The Great Tomsoni & Co.


Kaleidoscope at the MGM GrandThe new Stan Irwin-John Thompson production, "Kaleidoscope", now at the MGM Grand Movieworld theme park, is a show of muplitple 'firsts'.

To begin with, it is the Las Vegas debut, as a producer, of John Thompson who is somewhat better known (and known around the world and to the entertainment industry) as the brilliant and hilarious comedy magician THE GREAT TOMSONI. John as Tomsoni has starred in virtually every major production extravaganza on several continents and is in constant international demand as a performer.

Partnered with Stan Irwin (a Las Vegas entertainment fixture for so many years who went on to become Johnny Carson's personal manager and producer of the Tonight Show), "Kaleidoscope" is not John's first production; he has also produced numerous shows in Reno, Atlantic City, Tahoe, etc. John created and wrote "Kaleidoscope."

"Kaleidoscope," entirely lit by black light projected onto fluorescent colored costumes, sets and props on a blackened stage is also the 'first' state of the art black light musical revue featuring larger than life 'black art' puppets, animatronic costumed characters and live dancers.

Magical, contemporary, unique and artistically enthralling, the new revue centers around an original contemporary musical score written by Timothy Mullholland and Tommy Vig. Among Vig's musical contributions: "King Looey's Theme", "Galaxy" and "Arabesque".  Mullholland composed several of the "star" numbers including "Prime Time" (Elton John), "Celebrate The Day / Don't Quit, Say No" (Madonna), as well as "Save Our Land", "At the Midnight Hop" and the finale "We Can Make A Better Place."  The featured voices and vocalists include the former lead singer of "Quiet Riot", PAUL SHORTINO, FRANK WELKER, SCOTTI HASKELL (her dad is percussionist Jimmy Haskell) PAM HAYES, JOHN THOMPSON, JACKIE CURTISS and THOM FOUNTAIN.  Lyrics are by TIMOTHY MULLHOLLAND, PAUL SHORTINO, STEVEN KALINICH & JOHN THOMPSON.

Mr. Fountain is also the puppeteer director with a staff of highly skilled puppeteers: head puppeteer and company manager STEVE ALLISON, MAURI BERNSTEIN, MIKE BRISTER, JAMES BLANKMEYER, GREGG REHRIG, VERONICA OLIVAREZ, KEN WILLIAMSON, SASA HRSAK and JOEL LARSON. (If you are a Dirt Alert reader, you'll recognize Joel Larson as D.A.'s longtime cartoonist, feature writer and art director.)

The dancers in the show, choreographed by LYNN McMURRAY, are MICHELLE HOPKINS, JULIETTE MILLER, GAELYN STULTS, JENNIFER CONNAL and JODY. The expansive musical span of "Kaleidoscope" requires a wide range of live and animated styles including jazz, hip hop, classical and rock & roll. Unlike the animated musicals at "that other" theme park, "Kaleidoscope" is theatrical animation being performed in real time before a live audience. The producers have strived to give the entire production a highly visual grandeur with seamless transitions.

Other production credits for "Kaleidoscope" include Puppet Design & Costume Design (for both the puppets and the live performers) by Ken Whitaker, Lighting Design by Mark Rosenthal & Personal Creations, Puppet Manufacture by Rene & Artists of Burbank, Costumes Execution by Casey Treadway & Simone Welch, Scenics by George & Goldberg (who also did the scenics for Barbra Streisand's New Year's Eve shows).
A special thanks, says John Thompson should especially go to Ms. Pat Merl who "came in and re-staged and re-choreographed the show when the show's opening was delayed one week and the original production staff and creative talents had to leave for other projects. Pat did a really superlative job under extremely difficult conditions and a most exacting time frame."

"Kaleidoscope" is presented five times a day, seven days a week. Call the Magic Screen Theatre at the MGM Movieworld for exact show times.

John Thompson, who began his career as a harmonica player with the famous Jerry Murad Harmonicats and later, the Harmoinca Jazz Quartet, got into magic doing a parody of the more serious magicians with a zany Dove Magic act. Being, in real fact, of Polish ancestry, he started using the added billing of "Poland's Finest Magician", "The Wizard of Warsaw" and "The World's First Polish Magician". He was an instant and outrageous hit in his starring role in "Vive Paris Vive" at the Aladdin Hotel in 1972 and has never stopped working since. Along the way The Great Tomsoni & Company (his gorgeous albeit ditzy, bored blonde assistant, Pam who joined the act in 1976) went around the world causing comedy havoc and collecting a scrapbook full of raves reviews. They have starred in Madrid, Paris, Nice, Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Atlantic City and more. John is a "the recipient of numerous magic awards including Stage Magician of the Year (twice) and the Prix S.B.M. Ives Grans Prix Magiques de Monte Carlo presented by Prince Rainier of Monaco. John is continually refreshing and refurbishing his magical antics (his "Babushkas from Warsaw" remains a classic favorite as does his unforgettable sorcery when a black bowling bowl stands in for an elegant lit candelabra).

Despite John's closing protest to many audiences "You were a wonderful audience, I wish I had a better act", the critics (and audiences) have made him an absolute "don't miss" attraction. In the words of our own Dirt Alert's illustrious correspondent from Chicago, Sig Sakowicz, who once said of The Great Tomsoni:

"Zyjac tradycjami wielkiego Blackston'a, Dantego i Thurston'a, mamy obecnie naszeago polskiego Mistrza SludzenWielkiego Tomsoni & Co."

Who could have put it any better than that??