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December 22, 2014

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Holly Madison looks to the Skye to cast her show; Trop makes room (and time) for ‘Mamma Mia!’

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Tom Donoghue / DonoghuePhotography.com

Holly Madison arrives at the 2014 Fighters Only World Mixed Martial Arts Awards on Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, at the Venetian.

The most curious sighting of the weekend in VegasVille was an easy call: Jimmy Osmond at the Clint Holmes show at Smith Center’s Cabaret Jazz. This was on Sunday afternoon, as J-Oz and his crew were seated at the table just behind that of Kelly Clinton-Holmes.

Clinton-Holmes is evidently an ardent fan of Jimmy Osmond. Her husband revealed as much, as he mimed her waving her arms around with a look of wide-eyed glee upon meeting Osmond this weekend.

Why would Jimmy Osmond be at a Clint Holmes show at Cabaret Jazz? No one is saying, officially. He likes Clint’s performance, and Holmes’ “Stop This Train” was indeed a smart, stylish and confident adaptation of Holmes’ biography and musical influences.

All I can say is the last time I saw Jimmy Osmond in Vegas was in August 2012 when he was producing a PBS special for Jerry Lewis. He does that sort of work, y’know.

Elsewhere, we rake the scene:

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Skye Dee Miles and the dancers from "Divas" perform during the Showbiz Roast of Frank Marino inside the theater at the Stratosphere, Friday Oct 4, 2013. Proceeds from the event go toward Make-a-Wish of Southern Nevada.

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Skye Dee Miles watches a performance during "Free Society" a show presented by Black Box Theater at the Artisan in Las Vegas after midnight on Thursday, May 31, 2012.

• On the event of Skye Dee Miles’ media party Friday for her “Tropicana Nights” shows at Tropicana Lounge, Holly Madison turned up in the company of an individual crucial to the success of her new burlesque-themed show and venue partnership at Mandalay Bay.

As her new artistic director, Madison has thrown the lasso around Gene Lubas, formerly of “Viva Elvis” at Aria. Lubas held that title in the Cirque du Soleil partnership with Elvis Presley Enterprises. Lubas worked his tail (or, if you will, pelvis) off to make the show walk the delicate balance between Elvis biography and Cirque artistry. In the final analysis, “Viva Elvis” was a very good show, having recovered (artistically, at least) from a staggering start.

Now, a year and a half after “Viva Elvis” closed, Lubas and Madison have been seen in town scouting shows and performers. They also took in “Pin Up” at the Stratosphere last week. Madison has said she plans to open her new production in the spring. The operation is to carry a speakeasy vibe and is targeted for the old Forty Deuce space just off the escalators leading down from The Hotel to Mandalay Bay, next to the entrance of RM Seafood.

The visit by Madison and Lubas to Miles’ rip-roaring show at the Trop was not incidental. They are interested in bringing Miles, long one of Vegas’ most electrifying lounge acts and a throwback burlesque personality, into Madison’s show.

“I don’t know if Vegas was the birthplace of burlesque, but it has always had burlesque, and Skye has a great, adult-comic, tongue-in-cheek personality,” Lubas said. “She has a great voice. Given the right costumes and settings, and the right atmosphere, she would be wonderful.”

Madison, who has become a trained singer after four years of lessons and some restricted work in “Peepshow,” would make occasional appearances in the performances. And Lubas says, “It’ll be an adult nightclub with some beautiful girls shaking their bums.” This is to be an immersive, interactive show, keeping with the trend of Strip productions that blend a club scene (and even a restaurant scene, as is evident at Cosmopolitan’s Rose. Rabbit. Lie. with staged productions).

“There is nowhere in Vegas where you can go, being my age, to see a performer sing while you have a drink,” Lubas said. “We need a place for 30-,40- and 50-somethings to go and have a cocktail and have a good time and just get into another place, like you’d see in ‘Boardwalk Empire’ or ‘The Great Gatsby,’ for a while.”

And, as I note, sideways: I got to know Lubas a couple of years ago when we were on the same judging panel for the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Contest on Fremont Street. Let it be said that when you critique a couple dozen Elvis Tribute Artists, your fellow judges and you are bonded for life.

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Alex Yemenidjian, CEO of the Tropicana, and Judy Craymer, worldwide producer of "Mamma Mia!," at a press conference Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, at the Tropicana.

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Donna Sheridan, center, (played by Tina Walsh) sings during a dress rehearsal of the musical Mama Mia at the Mandalay Bay Sunday February 2, 2003. Bill Austin (Mark Leydorf), left and Sam Carmichael (Nick Cokas) are two of Donna's three former boyfriends.

• The upcoming production of “Mamma Mia!” at the Tropicana is to be a full-scale, Broadway-patterned show running 2 1/2 hours with an intermission. This is the same format under which the show was staged during its six-year run (from 2003-2009) at Mandalay Bay.

“When the Tropicana approached us, there was no conversation about cuts or anything,” producer Judy Craymer said last week during the show’s official media unveiling at the Trop. “It was always going to be the full production.”

