September 17 - 23, 2004 • Vol. 24 - No. 38

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The Maven and The Blonde
Invade Las Vegas

 by The Maven and the Blonde
Staff Writers

Gotta love this town! Every night and every day is a party! Here’s a great day for the whole family:

Start by visiting the ride at the New York New York Hotel and Casino. This loopy, fast-falling rollercoaster is over quickly, but is great, screaming fun! Then bop over to the Palace Station Hotel and Casino for some frozen margaritas, chips and salsa, along with some chicken and cheese quesadilla. Go back to your hotel, relax, sit in the sun, or treat yourself to a massage. Then change for a wonderful dining experience at the top of the Paris Hotel and Casino’s restaurant, The Eiffel Tower. The view is breathtaking, the food and ambiance is spectacular and elegant. Know that it is a bit pricey. Allow plenty of time for dinner so you can be on time to get into your reserved seats for the Broadway show, musical experience, Mamma Mia! at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino. If you’ve already seen Mamma Mia!, see it again. It is exciting, fun, totally enjoyable, and very professionally produced. You’ll find yourself singing all the way back to your hotel. The theater is lovely and the cast is simply great. Another Broadway show option is Saturday Night Fever at the Sahara Hotel and Casino. Yes, this show is based on the movie. They added a few new songs for the musical. You can “Bee-Gee” your heart out. How deep is your love?

The next day, after a big breakfast buffet (great one at Paris), mosey on over to the Circus, Circus Hotel and Casino and play the amusement games with your kids. If you’re not with children, go anyway. Take a moment to remember your past. You will also have some fun watching the circus acts in the midway. After the amusement games, take a break. Go have lunch at the Venetian Hotel and Casino. Here you will enjoy watching the romantic gondolas floating by. In fact, go ride on one. You’ll feel like you’re in Venice Italy. It’s even nice to let them take a souvenir photo for you while you’re on the canal.

Here’s how you can end your family evening: with lances and swords but no forks and knives, the “Tournament of Kings” dinner show at the Excalibur Hotel and Casino. By the way, The Blonde and The Maven found it to be great fun, even without kids along. Maybe even more fun! As exciting as the swordplay was, we couldn’t get over the gorgeous guys. Everywhere you looked, gorgeous! Some of those guys had to be from the show Thunder Down Under, at the same hotel. We wished we worked at the Excalibur. They must have the greatest concentration of hunks working in one place.
Surprising as it may seem, the food was delicious for what it was. It was kind of kitch eating without silverware! The whole dinner and show process was efficient and well done. The only problem we experience, was our fighting over who gets which guy. We suppose the bigger problem was going home with none of them at all. For you men, there were some beautiful women, as well, we suppose, but who was looking at the women?!  

If you’re crazy like we are, you will still have time to squeeze in another show, such as La Cage. This is the superstar female impersonator show at the Riviera Hotel and Casino starring Frank Marino as Joan Rivers.  

The Blonde: Frank Marino, not to be confused with Dan Marino in any way, shape or form. This is a good-looking man and woman!

The Maven: I think a better looking woman!  I could have spent all evening enjoying his costume changes alone. Each ensemble outdid the one before it. Wigs, jewelry, accessories; I never saw a man wear it all so well!

The Blonde: I could wear it better.

The Maven: But you’re not a man!

The Blonde: To get the jewels, I could fake it! I’ve done it for a lot less! I have to tell you readers, this show was truly so much fun. Some of the impersonators were more like the real thing than the real thing. Britney Spears wished she looked that good! Judy Garland, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Cher, Bette Midler and Dolly Parton were all dead on!

The Maven: What about J. Lo, Reba McIntyre, Dianna Ross and Liza? They were fantastic as well.

The Blonde:  I don’t know about them. I think they were on stage performing when I was sneaking back stage to check out the real jewels and how they hid them.

The Maven: What was most unique about this impersonator show was the ending. They revealed in reverse how a man transforms himself into a gorgeous woman.

The Blonde: I agree! It gave me goose bumps when they presented this routine combined with the apropos song by Charles Aznavor.

The Blonde and the Maven: Even though La Cage might be something you would not normally choose to go see, don’t miss, this show! You won't be offended, just entertained!  Before you rush off to sleep, stop in at your hotel’s coffee shop to grab some decaf and a toasted bagel or some apple pie. “Viva Las Vegas!”

