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Hot Happenings
by Bobbie Katz

Bay Watch
When the Frontier Hotel and Casino becomes the City By The Bay, a San Francisco-themed mega-resort, sometime in 2004/2005, noted stage, screen and recording artist Robert Goulet will be the focal point of a brand new entertainment experience in Las Vegas. Goulet, who is currently on national tour with “South Pacific,” says that he is very excited and loves the as yet undisclosed plans designed to elevate the entertainment bar to a new level in the city.

Goulet was the highest paid headliner at the Frontier back when Howard Hughes owned the property. Jack Wishnar, President and CEO of CP America, who recently orchestrated Donald Trump’s Trump Tower Las Vegas project, and previously Wayne Newton’s unprecedented entertainment contract at the Stardust, has been working with Phil Ruffin, owner of the Frontier, to conceive the entertainment concept for City By The Bay. Wishnar also negotiated the Goulet deal.

Casino Dance?
Michael Flatley, creator of “Riverdance,” “Lord of the Dance” and “Feet of Flames,” came into Las Vegas in September to hold high-level meetings about buying real estate in Las Vegas. Once thought to have been interested in buying the Aladdin, Flatley is now rumored to have bought 16 acres of prime property on the Las Vegas Strip for an exciting new casino project.

Flatley definitely has the capital; he recently passed an unprecedented mark in entertainment history when combined ticket sales for the three above-mentioned shows grossed more than a billion dollars around the world. “Lord of the Dance,” which closed at New York-New York in August, has, to date, grossed nearly $400 million alone. The show still has three international companies that tour around the world.

Tie a Yellow Ribbon Around The Ol’ Christmas Tree
Entertainer Tony Orlando will be bringing his original Christmas musical production, “Santa and Me: A Holy Night Before Christmas,” to the Orleans from December 16–22. The show combines traditional and original (written by Orlando) Christmas music, humor, and a Santa that looks like he’s straight out of the North Pole. Orlando says that the show, a tribute to the true traditional and spiritual meaning of Christmas, will definitely make a believer out of every member of the audience.

In tandem with the show, Orlando will have a “Santa and Me” Christmas store at the hotel, which opens the day after Thanksgiving. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be seen hand-carving toys in their workshop. Kids of all ages can bring their lists, sit on Santa’s lap, and have pictures taken with him. Additionally, the work of Santa’s “elves” will also be on display; one-of-a-kind handcrafted ornaments, jewelry, magnets and other gifts made by local artists. Also available will be everything from clothing to key chains to coloring books.

The “Snowbird” Flies South
Singer Anne Murray, after a three-year hiatus from Las Vegas, performed at the MGM Grand in November. She has a brand new album out called “Country Croonin’.” It comes hot on the heels of her first inspirational album, “What a Wonderful World,” released in 1999 and still selling, her first platinum album since 1987. Murray is also doing better in her personal life, having come through a very rough time. She lost her manager of 25 years, with whom she was very close, in 1996. A year later she discovered that her then-18-year-old daughter, Dawn, had anorexia. Subsequently her marriage of 23 years fell apart. Murray reports that her daughter is on her way to recovery and that the family (which includes her 26-year-old son, William) is much happier since her divorce.

This story was first published in the Winter 2002-2003 issue of Gambling Times Magazine.

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