Many Surprises at The Smith Center’s 5th Anniversary

Inside the Theater

Beyond celebrating The Smith Center’s first five years with heartwarming performances, our 5th Anniversary Concert offered plenty of surprises.

These included an unexpected announcement of naming rights for Cabaret Jazz, our intimate, 240-seat theater in the Boman Pavilion, in honor of Smith Center CEO and President Myron Martin.

“Your vision was not only to build a world-class performing arts center, but it had to have a world-class cabaret jazz theater,” said Dr. Keith Boman, board vice chairman, after surprising Martin on stage. “I’m so proud that the Boman Pavilion will have your name shared with mine.”

That wasn’t the only unexpected treat audiences enjoyed.

The concert — emceed by Broadway veterans Betsy Wolfe and Adam Kantor, fittingly known for their starring roles in “The Last Five Years” — showcased moving tributes by beloved Broadway and local performers.

These included 9-year-old Christopher Convery, an alumnus of The Smith Center’s Camp Broadway program who is now a cast member of “Kinky Boots” on Broadway.

“This kid’s got more bookings than me,” joked Kantor after announcing Convery just earned a role on hit NBC show “The Blacklist.”

Conducted by Vegas composer Keith Thompson, the concert also featured performances by acclaimed Broadway artists such as pianist Philip Fortenberry, composer Frank Wildhorn, married performers Santino and Jessica Fontana, and both Kantor and Wolfe.

Broadway actress/vocalist Chandra Lee Schwartz earned warm applause performing “Popular” from “Wicked” on stage with Martin’s 13-year-old daughter Molly, playing Elphaba.

Top Vegas entertainers also had a turn on stage, including headliner Clint Holmes, who regularly performs at Cabaret Jazz.

“(During The Smith Center’s construction), I stood in here when it was dirt and sang, and said ‘Forever I am the first person who ever sang in Reynolds Hall,’” Holmes recalled.

Teller acted out a scene with magician Nate Dendy from show “The Tempest” that The Smith Center co-produced in 2014. Local theater group Broadway in the H.O.O.D. also performed a song from “The Wiz.”

The concert even included a shout-out video from the cast of Broadway show “Bandstand,” written by Richard Oberacker, conductor of Cirque du Soleil’s “Ka” at MGM Grand.

The show’s music was initially featured at “The Composers Showcase of Las Vegas” at Cabaret Jazz.

In a powerful finale, all of the night’s performers joined Wolfe in singing “Take Care of This House,” previously sung by Jennifer Hudson during The Smith Center’s opening night gala on March 10, 2012.

This event not only hailed the past, but also promised a remarkable future, said Board Chair Don Snyder.

“The Smith Center will be here for our grandchildren’s grandchildren,” he predicted.