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Smith Center announces 2013-14 performances February 12, 2013 3:00 AM by Monti Rock III

Went to the Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars and then on to see Rod Stewart. Charming and in good voice, he looks a little like Barry Manilow to me.

And speaking of Manilow, he’s in New York where he cancelled a few shows due to voice issues, and a lot of brouhaha. If you put the two of these singers together, it looks like they were separated at birth – twin sons with different mothers.

Say what you will though, Stewart is quite a performer and his show was entertaining, the audience was engaged and there was only one piece of questionable film – oh well each show must bring something a little shocking, I guess.

Is the economy of Las Vegas turning around? Case in point, Caesars’ new hotel and restaurant Nobu. Robert De Niro and chef Nobu Matsuhisa want to bring a more Asian clientele with Chinese and Japanese business. It has great chefs. This is Nobu’s first hotel – they must know something as this opening tells me the economy is turning around – or might we be on the road to a new downward skid with gas prices spiraling again? I don’t think so.

The Super Bowl did not disappoint. Sports books reported the highest betting and most action Vegas has seen in years. Even with the blackout! (Nobody wagered on that, I bet!) And those commercials that cost millions of dollars – it is hard to pick out the best ones. Budweiser is near the top along with The Princess (we do strange things for our kids, don’t we?!)

Beyonce was brilliant. Spectacular singing and dancing plus the Destiny’s Child reunion. They looked fabulous. She didn’t lip sync any of that. A lot of hype over nothing. Singing in the cold can be hard on your instrument and I know she wanted to be sure everything was perfect. It was.

She’s not only the new Queen of Pop, but gets my crown as the Queen of Rock. Jennifer Hudson and Alicia Keys were also spectacular. Talk about star-studded, everybody who was anybody was in New Orleans for the game and festivities. I stayed in Vegas to reign over our parade. Maybe I’ll go to New Orleans in the spring.

The Smith Center for the Performing Arts has announced its 2013-2014 Broadway/Las Vegas lineup. Among the shows coming in: Les Miserables, Sister Act, War Horse, and The Book of Mormon. The Smith Center has become an even bigger success than originally anticipated.

Latest news on Britney is that negotiations are reportedly ongoing and a residency deal is nearly done. We’ll keep you posted.

Another big deal in the works has Bernie Yuman bringing a musical biography of Emilio and Gloria Estefan to Broadway. The Nederlander Organization will reportedly furnish the venue.

A show based on this couple has been in the works for several years. There was talk of their starring in a show at the Tropicana when the hotel was trying to feature a South Beach theme, but that never materialized. Gloria was a smash a few years ago when she appeared at Caesars Colosseum during one of Celine’s breaks. This should be a natural for the couple who has sold over 100 million records and won numerous Grammy awards.

Penn and Teller are celebrating a record run of 20 years in Las Vegas. They had originally planned to do one month a year, but became so popular they moved from Bally’s to MGM and then the Rio where they now have complete control of the Rio Theater and their support team.

My surprise is that good friend Jim Nabors beat me to the altar. Congratulations! I don’t think many folks knew he was gay, but his coming out and getting hitched removed all doubt.

The Rat Pack Is Back! A Tribute to Frank, Sammy, Joey and Dean is now at the Crown Theater in the Rio. They are backed by the Lon Bronson Big Band Orchestra and they have a Marilyn Monroe impersonator in the show. This makes for a terrific Las Vegas-type of entertainment. Dinner packages are also available. For more information please visit www.ratpackisback.com or call 702-777-7776.

As I reported last week, the Liberace Museum may be going downtown to Neonopolis. Let’s all get behind the foundation and get Liberace back. Cee Lo Green is doing his part and I’ll be reporting more on him at Planet Hollywood.

Yours truly has been filming the biopic “Monti Rock Unmasked,” and my thanks to Mike Michaels for doing a wonderful job. It is interesting to visit my 50 years in show business. Thanks to the South Point casino and the marketing department for the outstanding reception I received for the screening of “Saturday Night Fever,” the autograph signing and the ebullient response. What a wonderful afternoon!

The illustrious David Saxe has another new show at The V Theater at Planet Hollywood. Entitled Tribute Royalty, it features Lady Gaga, Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson. Norm Johnson is celebrating his 80th birthday at the Railroad Pass Convention Center in Henderson. He is a noted sculptor, columnist, PR guy and author.

Last week I received some flack because of my reporting on certain shows that are not doing well. Case in point is that Roseanne Barr (of all the people mentioned) is doing a little better.

As this columnist sees shows come and go, I’ve been talking to the Plaza downtown. Since the departure of Anthony Cools, it is rumored the hotel will become the landlord for the showroom. Anthony took all his lights and sound equipment. Over at The Venetian, Human Nature was full with the same show but a better production. These boys can sing and have unbelievable energy.

How many award shows do we need? The Directors Guild honored Ben Affleck who seems to be deserving but was overlooked by Oscar. Talking about the Academy, Seth MacFarlane is hosting and I think will bring a new, fresh feel to the show. However, they should bring Whoopi back.

At the Boulevard Theater, Tommy Wind is holding forth and doing good business. Members of my entourage saw an interesting and stimulating show at the Clarion called Ruah, The Breath of God. This is a new gospel-based show that has an excellent dance troupe, an energetic leader and a supporting cast of spirit-filled singers and musicians.

And as always, the Rev. Monti wishes all you Valentines a fabulous week!

Monti Rock, who starred with John Travolta is the classic Saturday Night Fever, is a legend, performer, GamingToday entertainment columnist and marketing expert. Contact Monti at MontiRock@GamingToday.com.

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