The Tropicana Theater, which has already been renovated from its previous incarnation as ‘Les Folies Bergere” showroom, is being expanded once more for the show. Confident of its ability to play to a big room, “Mamma Mia!” is the reason for the further upgrades.

“We are expanding, and we are up to 1,199 now,” Tropicana CEO Alex Yemenidjian said. “That’s an additional 250, and they requested that.”

The show will employ 26 cast members onstage and four offstage and is still auditioning performers from Las Vegas and elsewhere. The band is six players. Tickets are $49-$135 and on sale at the hotel box office or by calling (800) 829-9034. Its much-anticipated opening night is May 8.

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Veronic Dicaire and Celine Dion arrive at the "Veronic Voices" premiere at Bally's Las Vegas on Friday, June 28, 2013.

• In an interview for an upcoming Vegas Magazine story about her protégé and friend, Bally’s headliner Veronic DiCaire, Celine Dion mapped out her long-term plans for performing and settling into domesticity.

“Hopefully I can still do (the shows at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace) for 10 years,” Dion said when asked how she sees her future shaping up. “My goal is to maybe do some movies, and maybe after that if I’m still around and still up to, you know, top shape, is to be cooking for my grandchildren. I’d like to be home and take care of my family. Do some grandmother cooking, you know?”

• Matt Goss put on a two-hour show Saturday night at the Gossy Room at Caesars Palace, and that was just the start. Afterward, the Goss-a-rator held forth at the new Caesars champagne lounge Fizz joined by a host of friends that included Fizz partner Michael Greco, Goss’s longtime confidante Robin Antin and two members of the raving girls’ band G.R.L.

This is an outfit built by Antin in the Pussycat Dolls’ model and energetically supported by Britney Spears; they were all featured on the “Smurfs 2” soundtrack. The two G.R.L. members I met were Emmalyn Estrada and Paula Van Oppen, and a new dance move was developed in this post-show fete. So be on the lookout for that.

Goss was in great spirits, excited about the upcoming release of his new album, “Life You Imagine,” an EP of which is available this week. Jason Statham and Paula Abdul checked out the show this weekend, as did the Johnny, amid a bunch of visitors from Los Angeles and many more boisterous tourists from Great Britain.

• He always manages to remind his fans in Las Vegas that he now lives in Mission Viejo, Calif., but Brody Dolyniuk remains enormously popular in this city. His Zeppelin USA tribute show at Smith Center’s Reynolds Hall on Friday night drew more than 1,600 fans to the 2,050-seat music hall. Dolyniuk has twice filled Reynolds Hall with his Symphonic Rock Show and has opened the big room to an audience that previously only saw him with Yellow Brick Road at such venues as Railhead at Boulder Station and the venue that was gutted for bingo, Ovation at Green Valley Ranch.

Dolyniuk has never sounded better than during Friday’s show, which was a light-and-sound spectacle that thrilled Dolyniuk’s fellow Led Zep fans. As always, he craftily added such artistic elements as the Bella Electric Strings, vocalist Maren Wade from “Vegas! The Show” and floating harmonica ace Joe Calitri.

As the audience roared for an encore, Dolyniuk finally strode back to center stage and said that his fellow musicians and he were out of time — but not out of music. “We’ll see you next time,” he said.

Deal.

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Mark Shunock of "Rock of Ages" at the Venetian performs during the 2014 Fighters Only World Mixed Martial Arts Awards on Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, at the Venetian.

• Mark Shunock, who has remarkably not been mentioned in this column for several consecutive days, is back with his monthly “Mondays Dark” performances on Monday (of course) at 8:30 p.m. at Vinyl at the Hard Rock Hotel. The format is the music of Queen, and we can only hope Shunock dons the one-piece Spandex outfit in his vaunted Freddie Mercury impression.

Or not.

Scheduled to perform are members of the casts of “Million Dollar Quartet,” “Rock of Ages” and “Jersey Boys,” along with “Vegas! The Show” and BBR vocalist Savannah Smith, Laugh Factory at the Trop headliner Murray Sawchuck,” Paris Las Vegas hypnotist Anthony Cools, vocalist Amanda Avila of Luxor and New York-New York, Scott Keo of “Legends in Concert” (he portrays Michael Buble), all backed by “Rock of Ages” band Arsenal. The last show drew a beyond-capacity crowd, so get there early and know that this month’s chosen charity is the Therese Center HIV Outreach. Tickets are $20; and here is one teaser: Smith is singing “Stone Cold Crazy.” So, as we say, hide behind something solid.

• The Wednesday deadline (and I use air quotes here) for the Las Vegas Wranglers to produce a Memo of Understanding to ECHL officials to notify the league it has a new venue in place has come and gone. But the team has been given some additional time to sort out its various options. Suffice to say, ECHL execs are confident that Wranglers President Billy Johnson and team owner Gary Jacobs will have a suitable facility lined up at least for 2014-15. The general message is “be patient.”

• Obscure Fact of the Week: The furry, Sgt. Pepper-influenced coat worn by Craymer at the Trop was designed by Gela Nash, the fashion designer who is married to John Taylor of Duran Duran.

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

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