Smith Center Gets Grand Bow

Wherever there is a prominent stage function, whether it’s hosting the Tony’s or opening Las Vegas’ newest culture-housing megalith, Neil Patrick Harris will be there.

Harris was the master of ceremonies for The Smith Center’s grand opening March 10 that saw a flood of Broadway stars, dancers and musicians steeped in Americana. Basically, it was three free-verse poets, two abstract painters and a professor of Marxist literary criticism to really lock down the, “Wait, is this really happening in Vegas?” superfecta.

Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard got together onstage to perform “Pancho and Lefty,” then were joined by Emmylou Harris on “Ramblin’ Fever.” John Fogerty reached into his Creedence bag for “Proud Mary,” while Jennifer Hudson broke the country-white-guy streak to close out the show backed by a 70-member choir on “Take Care of This House.” The Smith Center did, though, commit its first major misstep by allowing Pat Monahan, lead singer of Train, into the show. Now that gives “Drops of Jupiter” the subtle sheen of legitimate art. That’s just going to encourage the John Mayers and Jason Mrazes of the world.

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