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October 22, 2014

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Reva Rice keeps bearings with performance on ‘quads’; ‘Fantasy’ adjusting its top; Celine checks in with Veronic

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Justin M. Bowen

Jamie Preston, Reva Rice, Trina Johnson-Finn on the opening of “Vegas! The Show” at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood.

Know this about Reva Rice:

“I like to get my skate on.”

Her words, not mine.

Rice is currently a lead vocalist and performer in “Vegas! The Show,” which just celebrated three years of memory-lane traipsing at Saxe Theater. But on Sunday afternoon, during the Golden Rainbow “Ribbon of Life” charity show, Rice is slipping on a pair of roller skates to perform the number “Roller Skate Rag” from the musical “Funny Girl.”

“I skate whenever I can,” Rice says. “I have my quads, my in-lines. I have a pair of prototypes that skiers use that allow me to skate over desert terrain.”

Rice knows what it’s like to wheel around a Vegas stage. She starred as Pearl in Andrew Lloyd Webber's “Starlight Express” at the Las Vegas Hilton from 1993-97, a show remembered as prompting the theater overhaul from the days Elvis headlined at the hotel.

“I know some people who are serious roller skaters,” Rice said. “I sometimes go to a place in Cerritos, (Calif.), called Skate Depot, where they have an adult skate on Thursdays. It’s for people 25, and over and it plays old-school music from the ’80s and ’90s.”

Sounds like a road trip waiting to happen.

Rice also is performing the slapstick “I’d Rather Be Blue” number in Sunday’s show, which starts at 1 p.m. at Reynolds Hall. As usual, the show is packed with a wide assortment of talent famous in and out of Vegas. The co-headliners are Latin artist Jon Secada and 2009 “America’s Got Talent" champion Michael Grimm, who has returned to the Las Vegas small-venue rotation he favored before auditioning for “AGT.” Also on the bill for a show titled “Tributes,” which indicates there will be tributes to many shows past and present, are Clint Holmes, Josh Strickland, George Wallace, Frankie Moreno, Mo5aic, the Las Vegas Tenors, The Phat Pack and Celebrity City Chorus, members of Human Nature, the cast of “Jubilee!” and more members of “Vegas! The Show.”

It’s a long-running show but also one of the grooviest events in VegasVille. “Ribbon of Life” has bounced around, from Jubilee Theater to the L.V. Hilton to The Smith Center for the first time a year ago. That show drew a record-setting crowd of 1,630 and took in an all-time high of more than $200,000 for the HIV/AIDS nonprofit organization. Tickets start at $38 and are available at The Smith Center website.

Fantasy With Lorena Peril

Rehearsals at Fantasy featuring new lead singer Lorena Peril at the Luxor on July 29, 2010. Launch slideshow »

• By the fall, Lorena Peril’s run in “Fantasy” at the Luxor will be gone like, well, greased lighting. She’s to play Sandy in a touring production of “Grease.” She and her hubby (and Pleasant Valley High School of Chico, Calif., grad) Ray Jon Narbaitz are both in the show, as Ray Jon is portraying Vince Fontaine. Peril’s run in “Fantasy” started in August 2010 when she replaced Angelica Bridges as the show’s singer (Bridges stepped in for the singer with the longest tenure in the show, Stephanie Dianna Sanchez, who was with the production for nine years).

Show producer Anita Mann is now on the hunt for a new vocalist, who will take over as part of updates to the show that will be in place by early October. One candidate is already in the show: Maren Wade, formerly of the ill-fated production “iCandy” at Saxe Theater, is subbing for Peril now. But it is a torrid time for great female vocalists in the city; I can’t recall an era when there were so many top-level singers in Las Vegas. Mann is facing an enviable dilemma: finding which one is the right fit for her show. She struck gold with Peril, and there’s no doubt she will be missed. But the search, officially, is on to find the show’s next singer.

And on that topic …

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Veronic has a repertoire of 50 voices, among them Shania Twain, Cher, Dolly Parton, Madonna, Adele, Christina Aguilera, Tina Turner and Celine Dion. Her debut show opens at Bally's on Thursday, June 20, 2013.

• Celine Dion and Rene Angelil have thrown some spondulicks behind the “Voices” show starring Veronic DiCaire at Bally’s. Thus, the support of Dion and Angelil is more than a tacit endorsement of a woman who has opened for Celine on Celine’s most recent world tour. Dion and Angelil are partners with DiCaire and her husband, Remon Boulerice. AEG Live (which produces and promotes Celine’s show at The Colosseum) has a joint partnership with those two couples, and all share in whatever money is to be made from the show.

The show premiered Thursday night in Jubilee Theater. The disembodied voice Veronic speaks to at the beginning and end of the show is that of “Rock of Ages” star Mark Shunock. It used to be said that the sun never sets on the British Empire. Now the sun never sets on Shunock, at least in VegasVille. Get to know him. There is no other choice.

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Jerry Lewis promotes his new film "Max Rose" at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.

• The MDA has announced a partnership with ABC for its upcoming fundraising broadcast and has managed to hit the keys that add up to “Jerry Lewis” when asked for comment. The MDA fundraiser will be broadcast exclusively on ABC (KTNV Channel 13 in Vegas) at 9 p.m. Sept. 1. The show is to last for two hours. Host and performers are still being assembled, and the show will again be produced by Rac Clark, most recently in town for the American Country Music Awards telecast.

When asked if Lewis would be at all honored in the spectacle, MDA publicist Roxan Olivas said in a statement: “Jerry Lewis is part of the rich tradition and history of this telethon. MDA is forever grateful for the time and the support he devoted to MDA for more than 50 years.”

And, no, there are no plans to include him in this year’s show.

And on the topic of ABC …

• On a June 21 appearance on KTNV’s live “Action News at Midday” show, co-host Casey Smith joked about all the offensive tattoos inked on the limbs of his guest, Vinyl headliner and “Jackass” star Steve-O. One of those tattoos is too obscene to be broadcast on network TV, and Steve-O was given a jacket to wear during his interview with Tom Green (the nature of the tattoo is male and sexual).

“Why would you get a tattoo like that?” Smith asked.

“It’s actually one of many offensive tattoos I have,” Steve-O responded, accurately, his ink concealed under someone else's jacket. His very being is designed to both amuse and offend.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at Twitter.com/JohnnyKats. Also, follow “Kats With the Dish” at Twitter.com/KatsWiththeDish.

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