Talkin' Broadway
Talkin' Broadway

The Man with 1,000 Voices

While we anxiously await the Ragtime reviews to hit the New York papers on Monday, let's take a trip across the country and take a look at a show that is a big hit in the #1 tourist destination city in the world.

He's billed as "Entertainer of the Year" on the billboards around the city of Las Vegas. It was just a few years ago that Danny Gans took his roadshow to Broadway and and had a limited run. Afterward, he continued to tour over 200 days a year, but now he has found his home in the Rio Hotel and Casino selling out night after night in their huge theater.

Initially, Gans was appearing at the Stratosphere Hotel and for twenty bucks you could see his show. However, as his popularity grew with the local and tourist population, he moved to the Rio and now the ticket price is $60.00. Now, that's a hefty increase in what is essentially the same show and even Gans spoke out against the high ticket price claiming the locals would be resistant to pay such prices and they are the ones who made him such a success.

What does Gans do that has made him so popular? Well, he has the gift to mimic just about any celebrity you have ever heard of. Think of anyone from President Clinton to Nat Cole and his vocal chords can miraculously reproduce that sound. I suppose the reason he went to Broadway was that this is a musical show, not just a comic doing monologues. He starts the show with what seemed like an endless series of snippets of songs by such singers as Smokey Robinson, Roy Orbison, Stevie Wonder, and a litany of many others. The trouble is he only whets your appetite for more. His snippets last only about 30 seconds as he keeps turning around getting a prop such as eyeglasses or a hat and goes into the next impersonation. It's endless and tiring.

I noticed a guy at the next table wearing a cowboy hat, and after Gans did his Garth Brooks imitation, he was in a frenzy and shouted with glee, "Isn't he great or what!" I sat there thinking..."Yeah, the or whats love this show!"

Surprisingly, even though I was bored to tears, Gans is quite a talented guy, it's just that the vehicle he's in is hardly Broadway type material, but it's pure Vegas, that's for sure. His Sinatra is right on and the double duet of both Natalie and Nat King cole singing "Unforgettable" was, well, unforgettable.

After awhile, I sat there wondering, "Who the hell is this guy?" Toward the end of the show, we do find out a little about him during a monologue. He then sings a couple songs in his own voice and guess what? He's damn good! With all the impersonations, I was left with a so what feeling, contrary to the thunderous audience ovation. I left thinking that Danny Gans, the man of 1,000 voices, didn't do enough of his best impersonation, and that is of himself.

Tidbits: Ragtime opens today and it should be an interesting Monday on our "All That Chat" forum as we discuss the New York reviews. Join us.

Side Show was supposed to have a press release on the future of the show, but nothing as of yet. The rumor mill has a re-opening date of April 19th in the hope of getting in the Tony race. I suppose everyone connected with the show is banging his brains around figuring what to do. As long as the sets remain in the Richard Rogers, I would think anything is possible. Surely, they have lost enough money, but to remount the show elsewhere is impossible at this point. So, the sets remain in place in the dark house. As long as there is no crunch on houses, only time will tell the fate of Side Show.

Tony committee to meet soon to discuss the eligibility of Cabaret for Tony nominations. The Kit Kat Klub, formerly the Henry Miller Theater is currently not on the list of Tony eligible houses. I don't think there will be a problem.

Joseph Molnar begins the year with his column, Sound Advice, taking a look at three C.D.'s including Floyd Collins. Christina D'Angelo will take a look at a preview of The Capeman this week.

In our efforts to expand this "zine" called Talkin' Broadway this year, we are looking for someone to write a column on London theater. That someone should have decent writing skills and be versed on the London theater scene. Ideally, that person should attend the theater on the West End. E-mail me if interested.

Let's take a brief look at today Arts & Leisure section of the New York Times. High Society, rumored to be going into the Richard Rogers, has a large full color ad announcing previews beginning March 31 at the St. James Theater. This musical is an adaptation of the play, The Philadelphia Story, and the film, High Society. You can order tickets through Tele-charge.

Linda Eder (Jekyl & Hyde) is appearing at Town Hall on Thursday, Feb. 19th for one performance. Tickets available at the box officer or TicketMaster.

For those of you in the New York area, drop by Barrymores on W. 45th on the evening of Jan. 26th when The Phantom of the Opera celebrates its 10th anniversary. We'll be having drinks and dinner from 4:45 to 6:45. Join us, or drop by to say hello. I'll be there as well as other staff members. E-mail me if you'd like to join us for dinner. If you'd like to see Phantom that night, better hurry and call Tele-Charge now as limited seating is available. The number is 800-447-7400 outside of New York, and 212-239-6200 for New Yawkers.

Wanna' talk to others about this column or anything else theatre related? Check out All That Chat

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