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Entertainers staging a very Vegas telethon

Updated October 23, 2020 - 3:46 pm

Keith Thompson says he needs to dust it off. By that, he means the skill set he’s applied to hosting and producing the Composers Showcase of Las Vegas.

“I’m a little overwhelmed, because it’s been since March that we’ve done one of these live,” Thompson says, referring to TCS’s upcoming “On With the Show” all-star benefit telethon. “It’s been awhile since we’ve used our instincts, our triggers, the skills to organize and put on a show. But that being said, we’ve all missed it so badly. We’ve missed doing it live.”

The four-day, telethon-style event runs from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday and 6 p.m. to midnight Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The live performances of original material will be performed on a closed set at AV Vegas production facility.

The shows are available by visiting thecomposersshowcase.com website, which connects to YouTube and Twitch links. The donation portal is there, too. Use it. The show is a benefit for the Composers Showcase Entertainment Community Relief Fund and is co-produced by WE/EC Las Vegas and PK Productions, who are also generating funds and support for out-of-work entertainment professionals in Las Vegas.

“We will be performing, and not just showing videos,” Thompson says. “That’s the point, to show we can do this live while being responsible. We are majorly attentive to health and safety; we will follow it all to the letter.”

Since May 2006, the Composers Showcase of Las Vegas has served as a platform for local artists to present original music for an audience full of their peers. The most recent live show at Myron’s Cabaret Jazz was in March.

As if making up for lost time, the shows are loaded with Las Vegas singers, songwriters, musicians and even dancers and an occasional magician. The lineup is subject to change, of course. But expect to see such Vegas favorites as Dennis Blair, Travis Cloer, Vita Corimbi Drew, Daniel Emmet, Uli Geissendoerfer, Jamie Hosmer, Chadwick Johnson, Michael Peterson, Sarah Hester Ross, Michael Shapiro, Savannah Smith, Janien Valentine, Steve Weiss, Chloe Watson, Robby Wingfield, Eric Jordan Young, Philip Fortenberry, The Lique Band, Hot Club Las Vegas, with special guest appearances by Carly Thomas Smith, Tony Vincent and Vintage Trouble’s Ty Taylor, whom Vegas audiences might remember from their star turns in Queen’s “We Will Rock You” at Paris Theater.

And that’s just the first night. From Saturday through Monday, Enoch Augustus Scott, Hester Ross and Dru-Hays will step in for Thompson as host. Scheduled performers include Skye D. Miles, Cian Coey, Anne Martinez and Red Penny Arcade, The Bronx Wanderers, The Moonshiners, Han Valen, Lily Arce, Dave Perrico’s Pop Soul, The Stony Curtis Band, Soul Juice Band, Tinnitus, UberSchall, Damaged Savage, Tekkno Flamenko, Elvis Lederer, Kenny Davidsen, Andrew Freeman, Tryiq Johnson, Murray Sawchuck with Dani Elizabeth, Doug “Lefty” Leferovich, David Goldrake, Broadway in the Hood, April Leopardy, Michael Radiff, Frank Lawson, Cassie Sttone with Sidewinder Jason Walker, Jimmie Romero, Tyriq Johnson, Pilita Danesh’s Positively Arts Foundation, and Jennifer Romas with the cast of “Sexxy.”

The Composers Showcase has evolved from an informal, dinner cabaret show at the since-closed Suede Restaurant 14 years ago to a pillar of support in the Las Vegas community. It is now an active 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that has raised $65,000 since the pandemic shut down entertainment in March. More than 100 Vegas performing artists and stage technicians who applied for assistance have received financial aid from the relief fund.

“We are giving support, and it’s needed now more than ever,” Thompson says. “But this is not just bringing awareness to the relief fund, but a way to bring back live entertainment. That is where we live.”

Area15 counts in

Rocket Fizz pop and candy shop opens Halloween weekend at Area15, the latest amenity planned for the immersive art, event and entertainment annex. Museum Fiasco is online beginning Nov. 13. The museum takes over the mezzanine level of the venue and opens with “Cluster,” an installation by Playmodes Studio that will run through 2022.

The large-scale, audio-visual experience mixes lights and music that strobe to change the look of the room as they tell a story. It’s described by officials as “a 360-degree experience that explores the chaotic feeling of being inside the kernel of a glitchy computer processor.” I mean, who hasn’t been there?

And in January, Five Iron Golf is scheduled to open. This is a 6,200-square-foot space that will include eight simulators, a putting green, a full bar, widescreen TVs and shuffleboard. I’ll be there, if only to caddy for Chris Wink.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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