Casinos: En Vogue and Ashanti unlease their inner divas

05/01/2014 10:00 AM

04/30/2014 12:06 PM

Divas dominate the casino-entertainment scene this week. In fact, some true “Funky Divas” are set to play Cache Creek on Saturday.

When En Vogue was formed in Oakland in the late ’80s, the idea evidently was to adapt a winning formula to a new era. The Andrews Sisters, the McGuire Sisters and others had strong presences on both television and radio during previous decades. It was time to update the female trio.

En Vogue was the result, only it turned out to be a quartet because a lady named Terry Ellis auditioned and was simply too strong not to be added.

“Born to Sing,” “Funky Divas,” “EV3” “Masterpiece Theatre” and “Soul Flower” were the resulting albums. Other results have included multiple honors, the inevitable breakups and reorganizations, and the eventual establishment of the group (Ellis and Cindy Herron being the surviving originals) as a solid nostalgia act. (8 p.m.; $49, $59, $69; cachecreek.com)

In addition, Ashanti takes the stage at Jackson Rancheria on Thursday, fresh off the completion of her latest record “BraveHeart,” her fifth studio album. That’s not a huge tally. Many artists would have released far more by now, but Ashanti has become a multi-hyphenate since her phenomenal 2002 success with “Foolish.”

Besides, she’s taken some side trips into acting, and so here’s your chance to see Kyra, the pregnant teenager from “Coach Carter”; Betty, the nurse from “Resident Evil: Retribution”; and Heather, the scheming head cheerleader from “John Tucker Must Die.” Probably better to see her for her singing. (7 p.m.; $20 with club card; jacksoncasino.com)

Also this week

There’s no shortage of competitions in the world of magic, but one of the more popular ones is the British television series “The Magicians,” in which professional conjurers square off and the public votes on the winner. Jason Latimer won the title in 2012 and Cache Creek is offering stateside fans a chance to see him – for free, no less (with club card). He will perform three shows Sunday (3, 5, and 7:30 p.m.) and three more June 1.

Dinner shows died out about two decades ago in Northern Nevada casino showrooms when the bean counters began insisting every seat in a showroom pay for itself. There’s doubt if they’ll ever be viable again, but the Nugget (no longer John Ascuaga’s Nugget since its sale last year) in Sparks will find out Saturday when $45 brings you dinner and “A Night to Remember,” a musical tribute to when Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash all gathered at Memphis’ Sun Studios. (5:30 p.m.; 800-649-1177)

 

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