Las Vegas Backstage Talk

Gary Owen, Jack Jones

Nov. 12, 2015

 Audio of interviews are posted below (Scroll down)

Gary Owen #1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comedian Gary Owen returns on Las Vegas Backstage Talk radio show with Comedian Michele LaFong.  He will bring his fearless and entertaining stand-up comedy act to The Orleans Showroom Nov. 13 and 14.

Actor/comedian Gary Owen is one of the stars of the Screen Gems comedy “Think Like A Man Too” and the original film “Think Like A Man,” both opening at #1 at the box office. He will soon begin filming a reality show for BET following his family life. He was seen last year in the Universal comedy “Ride Along” with Ice Cube and Kevin Hart and his hit Showtime special, “I Agree With Myself,” is still airing on the network. Gary got his start in stand-up comedy when he was stationed in San Diego – he served in the Navy for six years and was named “Funniest Serviceman in America.” Over the years, he has been embraced by African-American audiences with his take on being in a biracial marriage and as the father of three kids. In fact, Ebony magazine recently proclaimed Gary “Black America’s Favorite White Comedian.”

Jack Jones

Jack Jones (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Legendary singer Jack Jones, returns on LV Backstage Talk radio show with Comedian Michele LaFong to promote his new CD.  Jones’ new album, Seriously Frank, celebrates the life of a man who he not only deeply admired but developed a close and long-standing friendship. December 12 marks the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of Francis Albert Sinatra. Seriously Frank is a collection of songs selected by Jones that he feels accurately reflects the life, times and career of Frank Sinatra. The album features a 22-piece band with arrangements by the great Patrick Williams, one of the great arrangers of our time.

Throughout his career, Jones collected two Grammy Awards and five Grammy nominations. Jones is widely known for his recordings of “Wives and Lovers” and “Lollipops and Roses”. From his peers, such compliments as “A Singer’s Singer” and “He pours his heart into every song – there is an obvious joy in every performance” are commonplace. Just before he retired, Sinatra publicly said, “Jack Jones is the next major singer in show business.” Frank Sinatra, Jr. and his dad gave Jones two of the greatest compliments of his life. “One of the major singers of our time,” said Frank Sinatra. “He has the best voice, and he has made the best use of that voice… Jack has always been an excellent singer and is probably the best of all of us,” said Frank Sinatra, Jr.

“The creation of this album has been near and dear to my heart as Frank Sinatra was not only a friend, but a mentor and true inspiration,” said Jack Jones. “I am honored to be performing at the Las Vegas Academy Gala where I can hopefully inspire the next generation of entertainers.”

Seriously Frank is available in iTunes for digital downloads and at jackjonesmusic.com for traditional CD media. For more information please visit www.JackJones.org.

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Dec. Las Vegas Backstage Talk column

by Michele LaFong

Las Vegas Backstage Talk syndicated column in Casino Player Magazine and Gaming Today.

G.T. 11-25-14Layout 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dec. LVBST column 2014

It was obvious from the over 1400 people that turned out for The Next Generation show at The M Casino last month that this multi-media production show concept starring sons and daughters of show-biz legends backed by a big band shows promise of being a winner if built upon correctly, the casting played with and is executed a little more creatively. Since this was a first-time effort by Producer Patty Asher, I’m sure many lessons were learned, and adjustments will be made as with any new first time production. The order for the line-up of the evening went as follows: Lena Prima, daughter of Louis Prima, Steve March Torme, son of Mel Torme, Ricci Martin, son of Dean Martin, and Lorna Luft, daughter of Judy Garland. Anthony Lewis, son of Jerry Lewis was cast as the Master of Ceremonies, and this could not have surprised me more because several months ago when Anthony Lewis guested live in-studio on Las Vegas Backstage Talk, he had made it quite clear then that he was strictly a “behind the scenes production guy,” and had zero aspirations of being a performer or being in front of the camera, or crowd…and that’s still the impression that he left even after watching him host this show.

