great in person?” the age-defying diva cracks. “It only took me five hours to get this way!” With a full troupe of tight dancers and aerialists backing her, Cher’s Colosseum show is clearly meant to be crowd-pleasing though it also includes more video than you might expect. Still, her retrospective duet with Sonny on “The Beat Goes On,” her equally effective takes on Pat Benatar’s “Love Is A Battlefield” and Thelma Houston’s “Don’t Leave Me This Way” are all pleasant surprises. Despite rumors, Cher is staying at Caesars at least through 2010

Vegas

Holly Madison in Peepshow, Planet Hollywood

While it may be premature to consider her a Diva (and don't expect her to be belting out "Nessun Dorma"), it's just been announced that Holly Madison (of "Girls Next Door" and Playmate fame) will be taking over the lead of PH's music & topless dance revue Peepshow at the end of June (sharing space with “Scary Spice” Mel B and other female talents) . I'd say that makes it a must-see…

Bette Midler, Caesars Palace

Alternating weeks with Cher, Bette’s “The Showgirl Must Go On” is a genuine Vegas revue — a comedy and musical career retrospective with a self-aware layer of gloss, plenty of glitz, and showgirls. With cameos by her overgrown tweener character Delores Delage, the American Idol judges and her synchronized handicap mermaids, it’s easy to forget Bette can belt it out, but we get everything from “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” to “Wind Beneath My Wings” too. Though the Colosseum seats 4,000, I strongly recommend paying for the best seats you can

Rita Rudner, Harrah’s

Rita is not a singer, but still a diva in her own way. With her deft dry wit, the Strip stalwart jokes about aging, men vs. women, marriage and of course, Vegas, “Wherever you’re from… Vegas is the opposite of it,” says the classy comedienne (quite true). All the while, Rita naturally looks fabulous, underscoring her genuine love of retail (She’s no stranger to the Fashion Show Mall across the street — I’ve spotted her there myself.) “Now that the economy’s slowed down,” she confesses, “…I’m shopping for my country.”

Beyonce and beyond

If you’re looking for a special engagement to plan a Las Vegas vacation around, there are certainly a few well worth noting: Beyonce, for one, appearing July 30-Aug 2 at Wynn’s Encore theatre (at under 1,500 seats, by far the most intimate and elegant venue you could see her in)… Broadway legend Patti Lupone is debuting a one-woman show "The Gypsy In My Soul," at the Orleans showroom June 20… and watch for other larger-than-life ladies from Vegas resident Gladys Knight to the unsinkable Debbie Reynolds appearing every few months at the Orleans, Sun Coast or South Point

There are also a few resident performers at Las Vegas hotels worth spotlighting: While you probably know about Marie Osmond (with her big brother Donny at the Flamingo), and might recall my mention of Zowie Bowie’s Marley Taylor here a couple weeks ago, you might also want to check out Filipino star Lani Misalucha (with Earl Turner in “Voices” at the LV Hilton (7 p.m., Mon-Sat)… Bellagio’s almost-legendary Fontana lounge performer Dian Diaz (nightly from 10 p.m., Wed-Sun) … or Harrah’s fierce and fabulous (nightly from 9 p.m., Tues-Sat) Twin Keys dueling piano girls. Believe me, it beats the karaoke bar…

Insider Tip: Wine events are becoming more and more common in Vegas — and not just for snobby locals anymore! A couple worth noting are the five-course Scarbolo dinner at Simon, Palms Place (Thurs, 5/21) and the three-day wine weekend with Master Sommelier William Sherer at Aureole, Mandalay Bay (June 12-14). Veni, Vidi, Vino!

Related Orbitz resources:

A contributing editor at VEGAS Magazine, E. C. Gladstone also interviews top Strip entertainers, restauranteurs, moguls and behind-the-scenes players for other local and national publications and websites. Like many Las Vegans, he sleeps only when absolutely necessary.

More About: Eric Gladstone

Veteran entertainment and travel writer E. C. Gladstone writes regularly for Las Vegas Magazine and the Las Vegas Weekly, also interviewing top Strip entertainers, restauranteurs, moguls and behind-the-scenes players for other local and national publications and websites. Like many Las Vegans, he sleeps only when absolutely necessary.
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Posted on: May 18, 2009 | Tags: , | Category: Gambling VacationCategory: Las Vegas VacationCategory: Romance

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