Award-Winning Impressionist
Teams Up with Veteran Singer

 by Phyllis Green
Theater Columnist


That night. It was so remarkable, so special. That rainy, summer night a month ago. That night, at the magnificent state-of-the-arts theater in Tamarac, known as the Palace Theater for the Performing Arts of the New Kings Point, my favorite impressionist, Sharon Daniels performed with her partner of one year, Ralph Marino, together as Daniels and Marino, and my butterflies were telling me that this could be the start of something really Big!
Most recently, and for the second consecutive year, Sharon received the “Cloney Award” for Best Female Impressionist by the International Guild of Celebrity Impersonators and Tribute Artists, IGCITA.

The event took place in Las Vegas this past July, honoring a very special genre of performers. Last year at the Sunburst Convention in Orlando, she received The Sybil Award for the entertainer who professionally recreates the most number of celebrity personalities as voted upon by her peers, agents, talent buyers, and producers. Most deserved awards for Sharon, an unmatched impressionist.

And so, on this night, the audience was taken on a whirlwind of music, from contemporary, swing, Broadway, and scat, to winning impressions, bursting with comedy and brimming with nostalgia. As the houselights dimmed in that room of theater devotees, those fortunate people who live in that beautiful complex of Kings Point, with its assortment of activities and amenities, this audience was in for the show of shows. The lady has many faces (and hair-dos).  The gentleman has many talents (and styles). Together, Daniels and Marino embark on a newly conceived journey, combining the experiences of their own individual artistries, bringing to South Florida a class act of immeasurable dimension.

Ralph Marino, a veteran of show business, was an original member of a ‘50s group called The Mystics, whose song “Hushabye” was a number one hit on the charts, also boasting of one member, Paul Simon, who left the act. Hmmm. Ralph and his late wife, Valerie, appeared in clubs, theaters, and cruise-ship shows all over the world. His on-stage talents are only exceeded by his off-stage acumen in technology, with fully equipped studios for audio, video, photography, and fine jewelry creations. He is most comfortable, though, on stage, with a versatile baritone that blends deliciously with Sharon’s voice of perfect pitch, harmony, and timing, whether in a folk tribute to Simon and Garfunkle, or jazzing it up in “It Don’t Mean a Thing.” He sings out with a warmth and casualness like that of any Rat-Pack member, and maintains that intimacy throughout the act.

Sharon Daniels, on the other hand, is the disciplined perfectionist. With her quick changes of wigs, mannerisms, and voices, her resemblances to the likes of Mary Tyler Moore, Rita Rudner, Fran Drescher, Carol Channing, and, can we talk, Joan Rivers, are incredible. Sharon first exhibited her ability for mimicry at an early age by duplicating the voices of teachers, parents, and friends. In 1982, when husband, businessman, and nowmanager, Sam Rothberg, was Assistant Rabbi at a North Dade synagogue, the sisterhood asked Sharon what she could do for the temple. She said she could entertain. When Zachary, one of Sharon and Sam’s three sons, had a temporary job in television, Sharon accompanied him, and, while waiting, did her voices. From this beginning, a 25-minute act emerged, called “In the Green Room.” Then came the rounds of open mikes, TV and radio commercials, voice-overs, and stand-up spots at comedy clubs such as Uncle Funny’s, Dangerfield’s, Coco Walk Improv, Shatzi’s, and Stand Up N.Y. With impressions of Streisand, Hepburn, Roseanne, Dr. Ruth, and Joan Rivers, Sharon made her way onto Sea Escape Cruises and the condo-circuit.

To add to Sharon’s many credits, five years ago, Sharon’s mother saw a segment on TV, looking for “Oprah”s Funniest Viewers.” Sam did one video take of this “housewife from Hollywood, Florida” and sent it to Oprah Winfrey’s people in Chicago. The producers invited her to the show. Oprah even asked her to do Oprah, she did it! And she won!

And so, on that night when this unique duo took the stage, there was a full-scale production, running the gamut of drama (Moulin Rouge and solos by Marino), comedy (impressions of Whoopie, George and Gracie, etc.), and the real fun stuff, (duets and impersonations of Sonny and Cher, Steve and Eydie, Ike and Tina, Louie and Keely, Barbra and Neil), all beautifully executed by Daniels and Marino.