A very crucial yet common mistake that many producers make is in thinking that anyone can emcee an event if the line-up is good… “All they have to do is introduce the acts.” This cannot be less true. The Last Comic Standing show at The Aliante Casino made this same mistake in having the road manager for Last Comic Standing’s road shows emcee their show of headliners last September.
The master of ceremonies makes the first impression of the evening’s presentation and is responsible for setting the tone, warming-up the crowd, establishing a rapport with the audience, and taking charge of the pacing of the show. This means that they need to have the skill and ability to ad-lib comfortably and tune-in to what the audience needs and is experiencing…all of which requires a certain amount of comfort and confidence on-stage, good timing, experience, artfulness, preparation, and a sense of humor. And that’s just for starters. Hence the “master” in the title- Master of Ceremonies which was obviously extremely overlooked or misunderstood in Patty’s casting of her husband, Anthony Lewis in the MC role in which he appeared uncomfortable and unprepared for when he hit the stage and immediately started reading the show introduction off a card. This not only set the wrong tone to the packed pavilion right off the bat, but also made it difficult for his fellow co-stars to build any kind of momentum when one by one they were thrown to an un-warmed up, now skeptical crowd. A much better and obvious choice for the emcee position would have been veteran performer Steve March-Torme, who comes off warm and inviting and connects well with audiences with humor and ease. Comedian Sandy Hackett, son of Buddy Hackett, would have also been another good choice as he specializes and has a passion for emceeing, and should be considered for future shows. Adding a comedian to this line-up would also add a little more variety to the mix. Desi Arnaz Jr., and sister, Lucy Arnez are also other stars worth pursuing for future shows, and I can only imagine the footage and creativity that they could bring to this type of production.

The beauty of this show concept is that the cast can be interchangeable, and with the help of the stars’ respective rare personal footage integrated on the large video screens, I believe this show can have broad national and international appeal. In future productions, I would hope to see more moving personal stories integrated into the artists’ sets, father/son/ daughter duets, (like the “Unforgettable” duet with Nat King Cole and daughter Natalie,) some running gags, and for the finale… all the artists on-stage singing and interacting together with a close that allows them to shine individually as well as together to a carefully picked song with lyrics that are relevant and capture the spirit of The Next Generation. In the meantime unless Anthony Lewis makes the decision that he would like to be in front of an audience and is willing to commit to putting the time into working out material and to getting experience on different stages, I’m sure with his extensive background in production he can contribute much more behind the scenes than in front of the audience while still utilizing his name in the credits.

Television talk show Host Wendy Williams is another one that decided to step out of her comfort zone and try stand-up comedy as she announced on her Talk show several months ago. At that time, her intent was to go to small clubs and try out material but before she could even do that she was invited by The Venetian to make her comedy debut on their weekend female comedy series Lipshtick. I finally went to see Wendy’s show which was sold-out for the second time. I loved that she had her comedy coach Luenell open for her as she is simply a laugh-riot. I think Wendy is on the right track with her story-telling style and I’m sure will develop many more needed punchlines and running-gags as she matures in her comedy, and very strongly prefer her to stay away from raw low-level comedy or bathroom humor, as it just doesn’t seem to fit with her already established persona. She is passed that and doesn’t need to go there. I would leave that very blue humor to Luenell, as she pulls it off quite masterfully.

One never knows what to expect on a live show. Last month we aired Singer Jack Jones’ interview and have a short video clip posted on casinocenter.com of Jack in-studio taking a cell phone call while in the middle of a live radio interview!
Singer Jack Jones takes personal cell phone call on live radio

My picks: Hank Williams Junior, Golden Nugget, December 4- 6, Heart, Mandalay Bay, December 5-7, Train, Better Than Ezra, Matt Nathanson, Hard Rock Hotel, December 5, Amy Schumer, Cosmopolitan, December 6, Merle Haggard, Golden Nugget, December 7 & 8, Olivia Newton John, Flamingo, December 9-13, December 30-January 3, Alabama, Golden Nugget, December 11 & 12th, The Shirelles, M casino, December 13, Tears For Fears, Palms, December 13, Three Dog Night, Eastside cannery, December 13, Tony Orlando Christmas show, South point, December 19- 21, Michael McDonald, Eastside Cannery, December 20, Jerry Seinfeld, Caesar’s Palace, December 26 & 27, Chris D’Elia, Mirage, December 27, Joe McHale, Mirage, December 29 & 30, Maroon 5, Mandalay Bay, December 30 and 31, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, The Cosmopolitan, Dec. 31

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Kevin Nealon, Jack Jones

Nov. 13, 2014 6pm-7pm PST 1230AM in LV & Web

 Audio of interviews posted below (Scroll down)

Comedian/Actor/SNL Alumni-Kevin Nealon and Singer Jack Jones guests on Las Vegas Backstage Talk radio show with Comedian Michele LaFong.

Kevin is best known for his nine-year stint as a cast member of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” and has received critical acclaim for his role in the current Showtime series “Weeds.”

As one of the longest running cast members on “SNL” (1986-1995), Nealon created some of the show’s most memorable characters, including “The Subliminal Man” and “Hans and Franz.”  He was also well-known for his recurring role as an anchor on “Weekend Update.” In 1988, he earned an Emmy Award® nomination as part of the “SNL” writing team.

In 2008, Nealon released his first book, “Yes, You’re Pregnant, But What About Me?” – a comical look at the male perspective of pregnancy.

More about Kevin Nealon here–>

Singer – Jack Jones

Jack Jones is live in-studio with Comedian Michele LaFong.

