Tri-City singers, dancers debut 'Viva Las Vegas' June 14

Dori O'Neal, Tri-City HeraldJune 5, 2014 

Get ready for an evening of song and dance -- Las Vegas-style -- when Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and a bevy of Vegas showgirls hit the stage in the Tri-Cities this month.

OK, so maybe Frank, Dean and Elvis will only be there in spirit, but one of those showgirls is the real deal.

Kim Stock, who danced as a Las Vegas showgirl for about five years in the 1960s, thought it might be fun to celebrate the 20th anniversary of her Tri-City Tappers dance troupe by putting on a show in the Vegas style. She recruited some local talent to help her out.

The result: Viva Las Vegas will make its debut June 14 in the auditorium at Hanford High School in Richland. Two performances are planned at 2 and 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $13 for students and seniors and are available at Tri-Cities Academy of Ballet in Richland or at www.tricitytappers.com.

Tri-City vocalists Scott Miller, Bryan Foley and Val Wenner were more than happy to lend their voices to the roles -- Miller as Elvis, Foley as Sinatra and Wenner as Martin.

Steve "the pianoman" Haberman provides the music for Viva Las Vegas, and jazz singer Mary Lou Gnoza adds a flamboyant and glitzy style to the musical revue.

Haberman didn't bat an eye when Stock asked him to be the main music man for the show.

"I wanted to make sure I was part of this big celebration because I love working with Kim," Haberman said. "She's always been there for me too when I've asked her. And I love what the Tappers do."

The music will be a mix of dance songs from the Rat Pack era, including one of Haberman's own compositions from his Club 88 music revue.

"The songs are all eclectic and different," Haberman said. "And the dancers are amazing."

The Tri-City Tappers portray the showgirls, and all 30 of Stock's limber, high-kicking, energizing dames are older than 40 and proud of it. Stock will dance along with her girls.

"Dancing is so important to me because I want to stay healthy and fit in my golden years doing what I love," Stock said.

And at age 71, Stock can still move like a pro in high heels.

"I love introducing tap to women who have always wanted to learn," she added. "I modify things to suit the age groups. We will be dancing with Sinatra in the show when he sings Luck Be A Lady and with Elvis when he sings Viva Las Vegas."

Her Tappers have earned a bundle of trophies during the past two decades, including two first-place awards, three second place, one third place at competitions in Spokane, Seattle, Portland and Seaside.

"We have also won for best costumes and best choreography," Stock said.

Those costumes and choreography are all part of Viva Las Vegas.

"We've been working on this show since last year," she said. "We will be doing 10 dances with costume changes for each one. It's been a huge undertaking, but we're pulling it off."

Stock, who moved to the Tri-Cities with her husband in 1993, culled the revue from her memories as a real Vegas showgirl. It was the era of the infamous Rat Pack of Sinatra, Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford.

"It was an exciting time working there then," she said. "All the hotels I worked at are gone now, but I'm still here."

-- Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @dorioneal

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