“It’s a long road, with no easy gimmies,” says Sam, who passionately believes in this act. Somehow, a shot on a TV talk show such as Letterman or Leno would be just the ticket. Daniels and Marino should make it Big—and when they do, I’ll always know how very remarkable it was That Night. That very special Night!
1. Proud winner of the “Cloney Award,” Sharon Daniels
2. Sharon Daniels and Ralph Marino

Save the Date

Save the date for an evening of Japanese dance and music with Brian Yamakoshi and Fujima Shunojo, to take place on Saturday, September 18, 2004 at 7:30pm in the 8th Floor Theatre of the New World School of the Arts, 25 N.E. Second Street in Miami. For ticket information, contact the dance division of the school at 305 237-3341 or call Mrs. Youngblood at 305-858-5016.

For a complete story about this performance, log onto and click on “September 10 – 16” under “Archives.”
1. The Tokyo Symphony

Famous Jewish Entertainer Performs at
the Jewish Museum of Florida


World-renowned television and theater actor/entertainer Avi Hoffman—of the legendary musical comedy review, Too Jewish?—will perform at the Jewish Museum of Florida on Tuesday, September 28, at 7:30pm. In Broward County Presents, Avi will perform a hilarious winning mixture of nostalgia, song, comedy and culture.  

Avi Hoffman’s performances celebrate Jewish culture and identity. He instills a sense of pride in all audiences, regardless of age. Being a Broward County resident, Avi’s performance complements the Museum’s current temporary exhibit, Jews of Broward County. This original performance will fuse personal Broward County stories with a collection of songs and anecdotes illustrative of this beloved tradition.

Avi Hoffman is a child of Holocaust survivors and was born in the Bronx, NY. He was taught at an early age to appreciate the beauty and depth of Jewish culture, literature, music and tradition. At age eleven, he moved with his family to Israel and began performing in dozens of English and Hebrew plays as well as Israeli television and film. He has continued to perform in theater, television and films throughout his life. He was named Best Performance Artist by NY Press Magazine and was nominated for the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards for his entertaining and moving look at Jewish culture, music, comedy and identity in his shows Too Jewish? and Two Jewish Two!

As the founder and executive director of the not-for-profit National Center for Jewish Cultural Arts, Inc., Avi produces many high quality Jewish cultural events and programs. Together with award-winning actors and legends of Jewish culture, Avi will be hosting and participating in Jubilee 2005 – A Celebration of Jewish Culture. It begins in January 2005 with a 7-night cruise on the Caribbean Princess and will include performances through March 2005 in North Miami Beach, Broward County and Palm Beach County. These projects include entertainers Theodore Bikel, Jack Carter, Fyvush Finkel, Yale Strom and Klezmer band Hot Pstromi. For dates and locations, contact the National Center for Jewish Cultural Arts at 954-255-9323.

Jews of Broward County runs through January 30, 2005. Historic photos, sweeping murals, documents and artifacts portray the comprehensive story of the many roles Jews have played in developing the home to Florida’s largest Jewish population. Representing more than 250 families, this chronological exhibit uncovers and documents the Jewish experience in Broward for nearly 100 years. From politics to agriculture to retail to the arts, Jews of Broward County colorfully demonstrates the tremendous impact that Jews have had on the growth of the area and the anguish of antisemitism experienced as Jews settled there.

The Jewish Museum of Florida is located in a restored historic Art Deco building on South Beach that was formerly an Orthodox synagogue. The focal point of the Museum is MOSAIC: Jewish Life in Florida, its core exhibit, as well as a temporary exhibit that changes three times a year. A Collections & Research Center, several films, Timeline Wall of the World, American and Florida Jewish history and a Museum Store complete the experience for visitors of all ages and backgrounds. Accredited by the American Association of Museums, the Museum is located at 301 Washington Avenue, South Beach and is open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Mondays and Jewish holidays. Admission: Adults/$6; Seniors/$5; Families/$12; Members and children under 6/ Always Free; Saturdays/Free.  

Avi Hoffman in “Broward County Presents” is open to the public. Admission is free for Museum Members and is $6 for non-Members. For reservations and program information, contact 305-672-5044, ext. 11. Early reservations are recommended. For membership information, contact 305-672-5044, ext. 21. For more information, visit
1. Avi Hoffman

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