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Cher on tour; Davi’s dynamite debut; Penn leads ‘Celebrity Apprentice’

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DAVI’S DYNAMITE DEBUT: I haven’t been to a first-night performance ever where the audience nearly refused to leave the showroom. Thursday night at singer and actor Robert Davi’s Frank Sinatra and the Great American Songbook tributes in theVenetian Showroom, fans wanted him to continue singing after nearly two hours of nonstop entertainment.

With applause and standing ovations, Robert told me that he was unable to sing his last four numbers because he was out of time. (He told the audience as they exited at 11 p.m., “Come back tomorrow for ‘New York, New York!’ I need to fill this room for two more nights.”) He will chop a couple of songs to add those tonight and Saturday.

Among the first-night guests were actress Joan Severance who starred with Davi, best known for playing villains and gangsters, in “Illicit Behavior” and “Wiseguy.” The night was dedicated to our military, and Doug Bradford, director of the USO Center here at McCarran Airport, presented Robert with a trophy recognizing his support.

Also there, the late Whitney Houston’s voice coach Gary Catona and Bruce Zoldan, who showed Robert his Kentucky Derby winner’s ring as owner of reigning champion Animal Kingdom. This year, he’s hoping his new horseWent the Day Well will make it into the Derby stakes. I have to thank Robert for giving me a belated birthday cake, which I shared with his former wife, Christina, mother of his twins, in his dressing room after the show.

Felix Rappaport, Mirage president who was in attendance, summed up the premiere best: “He captured Sinatra’s vibe, presence extremely well. His voice is richly melodious. Great selections, great band, great arrangements — in all a great night of entertainment and an immensely enjoyable performance. His charisma with the audience was perfect.”

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