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Las Vegas Spotlight: May 2007

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Howie Mandel
(© Joseph Marzullo/Retna)
Lots of headliners are hitting the Vegas stages this month. Deal or No Deal host Howie Mandel and local legend Tom Jones will be at the MGM Grand (not together!), Ray Romano and Jay Leno (also not together) will be getting laughs at the Mirage, comedian and political commentator Bill Maher is at the Hard Rock Hotel, last year's American Idol winner Taylor Hicks plays the House of Blues, and Elton John brings his "Red Piano" show to Caesar's Palace.

But what about theater? The Producers has only been open for a few months, and already David Hasselhoff is slipping off his Roger DeBris dress and taking his final bow. Stage veteran Lee Roy Reams, who has already played the role on Broadway and on tour, steps into those big pumps on May 7, along with Broadway veteran Bill Nolte as the Nazi-loving Franz Liebkind. Meanwhile, rumors have been flying that Tony Danza could be joining the Las Vegas company soon as Max Bialystock.

The Insurgo Theater Ensemble presents Aristophanes' classic war protest comedy Lysistrata (May 4-28) at the Onyx Theater. The title character encourages all females to withhold sex from their husbands until the men finally put a stop to the Peloponnesian War. However, the Insurgo production, directed by John Beane, will be taking quite a few liberties with the ancient original, moving it to an early 20th century Eastern European setting and incorporating various styles of music and dance.

Las Vegas Little Theatre is also showcasing the lighter side of war with Mister Roberts (May 4-20), Thomas Heggan and Joshua Logan's play based on Heggan's novel about life aboard a South Pacific ship during WWII. In the original 1948 Broadway production, Henry Fonda played the title role of the junior officer who leads his fellow sailors in defying their cranky commander. In this production, Scott Ast will lead the cast of 16.

In LVLT's Fischer Black Box this month is Frozen (May 10-20), Bryony Lavery's acclaimed play about the mother of a missing child, the disturbed man who abducted and killed the child, and the killer's psychologist. This intense drama, told largely through monologues, explores the human capacity for both unthinkable violence and forgiveness. TJ Larsen directs the production, which stars Erik Amblad, Ela Rose, and Dannae Youngard.

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