Just as I entered the box office line at the Colosseum for Saturday night's Lionel Richie show, the already percolating Twitter feed popped with a note from my man Robin Leach. The tweet was that he'd heard Wayne Newton was going to attend the Matt Goss performance at the Cleopatra's Barge Gossoleum later that night.
"Dang, I wish I was at Caesars Palace tonight," I thought, then stopped. "Wait. I am at Caesars Palace." I get confused, so many resorts. So I verified that the Wayne Newton who would be at the show was actually the Mr. Las Vegas Wayne Newton, and got tickets to the Goss performance set to start right after the crowd filed out of the Colosseum.
As it turns out, it wasn't the only superstar-in-the-audience episode at Caesars. Early in his performance, which was crazy fun, Richie introduced a man he described as "an idol, one of the great singer-songwriters of all time, Neil Diamond!" And there, positioned a few rows in front of the sound board, wearing an all-black suit and an all-white smile, was in fact Neil Diamond.
The crowd went nuts, predictably, and Diamond's appearance reminded that he is the center of reports that he'll be brought in to fill dates left vacant after Bette Midler's departure from the Colosseum. He did meet with Richie backstage before the show, and made a wise move to cut out before Richie's "All Night Long" encore to escape fans who were angling to snap photos and tell him all about how they remember seeing him on "The Mike Douglas Show" 40 years ago.
Afterward, at Gossy Lounge, Newton did duck into Cleopatra's Barge, a show delayed for about 30 minutes so he could make his way over from his own show at Tropicana. He was with his wife, Kathleen, sister-in-law Tricia McCrone, a few friends and esteemed security man "Big John" Fenner. Goss introduced him from the audience a couple of numbers in, and even invited him up to sing, "Luck Be a Lady Tonight." Newton said thanks but no, staying not only for the performance but for a post-show drink with Gossy and Caesars President Gary Selesner.
Otherwise, it is business as usual for the Newtons, for now. Kathleen Newton contends the March 20 toss-and-run version of events from the attempted delivery of legal documents from a representative of Bruton Smith (attempting to force action in a Casa de Shenandoah foreclosure suit against Newton) is backed by Tropicana surveillance video. The family's feeling is Newton has not, in fact, been formally served with any papers related to that case.
As it is, Newton is entertaining an out-of-Vegas project for when his show closes April 24. There has never been serious talk to extend the run for "Once Before I Go" beyond that date, as the hotel plans to gut and renovate Tiffany Theatre beginning in May to morph the venue from a traditional showroom design to a more modern, expanded, theater similar to Luxor Theater. If form holds, expect the new show at Tiffany Theatre to fall into the South Beach theme that owner Alex Yemenidjian and president Tom McCartney are hammering out this spring and summer. And if Newton's post-Tropicana plans are realized, it would be a new frontier for him and a way to introduce his uniquely fascinating life story to a wider audience.
NBT makes it a weekend
Still waiting for final numbers, but Nevada Ballet Theatre's "Brave New World" drew solid audiences to Ham Hall on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, 900 for the night performance and about 1,100 for the matinee, thanks to a strong walk-up sale. Very rangy performance, mixing abstract dance (Thaddeus Davis' "An Incandescent Start"), traditional ballet (Gail Gilbert's "Song of the Nightingale") and even a piece inspired by Tango (NBT Artistic Director James Canfield's "Cyclical Night"). I liked the latter the most. Who doesn't like a good Tango? Attending the matinee performance were three-week newlyweds Michael and Jennifer Cornthwaite of Downtown Cocktail Room and Emergency Arts fame, "Phantom — Las Vegas Spectacular" Music Director Wayne Green, and even a Dirty Virgin from Goss' show, Tala McDonnough (she was once a member of Boulder Ballet in Colorado).
The best moment from Saturday's Richie performance, at least for me, was the heavily funk-ified "Brick House," dating to his days from the Commodores. Richie has made a fortune as a soloist, cranking out beautiful ballads, but borrowing from his days with the famed R&B band was a great move. ... Great line from Lionel: "You think rock and roll is dangerous, try being a parent! I survived Nicole Richie!" ... A guy who had a really entertaining day Saturday was CNN correspondent Ed Henry: Tea Party in Searchight during the day, drinks at Dos Caminos with former KLAS Channel 8 reporter and current NBC news freelancer Edward Lawrence, ending (I think) at the Goss show, where he met Newton and Goss. ... Weird moment from the Goss show: An over-imbibed couple who was loving Vegas a little too much took to the dance floor for a spin, just feet in front of Goss and between Newton's and Selesner's seats. Just as you thought, "I hope they don't fall," splat! Dancers down! At least they didn't spill into the moat. They returned later, as Goss sang his original ode to the city, "Lovely Las Vegas," and seemed about to tumble once more as Goss laughed and sang, "They're falling for Las Vegas!" They finally did lose their balance again, but were upright as security showed them the way to the exit. ... You know who else was at Goss? Bubbles! That's Robert Ubriaco, celebrity greeter at Rao's at Caesars. ... Dee Snider was back, again, at the Las Vegas Hilton this weekend, teaming with Lita Ford in a four-wall production at Hilton Theater. If it seems Snider has been nearly a resident performer at the Hilton, that's because he has been trying various formats and productions at the Hilton Theater over the past 18 months or so. There was the ill-fated "Monster Circus" last year, and the "Twisted Christmas" holiday performance during the holiday season. Snider is buddies with Hilton Executive Vice President Ken Ciancimino, keeping that entertainment relationship moving forward. ... Belated happy birthday, No. 40, to Adam Steck, whose SPI Entertainment produces "Human Nature," "Thunder from Down Under," Louie Anderson, Amazing Johnathan, "American Storm" and "The Mentalist." He kicked it up Saturday night at The Artisan. ... Sighting at King's Fish House at The District on Sunday night: "Pawn Stars" fixture Corey Harrison. Shooting for Season 2 of the History Channel phenomenon, which centers on Gold & Silver Pawn Shop on Las Vegas Boulevard north of Charleston, begins today. ... Major changes in operations coming up at the old Steve Wyrick Theater at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood. Expect entertainment to remain the anchor of that spot, we safely report. The big question is how, or even if, Wyrick factors into those plans. He closed the theater, locked it up as he departed, back in December and was sued by performers as a result.
Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at twitter.com/JohnnyKats.