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Judy Collins breaks into song at Nevada Ballet Theatre gala – PHOTOS

Updated April 11, 2022 - 2:28 pm

Judy Collins sang a couple of lines from “Send In The Clowns” at Delilah at Wynn Las Vegas on Saturday night. She then said, “I’ll save the rest for later.”

“Later” was the 38th annual NBT Black and White Ball, at Encore Ballroom at Encore Las Vegas. The company celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Collins was honored as Woman of the Year for the event, which was rescheduled from Jan. 22. About 500 guests turned out, among them NBT’s co-founder Nancy Houssels, executive director Beth Barbre, and artistic director Roy Kaiser.

Collins’ acceptance speech was also an a capella performance. From behind the podium, she sang samples of “The Gypsy Roller,” “Both Sides Now,” and an audience singalong of “Amazing Grace.” She didn’t return to her classic, “Send In The Clowns.” Nevada Ballet Future Dance Scholars instead performed a piece to that number during the program.

Collins was beaming after the event during a chat in her dressing room.

“I find that something happens to an audience when they sing together. They go into a different place, they go into another sphere, and yet they’re together,” the 82-year-old recording star said. “I always find that it’s important for me to get an audience to sing together. Music can transform, it can change our political nature, it can change your psyche. Something extra-terrestrial goes on, and it was so very special to hear it all tonight.”

Saturday’s program was the first full-capacity NBT gala since Shania Twain was honored at Caesars Palace in March 2020. Larry and Camille Ruvo were honored at a slightly limited-capacity event Wynn Las Vegas last May.

Collins joined a long list of luminaries honored over the years, including the first honoree, Elaine Wynn, who was in attendance. Debbie Reynolds, Celine Dion, Marie Osmond, Bette Midler, Mitzi Gaynor, Rita Rudner, Florence Henderson, Debbie Allen, Olivia Newton-John, Vanessa Williams, Giada De Laurentiis, Rita Moreno and Twain.

Collins’ acceptance speech was also an a capella performance. From behind the podium, she sang samples of “The Gypsy Roller,” “Both Sides Now,” and an audience singalong of “Amazing Grace.” She didn’t return to her classic, “Send In The Clowns.” Nevada Ballet Future Dance Scholars instead performed a piece to that number during the program.

The Academy of Nevada Ballet Theatre Competition Team students performed “A Way Out,” Steven Goforth and Brooke Lyness performed “Light Rain Pas de Deux,” and Nevada Ballet Future Dance Scholars performed “Send In The Clowns” during the program. The David Perrico Pop Strings Orchestra/Raiders House Band furnished the live music.

NBT board member Jerry Nadal presented Collins a sculpture of a ballet dancer, created by renowned figurative artist Richard MacDonald. From the stage, Collins said, “I can’t remember when I’ve had this much fun at a gathering, ever.”

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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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