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European and Las Vegas Performers Share the Stage in “Variety Live” at The Orleans Hotel & Casino

September 24, 2014 by  

Ben Stone in Variety Live
On September 14, producer Paul Stone presented Variety Live at The Orleans Hotel & Casino. This outstanding show featured top performers from Europe plus popular headliners from Las Vegas (Pictured: Singer and host Ben Stone in Variety Live – Photo credit: Ira Kuzma Photos, IraKuzmaPhotos.wordpress.com)

Paul Stone selected a fine cast of singers, acrobats, jugglers and magicians, and they delivered the best variety show I’ve seen in Las Vegas.  The European Speciality Acts included Legendary Swiss Juggler Kris Kremo, sensational Costume Change Artists Sos & Victoria, Parisien Prestidigitator Xavier Mortimer, Wolfgang Bientzle on the German Wheel and Russian Hula-Hoop Artist Yelena Larkina.  Also performing were singer and host Ben Stone, Master Magician Lance Burton, Comedy Illusionist Kevin James, American Idol star Jasmine Trias, Illusions star Jan Rouven and Hand Shadow Artist Sonny Fontana.

Cast of Variety Live at The Orleans Hotel & Casino

Cast of Variety Live at The Orleans Hotel & Casino

Photo credit: Ira Kuzma Photos, IraKuzmaPhotos.wordpress.com.

The Orleans showroom was packed with fans, VIPs and celebrities including Siegfried & Roy, Criss Angel, Mac King and Mike Hammer.

Circus impressario and magician Tihany with Siegfried and Roy

Circus impressario and magician Tihany with Siegfried and Roy

Photo credit: Sean M. Carter.

The show was a tribute to iconic circus impressario and magician Tihany, who lives in Las Vegas and celebrated his 98th birthday a couple of months ago. Variety Live also benefitted the Heaven Can Wait Animal Society in memory of magician, dancer and choreographer Joanie Spina who passed away in August.

Paul Stone said, “To have the opportunity to produce a genuine Variety Show with such outstanding world-class performers and a ‘live’ band was fantastic, and the audience reaction was terrific! We were delighted that we had such a great turnout from TIHANY’S friends and fans, particularly from the world of entertainment. It was also good to be able to support such a worthwhile charity as ‘Heaven Can Wait Animal Society’ in memory of our dear friend, Joanie Spina.”

Producer Paul Stone, American Idol star Jasmine Trias and Singer/Songwriter Ben Stone

Producer Paul Stone, American Idol star Jasmine Trias and Singer/Songwriter Ben Stone

Photo credit: Ira Kuzma Photos, IraKuzmaPhotos.wordpress.com.

Headlining and hosting the show was singing sensation from Liverpool, England, Ben Stone. This was Ben’s second appearance at The Orleans Hotel & Casino; he previously appeared on this stage in the 2009 show Britain’s Top Talent. Ben once again displayed his great singing ability and wide-ranging talent by performing popular songs by The Beatles, Michael Jackson and others. He deftly handled his hosting duties as well.

Ben Stone explained, “I grew up back stage and later on stage in shows like this over in Europe, so Variety is in my blood. The response from the audience at VARIETY LIVE was incredible and just goes to show that Variety is still very much alive in this great city.” Stone continued,”Having Las Vegas legends, Siegfried & Roy, in the audience made the night even more magical. It was an honor to pay tribute to a show business icon like TIHANY, and also Siegfried & Roy, who paved the way for us all and changed the face of entertainment in Las Vegas. Of course, we were also proud to raise money for such an important charity as ‘Heaven Can Wait Animal Society’ at the same time.”

Legendary Swiss Juggler Kris Kremo

Legendary Swiss Juggler Kris Kremo

Photo credit: Ira Kuzma Photos, IraKuzmaPhotos.wordpress.com.

The European performers captivated the audience with their mastery of acrobatics, dancing and juggling. Russian artist Yelena Larkina combined exotic dancing with dazzling Hula-Hoop tricks. World champion acrobat Wolfgang Bientzle demonstrated his command of the German Wheel as he effortlessly rode it around the stage. Quick change artists Sos & Victoria received a standing ovation for their high speed costume changes, and Swiss juggling legend Kris Kremo kept the audience on the edge of their seats as he effortlessly juggled hats, balls, boxes and other objects. The sons of Sos & Victoria, Sos Jr & Tigran were also on hand to perform their own exciting high-speed magic act.

Parisien Prestidigitator Xavier Mortimer

Parisien Prestidigitator Xavier Mortimer

Photo credit: Ira Kuzma Photos, IraKuzmaPhotos.wordpress.com.

Parisien Prestidigitator Xavier Mortimer is a principal character in Cirque Du Soleil’s “Michael Jackson ONE”. In his Variety Live appearance Xavier combined comedy and juggling, closing his segment with The Diabolo, sometimes referred to as a “Chinese Yo-Yo” – a spinning object balanced on a string attached to two hand sticks. His mastery of The Diabolo was incredible.

One of the performers I was interested in seeing again was hand-shadow expert Sonny Fontana. It’s mesmerizing to watch him create articulated animals and people with just a bright light and his two hands.  I saw Sonny perform as a solo act a couple of years ago but this time he was accompanied by an female assistant who provided a “romantic interest” for some of his shadow characters. Sonny is a true master of light and shadows.

Jan Rouvan, the star of Illusions at The Riviera Hotel & Casino, performed a funny yet dangerous effect with a big knife and two volunteers from the audience. Rouvan performs many other high-risk illusions in his Riviera show.

Master Magician Lance Burton with a young volunteer from the audience

Master Magician Lance Burton with a young volunteer from the audience

Photo credit: Ira Kuzma Photos, IraKuzmaPhotos.wordpress.com.

Master Magician Lance Burton amazed the audience and taught a young volunteer to pull coins out of thin air.  Stan Allen, the founding editor of MAGIC Magazine, performed a card trick with the help of a cute – and in Stan’s hands nearly lifelike – rabbit puppet.

American Idol star Jasmine Trias

American Idol star Jasmine Trias

Photo credit: Ira Kuzma Photos, IraKuzmaPhotos.wordpress.com.

The crowd cheered as American Idol star Jasmine Trias took the stage as they knew something special was about to happen. What a lovely woman and what an extraordinary voice! She sang several songs including breathtaking performances of the two Whitney Houston tunes that helped her become the third place finalist on Season Three of American Idol.

Ben Stone and Jasmine Trias joined forces to perform their signature duet, The Prayer, and later closed the show together before welcoming back the entire cast of Variety Live.

Ben Stone and Jasmine Trias

Ben Stone and Jasmine Trias

Photo credit: David Carter.

Jasmine Trias said, “The energy in the showroom was electric! It was so great to be part of a special variety show like this with such a talented cast, and the Las Vegas audience was amazing! I was really happy to show my support for the ‘Heaven Can Wait Animal Society’ and to pay tribute to a great man like TIHANY.”

We need more great variety shows like this in Las Vegas and I hope producer Paul Stone secures a permanent venue so we can continue enjoying them.

For more information about Heaven Can Wait Animal Society, visit: www.hcws.org

© 2014, VegasNews.com. All rights reserved.


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