Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Features and More

'Jackpot' brings Vegas glitz to Pasco's Show Palace

If there's one place Floridians love as much as they love the beach, it's Las Vegas, land of glitz and glamor and a million memories.

That may explain the popularity of the Show Palace Dinner Theatre's tributes to Vegas over the years. And why producers Nick Sessa and Tommy Mara are doing a new and updated Vegas show March 2 through April 22 they're calling JACKPOT! The All New Las Vegas Musical Revue. It's a look at the neon nexus from its beginnings to today.

"This one is elegant and improves on the ones before," said Matthew McGee, artistic director at the Show Palace, which is winding up the blockbuster musical Hairspray on Sunday. "We're doing the kind of show you don't even see in Vegas anymore," especially the first act, which is a tribute to the Rat Pack, Tom Jones, Wayne Newton, Engelbert Humperdinck and Elvis, as well as the long-legged showgirls in their tiny spangles and feathers.

Previous Vegas shows had a lot of comedy and spoofs. This one is a more serious tribute to the great names that have filled the marquees and great songs that have filled the main stages and lounges through the years.

The second act features songs by Billy Joel, like Piano Man and Only the Good Die Young; Elton John's Crocodile Rock and Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me; and Barry Manilow, like Mandy and I Write the Songs, plus a tribute to the divas, such as Celine Dion, and stars like Michael Buble'.

Lead singers are Show Palace newcomers Larry Alexander (Marius in Broadway's Les Miserables), Janie Wallace (Joseph/Dreamcoat national tour), Jack Bartholet (NYC cabaret singer) and Jennica McCleary (Bette Midler impersonator in Legends in Concert), backed by singer-dancers David Tanciar, Megan Morgan, Taavon Gamble, Kate O'Connell, Bo Price, Maiza Ornelaz, Jarvis Mardis and Lacey Vasquez.

(Ms. McCleary won't be doing her Bette Midler act, but is in negotiations to do it later at the Palace Grand, McGee said.)

Writer-director Scott Daniel brought in two choreographers, one for each act. Former Las Vegas dancer Eric Nielsen captures the feel of the vintage Vegas in the first half; Show Palace singer, dancer, actor and choreographer Andi Sperduti (Kathy Selden in Singin' in the Rain) crafts the high-energy second act that showcases the athleticism and acrobatics of today's Vegas, McGee said.

"The show is slick, pretty, with one hit after another," McGee said. "It's classy, fun, with lots of dancing. If we just had some slot machines in the back, it would be just like Vegas." Instead, patrons who buy the special souvenir drinks will get a chance to win free Show Palace/Palace Grand passes, free drinks, gift certificates and a cruise for two to the Bahamas.

"You can get the whole thing — dinner, show, winnings — without having to get on a plane," McGee said.

Comments
Hotly anticipated Ichicoro Ane is now open in St. Petersburg

Hotly anticipated Ichicoro Ane is now open in St. Petersburg

Noel Cruz seemed remarkably chill. As did his partner Kerem Koca. All around them in the Station House building in St. Petersburg, workers pounded the last nails, bartenders unpacked boxes of glassware and jewel-toned bottles of Amari, and the kitche...
Published: 12/12/17
Party like it’s Christmas in Narnia with these recipes perfect for tea time

Party like it’s Christmas in Narnia with these recipes perfect for tea time

As a kid, I always looked for doors into other worlds. I blame Narnia. In C.S. Lewis’ classic novel The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, four British children step through a magic wardrobe into Narnia, a world filled with talking animals and plenty ...
Published: 12/12/17
Golden Globe-nominated movies and when to see them in Tampa Bay

Golden Globe-nominated movies and when to see them in Tampa Bay

Guillermo Del Toro’s romantic creature feature The Shape of Water soaked up seven Golden Globes nominations Monday, kicking off another marathon awards season. The Shape of Water is nominated for best dramatic motion picture alongside Christop...
Published: 12/11/17
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Dec. 12

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Dec. 12

Petula Clark: The two-time Grammy Award-winning artist is known for hits like Downtown, I Know a Place, My Love and I Couldn’t Live Without Your Love. 2 and 7:30 p.m., Central Park Performing Arts Center, 105 Central Park Drive, Largo. $34.50-$49.50....
Published: 12/11/17
Is Gilbert Gottfried really that annoying in real life?

Is Gilbert Gottfried really that annoying in real life?

A new documentary about comedian Gilbert Gottfried reveals someone more mild-mannered than his stage persona, married with children, verging on dull. His voice doesn’t grate, dropping half its nasal quality and all of its foul-mouthed bluster....
Published: 12/11/17
Mario Batali on leave from ‘The Chew’ and restaurant empire after sexual harassment allegations

Mario Batali on leave from ‘The Chew’ and restaurant empire after sexual harassment allegations

In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein story, chef and television personality Mario Batali offered up his views on how to combat sexual harassment in the workplace for an Oct. 30 video for Fast Company."You need a workplace free of fear, that harbors an...
Published: 12/11/17
Restaurant review: Let the food and outstanding cocktails at CW’s Gin Joint transport you back to the 1920s

Restaurant review: Let the food and outstanding cocktails at CW’s Gin Joint transport you back to the 1920s

TAMPAMaybe it’s the twinkling chandeliers. All skajillion of them. Or maybe it is the rhythmic syncopation of ice cubes in shiny shakers. It could be the old-timey metal dessert cart with its silver cloches and chafing dishes, or else the chummy-but-...
Published: 12/11/17
Restaurant review: 1895 Kitchen Bar Market needs to do a lot more to stand out in downtown Tampa

Restaurant review: 1895 Kitchen Bar Market needs to do a lot more to stand out in downtown Tampa

TAMPA Just a block away from CW’s Gin Joint, the folks at Urban Juice Co. have retooled, taking the historic Franklin building, one of the city’s oldest, erected in 1895, and re-envisioning it in September as 1895 Kitchen-Bar-Market, a "...
Published: 12/11/17
Sting rocks the house with old and new hits in Florida Orchestra gala

Sting rocks the house with old and new hits in Florida Orchestra gala

ST. PETERSBURG — In some ways, the Florida Orchestra’s gala with Sting looked like other concerts of a mega-star. Most of the fans who packed the Mahaffey Theater bought their tickets the day they went on sale. They cheered and sang along at the open...
Published: 12/10/17
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of Dec. 11-17

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of Dec. 11-17

Katy Perry: The Teenage Dream songstress roars into Tampa’s Amalie Arena on Friday ($45.75-$195.75). amaliearena.com. Hanukkah: The Festival of Lights begins Tuesday, bringing fun celebrations including Hanukkah in the City at the Sundial St. Petersb...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/10/17