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April 17, 2014

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Photos: Old Vegas razzle-dazzle makes The Scintas a top act in Downtown Las Vegas


Tom Donoghue/

The Scintas’ grand opening at The D Hotel in Downtown Las Vegas on Wednesday, May 22, 2013.

The Scintas Grand Opening at The D Hotel

The Scintas' grand opening at The D Hotel in Downtown Las Vegas on Wednesday, May 22, 2013. Launch slideshow »

Even without their sister Chrissi, The Scintas scored big at Wednesday night’s grand opening of their residency show at The D Hotel in Downtown Las Vegas. Mama Scinta was there to cheer on sons Frankie and Joe, “adopted” son drummer Pete McDonnell and the newest member, singer Janien Valentine.

Janien has stepped into the place of Chrissi, who is still with only a whisper of a voice after throat problems that required major surgery. Chrissi stayed home last night and was unable to watch her brothers’ performance.

It was a nonstop blitz of music, impressions and comedy — an Old Vegas razzle-dazzle of a show big, booming and ballsy in sound, humor and attitude. Our thanks to contributing photographer Tom Donoghue for capturing all the excitement with his photo gallery.

Frankie is pounding his electronic piano one moment and sliding smoothly into a brilliant impression of Sammy Davis Jr. or Tom Jones the next. Joe is hysterical as Mick Jagger with those sexy struts and Joe Cocker’s lopsided look at the mic. Pete on drums is an ace with a small and tight backup band that is high-octane propulsion for the 75 minutes of entertainment.

Janien, like The Scintas, also hails from Buffalo, N.Y. She’s the epitome of Las Vegas lounge glamour, with a changing wardrobe of sparkling fashions long and short. She’s so adorable and infectious, we’re still singing and humming her Michael Jackson tribute the day after.

When The Scintas went on tour after stints here at The Rio and Las Vegas Hilton (now LVH), it looked as if their showroom days were ending with Chrissi’s medical issues. She’ll always be a part of the show, and it’s everybody’s hope that she’ll be well enough to return. My interview with Chrissi was posted March 25, and my candid and emotional interview with Frankie about his sister’s fight was posted April 25.

For now, Janien is keeping her spot warm, and together this new version of The Scintas is a tight and tough gang of four intent on bringing back the sparkle of Old Vegas. They’ve pulled it off against the odds and have put Downtown back on the entertainment map.

After all, it’s where Frank, Dean and Sammy used to hang — and The Scintas have conjured up all those memories of yesteryear with this updated blast from the past that’s as fun as could be. You’ll be back more than once to revel in the unfettered joy of great music, songs and laughs.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

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