With a disarming smile, an effortlessly engaging wit and a vocal style that stands alone, Jack Jones is one of the greatest singers ranking with the legendary Mel Tormé, Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra and Vic Damone. A true Singers’ Singer. A double Grammy winner, Jack performs around the globe to sold-out audiences in venues ranging from Jazz clubs to the London Palladium. Whether he performs with his trio or full Symphony orchestra, his musical perfection and vocal passion unfailingly illustrate why he stands with the luminaries. From the thematic threads of his shows to his ability to make the largest halls intimate, Jack Jones is the very definition of a complete and total entertainer. The New York Times raves, “he is arguably the most technically accomplished male pop singer…” . There is only one Jack Jones.  I love that he was the one that sang the Boat.”

More about Jack Jones here–>

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Show-biz Legend Steve Rossi

June 26, 2013- 6-7pm PST 1230AM in LV & The Web

 Audio of interviews posted below (Scroll down)

Steve Rossi: May 25, 1932 – June 22, 2014

Show-biz Legend Steve Rossi was a frequent favorite, in-studio guest on Las Vegas Backstage Talk Radio Show with Comedian Michele LaFong on 1230am in Las Vegas and The Web.

In one of his first interviews Steve shared his many amazing experiences, lessons, and stories in his fifty-five year career in show business covering everything from what it was like what to room with Howard Stern many years ago when he was managing the frequently fired “Shock Jock,” to the real reason he and Marty Allen couldn’t get back together for even one TV Special last year that offered over a million plus dollars.

Steve Rossi was half of the world famous comedy team of Allen and Rossi. At the age of six he appeared in ‘Going My Way’ with Bing Crosby, ‘The Johnson Story’ and over thirty movies. At the age of 16, Steve received a scholarship to The University of Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles and received a BA in communication, arts and theatre and in Latin and Greek. In 1954 Steve co-starred with Mae West in her sold out concerts all over America.

Steve teamed up with Marty Allen in 1957 and soon became America’s #1 comedy team. They Appeared in over 7000 television shows including frequent appearances on the ‘Ed Sullivan Show’, and hold dubious honor of having to go on stage right after the Beatles created pandemonium on the show. They also guest starred on Perry Como, Dean Martin, Dinah Shore, Merv Griffin, Mike Douglas and the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Allen and Rossi were also regular guest stars on ‘What’s My Line, Hollywood Squares, Password and numerous other game shows.

Allen and Rossi starred in several Paramount films, most notably ‘The Last of the Secret Agents’ with the guest stars Nancy Sinatra and Ed Sullivan.

Steve also produced and starred in ‘The 25th Anniversary Allen and Rossi Special’ with guest stars Engelbert Humperdinck, Jerry Lewis, Sammy Davis Jr., Don Rickles, Phyllis Diller, Redd Foxx, Martin Sheen, Ernie Borgnine, Rich Little, Jack Jones and Tony Orlando. Steve has produced 11 comedy albums and eight singing albums on such labels as RCA and Columbia. He sold 2 million copies of his hit record “More”, which was nominated for an Academy Award.

Steve Rossi also wrote and produced “Jimmy Stewart & Friends” starring Rich Little that was appearing at The Las Vegas Hotel.

On May 20th 2009, Steve Rossi was inducted into Show Business Legends hall of fame at the Tropicana hotel in Las Vegas.

At the end of his life Steve was diagnosed with cancer which had spread to several areas of his body. Due to his age and weakened condition there were no treatment options available. Steve reached the brave decision with the support of his wife, family, and friends to enter hospice care. He lived only 10 days after his diagnosis.

From: Mr. Rossi’s Personal Assistant, Christine Kramar:

Please join us as for a memorial service for Mr. Steve Rossi. This event will be open to the public. Steve’s life will be celebrated with his personal Priest Father Ron at St. Joseph Husband of Mary Catholic Church. Signing up for a ticket does help the organizers of this event prepare for how many people will be attending, however we will not shut out…Share this event on Facebook
> and Twitter
> Event Details:
> ——————————
>
> Celebration of the Life of Steve Rossi Please join us as for a
> memorial service for Mr. Steve Rossi. This event will be open to the public.
> Steve’s life will be celebrated with his personal Priest Father Ron at
> St. Joseph Husband of Mary Catholic Church. Signing up for a ticket does help the organizers of this event prepare for how many people will be attending, however we will not shut out friends or fans who do not have a ticket. The tickets are a way for us to communicate to the church and the cemetery how many people to expect. It also gives us your email address to update you immediately should anything change regarding his services.
> Event: Memorial Celebration for Steve Rossi
> Date: Friday, June 27, 2014 from 1:00 PM to 5:30 PM (PDT)
> Location: St. Joseph Husband of Mary Catholic
> Church 7260 W Sahara Ave. Las Vegas,
> NV 89117

