British-born, Australia-raised Olivia Newton-John returned to conquer the Strip with her new “Summer Nights” limited-run residency at the Flamingo, and she received a warm welcome Friday night at her grand opening at the Donny & Marie Showroom from resident Marie Osmond.
“We’re on a week’s vacation,” Marie told me (Donny was away in San Diego). “And on my first night out of the house, I had to see Olivia. I wanted her to feel very welcomed to our showroom. She was absolutely great — a pitch-perfect performance.
“Every vocal was fantastic, and I sang along to every one of them. I haven’t seen her movie ‘Grease’ 100 times like some in the audience claimed, but definitely a few times. I know all the words to ‘Summer Nights.’ ”
Olivia’s longtime friends, producers, songwriters and co-performers John and Pat Farrar were in the audience Friday night leading the cheers, long applause and standing-ovation finale with Olivia’s husband John Easterling celebrating his birthday.
Olivia, awarded an Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in 1979, was a regular Las Vegas performer in the late 1970s and 1980s after the 1978 box office hit “Grease” with co-star John Travolta.
Also in the audience Friday night: “Glee’s” Dot Marie Jones with partner Bridget Casteen; actor and singer Joey Lawrence; members of “Million Dollar Quartet” at next-door Harrah’s; and fashion and TV icon RuPaul not in drag.
Thanks to Denise Truscello for her pink carpet photos after the show. We’ll have more photos, our review of the show and a full report, including an interview with Olivia at the Flamingo pool after-party, right here at Vegas DeLuxe on Monday.
Olivia’s show — her life story through music, including her songs as Sandy in “Grease” — was a big winner with fans and admirers. With wall-to-wall hits almost without a break in the 90-minute show, the four-time Grammy Award winner proved that at 65, she’s still very much a “Physical” princess.
Marie added: “And a perfect beauty from Down Under to fill in when we’re away on concert dates, our summer tour schedule and the vacation breaks. We couldn’t have asked for our showroom to be in better hands.”
Olivia returns to the Flamingo Showroom starting May 6 for 42 select dates through Aug. 30.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
Included in the resorts 15-acre pool area, is one of the Flamingo’s more unique features: African penguins, Chilean flamingos, Mandarin ducks and Koi fish frolicking in ponds and under three-story waterfalls.
The Flamingo’s 77,000-square-foot casino offers more than 2,000 slots, 70 table games and a 100-seat race and sports book.
Restaurants include a Japanese hibachi, Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville and a posh American eatery called Voga.