Performances and Artists
The Smith Center was always intended to be a home for the performing arts in Las Vegas, but it turned out to be a place where the city’s culturati felt at home celebrating New Year’s Eve as well. After ringing in 2014 at Reynolds Hall with actress/singer Kristin Chenoweth and welcoming 2015 with singer/pianist Michael Feinstein, The Smith Center opted for a quintet of high-caliber entertainers this year. Erich Bergen, star of stage and film versions of Jersey Boys, will host as The Smith Center resident headliner Clint Holmes, Broadway stars Capathia Jenkins and Norm Lewis, and The Hunger Games (which the last installment The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 opens today!) actress Patina Miller raise their voices for auld lang syne.
“They’re going to have a big huge band, and honestly, those four singers truly, from the bottom of my heart, are some of my favorite singers ever,” said Bergen about the New Year’s Eve extravaganza he’ll be hosting in just six weeks. “These voices are absolutely incredible. Vegas audiences obviously know Clint, but Norm Lewis has one of the richest, smoothest voices I’ve ever heard. Patina has a brilliant instrument, and Capathia will just blow you away.”
Bergen, who co-stars with Miller on the CBS drama Madam Secretary, was the last to sign on. He had a solo show at Cabaret Jazz planned before his day job’s production schedule changed, and after mentioning his Dec. 31 birthday to The Smith Center President and Chief Executive Officer, Myron Martin, it was suggested Bergen host New Year’s Eve.
“I think I will be doing a duet with Patina,” said Bergen, who was not yet aware of the other performers’ plans when speaking with Spotlight but expressed admiration for Jenkins’ “big, big voice.” The former Newsies cast member sings at Birdland, where Bergen has presented his solo act. Bergen considers Lewis, the first African-American to play the male lead in The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway and a Birdland regular, a good friend and got to know veteran Vegas headliner Holmes years ago when they both performed showcases at the now-shuttered Liberace Museum. “He and his wife Kelly are very good friends of mine,” says Bergen, who regularly connects with Holmes in New York. “We do stuff together all the time. I just adore him.”
With such creative connections among the performers, an unforgettable night can only result. “We’re just in the beginning stages of putting it all together, but I think the mission of the concert is just to give everyone just an incredibly good time,” says Bergen, who will also return to Las Vegas in April to present his solo show, Erich Bergen LIVE!, in Cabaret Jazz. “New Year’s Eve is my birthday and this year is my 30th, so I’m going to be dedicated to giving myself and the audience a good time. I can assure you the concert is going to be an incredible party that you do not want to miss.”
New Year’s Eve 2015 was a part of the 2015-2016 season.