> Schedule of Events
> 1:00 – 1:45 Visitation Presentation of memories from
> dear friends of Steve Rossi
> 1:45 – 2:00 Reflection and Prayer
> 2:00 – 3:30 Celebration of Life with Father Ron
> Steve had spoken with his Priest Father Ron about his final wishes for his service and sought a traditional Catholic service.
> 3:30 – 4:00 Travel to Graveside Service Steve’s
> final resting place is at Palm Eastern Cemetery
> 7600 S Eastern Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89123 (702)
> 464-8500
> 4:00 Graveside Service
>
> Due to limited financial resources the family will be unable to host a
> reception after the graveside service. In the near future there will
> be a benefit to help support Mr. Rossi’s widow and offset his final expenses. Donations in lieu of flowers toward his final expenses may be made through the funeral home Kraft Sussman at (702) 485-6500 Donations are accepted through this website as well.
> Please direct further questions about this event to:
> LegendarySteveRossi@gmail.com or call (702) 606-2618. Due to the volume of calls your message will be answered most quickly via email or text.

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LeAnn Rimes, Steve Rossi

May 8, 2014 6pm-7pm PST 1230AM in LV & The Web

Audio of interviews posted below (Scroll down)

LeAnn-Rimes-Approved

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Country music superstar LeAnn Rimes and Steve Rossi guest on Las Vegas Backstage Talk with Comedian Michele LaFong.

Rimes made her introduction into country music in 1996 with her debut album “Blue,” which soared to number one on the Top Country Albums chart and was certified multi-platinum in sales by the Recording Industry Association of America. Throughout her career, Rimes has sold more than 40 million albums, won two Grammy® Awards, three Academy of Country Music Awards™ and 12 Billboard Music Awards. Rimes received the honor of being the youngest recipient of a Grammy®, and was also the first country recording artist to win in the “Best New Artist” category.

Rimes has placed 42 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, 13 of which are top-10 hits, and has scored several hit singles in her career, including “Can’t Fight the Moonlight” which went #1 in 11 countries, and “How Do I Live,” which is the second longest charting song ever on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Having released more than ten studio albums, three compilation albums and two greatest hits albums in her distinguished career, Rimes recently released her newest album titled “Spitfire,” in the spring of 2013.

In addition to her music career, Rimes is as an accomplished actress and author. She made her official film debut in 2000 for “Coyote Ugly,” providing the singing voice for Piper Perabo’s character Violet Sanford and making a cameo appearance towards the end of the film. Later, Rimes starred in the 2009 made-for-TV movie, “Northern Lights.” Rimes has also written four books— two novels and two children’s books, the most recent titled “What I Cannot Change.”

Show-Biz Legend Steve Rossi

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Steve Rossi guests in-studio on Las Vegas backstage Talk radio show with Comedian Michele LaFong.

He is half of the world famous comedy team of Allen and Rossi. At the age of six he appeared in ‘Going My Way’ with Bing Crosby, ‘The Johnson Story’ and over thirty movies. At the age of 16, Steve received a scholarship to The University of Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles and received a BA in communication, arts and theatre and in Latin and Greek. In 1954 Steve co-starred with Mae West in her sold out concerts all over America.

Steve teamed up with Marty Allen in 1957 and soon became America’s #1 comedy team. They Appeared in over 7000 television shows including frequent apperances on the ‘Ed Sullivan Show’, and hold dubious honor of having to go on stage right after the Beatles created pandemonium on the show. They also guest starred on Perry Cumo, Dean Martin, Dinah Shore, Merv Griffin, Mike Dougas and the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Allen and Rossi were also regular guest stars on ‘What’s My Line, Hollywood Squares, Password and numerous other game shows.

Allen and Rossi starred in several Paramount films, most notably ‘The Last of the Secret Agents’ with the guest stars Nancy Sinatra and Ed Sullivan.

Steve also produced and starred in ‘The 25th Anniversary Allen and Rossi Special’ with guest stars Engelbert Humperdinck, Jerry Lewis, Sammy Davis Jr., Don Rickles, Phyllis Diller, Redd Foxx, Martin Sheen, Ernie Borgnine, Rich Little, Jack Jones and Tony Orlando. Steve has produced 11 comedy albums and eight singing albums on such lables as RCA and Coumbia. He sold 2 million copies of his hit record “More”, which was nominated for an Academy Award.

Steve Rossi also wrote and produced “Jimmy Stewart & Friends” starring Rich Little currently appearing at The Las Vegas Hotel.

On May 20th 2009, steve Rossi was inducted into Show Business Legends hall of fame at the Tropicana hotel in Las Vegas. Steve in celebrating his 55th year in show business and Is young enough to look forward to the next 55 years.

More about Steve Rossi here–>

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