As Vegas audiences queue to see show
On With the Show’s
Flashback to 1996
By SHIRLEY BROUN
VISITORS to entertainment capital, Las Vegas, expect only the `best’ in the world when they see a show on the famous strip, and the current line-up is nothing less than spectacular. The fabulous shows include Paul Anka, Don Rickles, Neil Sedaka, Barry Manilow, Julio Inglesias, Earth, Wind and Fire, and … Australia’s own … THE FOUR KINSMEN.
Currently headlining at the fabulous Hacienda Hotel in Las Vegas, where their name is up in such big lights they are dwarfed by its image, The Four Kinsmen – Scott Radburn, Robert Pearson, George Harvey and Graham Wilson – have pulled off a major coup for Australia.
Already, after just two weeks of a four month season, they are being described as the `hypo-active Marx Bros of the year 2000′, and hailed for their multi-talents and uniqueness.
Perfect Las Vegas Show
Another publication Vegas Visitor, which is distributed to an estimated 100,000 rooms in Vegas, stated: `The perfect Las Vegas show has recently opened at the Hacienda and the audiences are raving about The Four Kinsmen aka `The Hottest Act in Australia’.
It is described as the highest-energy show to ever sweep a Las Vegas stage. Shows are booked out and standing ovations follow nearly every performance (two shows a night, six days a week). And, if there were many doubts left of The Four Kinsmen’s dynamic talents and impact on Las Vegas audiences, they were quickly dispelled after leading critics from across America popped in for a special `media’ preview night.
Hottest new act in town
Top entertainment critic Joe Delaney, of the Las Vegas Sun, stated: `Word of mouth could make this combined update and throwback to the great Las Vegas entertainment groups of the past – the Vagabonds, Novel-ties, Happy Jesters, Mary Kaye Trio and the Characters – the hottest new act in town. They offer the highest energy and the only nonstop 90 minutes in any Las Vegas showroom’.
Venue, The Hacienda Hotel, is renowned for its exquisite and top value entertainment in its main room. In fact, The Four Kinsmen followed master illusionist Lance Burton, who reportedly signed a $100 million deal to headline at the exciting new Monte Carlo Hotel/Casino, scheduled to open on July 4.
We couldn’t ask for better ambassadors than this incredibly innovative and multi-talented team of professionals which has not only won the hearts of a nation back home but is now capturing the imaginations of an extensive new audience of Vegas locals and visitors.
Dream come true
Headlining in Las Vegas is a dream come true for The Four Kinsmen who are immensely proud of their Australian heritage and now believe they have a rare opportunity to spread the word about their home and the talent `Down Under’.
In an Exclusive interview from Las Vegas with Variety Today’s Shirley Broun, |The Four Kinsmen gave an insight into what it feels like to be a `headliner’ in the glittering entertainment mecca, and the impact they are having since their act literally exploded onto centre stage at the Hacienda Hotel.
“The sign out the front is the most emotional thing since my son, Jesse, was born,” said an elated George Harvey. “I took a camera and photographed it from every angle. I can’t help but think as we hit the stage every night that at the exact same moment, some of the world’s greatest entertainers are doing the same thing. This week alone, the acts in town range from Neil Sedaka and Barry Manilow to Julio Inglesias and Earth Wind and Fire. Liza Minelli opens soon.”
But what about Opening Night?
“We were panicking a bit because our gear had only arrived from Australia that afternoon,” said Scott Radburn. “This was such an important night for us … something we had worked our entire careers to achieve … everything had to be right!”
And to the credit of The Four Kinsmen’s back-up team, everything was OK … well, almost!
“We made our big entrance and went to the microphones to sing the opening number only to find there weren’t any mikes … a bit nerve racking but, hey, that’s show business for you,” said Scott.
Showing the true professionals they are, no-one in the audience even noticed. In fact, they thought it was all part of the show.
Adrenalin pumping Media Night
Media night, three days later, was the ultimate experience, according to Graham Wilson. “It was incredible. Our adrenalin must really have been pumping that night for I believe we worked better than ever before,” he said.
“We have devised a real Australian introduction which has turned out to be an explosive start to the show. It’s pure Las Vegas,” said George, suggesting a trip to see the impressive production in Vegas would reveal the full impact.
The word, it seems, is spreading fast on the Kinsmen from `Down Under’. “One fellow said to me: ‘You guys were born to work here!”, said Robert Pearson.
Pure talent and amazing energy
Many comments have referred to The Four Kinsmen’s uniqueness and their ability to perform 90 minutes straight doing everything from acrobatics, comedy, vocal harmonies, dancing, puppetry and juggling to mime and magic – without a massive amount of production.
“It is just pure talent, the energy is absolutely amazing,” said one delighted member of the opening night audience. “How do you do it?”, he said, still stunning by the group’s amazing energy.
“We are standing out because we are different and we’ve worked really hard to put together a show that is unique. That is the appeal and what has really given us this chance in Vegas,” said Robert.
All agree their ultimate goal was work as headliners in Vegas. “Not just my ultimate goal, my ultimate dream … someone pinch me,” said Robert.
George quickly added, with a smile on his face: “This town was built for us … we’re loving it!”
Their show, he said, is totally new to each audience and to see those faces change from ‘I wonder what these guys do’ to ‘wow, aren’t they great’, is the most wonderful feeling.
Rave reviews for backing band
Their backing band too is receiving rave reviews. It includes musical director and drummer Jim Piese, Debbie Fitzsummons on keyboards (both from Australia), Brace Phillips on bass, and Tommy Amato (once with the late Bobby Darin) on rhythm guitar.
Graham Wilson who, off stage is Variety Today’s sports columnist, said the comments after each show make them proud to be representing Australia in the USA. And, they get lots of opportunities to talk about it with their immediate audience acceptance making them popular guests on major radio shows, which reach millions of listeners throughout the nation.
Hard work reaps rewards
However, the group’s chance to hit the bright lights – the sign advertising The Four Kinsmen outside the hotel – is many storeys high – did not come easily. “It has come our way because of basic reasons that work for anything and anyone,” said George. “We worked hard to get the act as perfect as possible during the past 10 years while our personal manager, John Hansen, put major effort into raising our profile in Australia and on the US side.”
John Hansen has also represented the likes of Englebert Humperdinck, Victor Borge, Tom Jones, and Billy Ray Cyrus.
Sometimes just being good isn’t good enough
“Finally, meeting Peter Reveen, who manages Lance Burton, was a major turning point for us. You need to be different and have people like Hansen and Reveen who believe in you and work hard for that belief. Sometimes just being good isn’t good enough,”he said.
The Four kinsmen plan to return to Australia in September with their first appearances scheduled for Twin Towns Services Club on the Queensland Gold Coast, followed by their usual sell-out South Australian tour.
Hacienda Hotel Casino Vice President/General Manager, Don Givens said: “When Lance Burton announced his departure for the Monte Carlo, we wanted to serve up something that would meet Las Vegas’s craving for a good, clean family-oriented show with an Australian flare. “What we found was four Australian guys who love nothing better than getting up on stage and having a great time – called The Four Kinsmen.
Winners of 19 Australian Entertainment Industry MO Awards including Entertainer of the Year, Best Vocal Group and the Gold MO for Peter Allen Variety Performers of the Year, The Four Kinsmen have a great deal to offer.
“Beyond the awards and a decade of touring both Canada and the United States, the real draw is The Four Kinsmen’s Show – outrageously funny and fresh with a high level of energy that only Australians can muster. For 90 minutes they will keep the audience spellbound,” said Mr Givens.Tweet