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Las Vegas Entertainers Stage USO Benefit
Las Vegas resort entertainers made music and magic together for the first time yesterday (Nov. 11) during a sold-out benefit for the United Service Organizations (USO). "People think Las Vegas is hearLas Vegas resort entertainers made music and magic together for the first time yesterday (Nov. 11) during a sold-out benefit for the United Service Organizations (USO). "People think Las Vegas is heartless," said entertainer Wayne Newton, who is the new USO chairman. "But here we are with a packed house and all the performers, I think that says volumes about our town."
Among the more than 40 acts taking part in "Las Vegas Salutes the Spirit of America" at the Mandalay Bay resort were singers Jessica Simpson, Robert Goulet, and Rick Springfield, comedians Carrot Top and Rich Little, and magicians Siegfried & Roy.
While 7,500 tickets were sold at $25 each, it was not immediately known how much money the fund-raiser took in because patron and corporate donations had not been tallied, show organizers said. All proceeds from the Veterans Day show will go to the USO Centers, which provide entertainment and other services for military personnel.
Newton, along with teen pop starlet Simpson, country singer Neal McCoy and comedian Rob Schneider, begins a weeklong tour today for U.S. troops -- 14 shows in seven days. The tour is expected to stop in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Korea, and Bahrain in the Middle East, among other places.
In October, Newton took over organizing the USO's circle of entertainers from Bob Hope, who served as the USO celebrity frontman for almost all of its 60 years.
Singers Clint Holmes and Earl Turner, impressionists Bill Acosta and Bob Anderson, and the musical-comedy group the Scintas were among those who decided to put together Sunday's USO benefit following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. "We wanted to do something," said Holmes, who performs at Harrah's Las Vegas hotel-casino.
All the entertainers, musicians and stagehands involved in the show donated their time. "Everyone is working for free," magician Lance Burton said. "That never happened before today."
One Las Vegas resident said he attended the show because of the opportunity to see a wide variety of talented performers in one place. "And it's a special event," said Keith Lane. "I usually don't get choked up, but I did."
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