Backstage Pass: Model Victoria Henley relives Tony Bennett’s iconic career


One of the most dynamic and buzzed about new tribute shows to land on the bustling Las Vegas strip, Tony Bennett and Friends Tribute in Concert combines a staggeringly diverse catalogue of chart-topping tunes by the iconic crooner with beautifully executed tributes to many of the artists he collaborated with and admired.

The show — starring the enigmatic Andrew Van Slee– is performed as if it were in a recording studio style session in the intimate, welcoming showroom at the Oyo Hotel and Casino Las Vegas.

This musical extravaganza is laden from start to finish with an array of beloved numbers from the legend’s illustrious career, coupled with intriguing and artfully compiled factoids and video clips outlining Bennett’s humble beginnings as a child born to a family of poor Italian immigrants (he was the first member of his family to be born in an actual hospital) to his meteoric rise to superstardom.

This dazzling tribute begins with the dreamy 1952 smash hit “Because of You,” “It Had to Be You” and “Fly Me to the Moon.”

Video clips of some of Bennett’s memorable appearances on the Johnny Carson show are played on the provided screens until the outstandingly talented “American Idol” veteran Makayla Phillips is brought onstage to pay homage to Bennett’s good friend and collaborator, Lady Gaga.

Phillips commanded the stage with her powerful vocal runs and remarkable stage presence with a rousing duet of “The Lady is a Tramp,” I Get a Kick out of You” and a ground shaking rendition of the emotional “I’ll Never Love Again” from the hit movie “A Star is Born.” Phillips also brought the audience to its feet with an astounding performance of “I Have Nothing” by Whitney Houston, an artist whom Bennett wished to duet with and greatly admired.

Next, Connor Ross took the stage as crooner Michael Buble’, smoothly serenading the crowd with several of the star’s most popular hits including “Just In Time,” “Feeling Good,” “Save the Last Dance for Me” and the rhythmic “Sway.”

Dru Young showcased the incredible diversity of his talent by portraying not just one, but three world class artists within the span of only several show segments as he seamlessly transitioned between the roles of Sammy Davis Jr., Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder. Just a few of Young’s plethora of standout numbers include Wonder’s “For Once in My Life,” Charles’s “Hallelujah I Love Her So,” an emotionally charged rendition of “Mr. Bojangles” and “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore.”

Van Slee, who beautifully embodied Tony Bennett in vocal tonality, appearance, and stage presence closed out the show with a memorable, albeit heart wrenching , performances memorialized in the artist’s final concert, following his devastating diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease in 2016.

A stunning celebration of arguably, one of the most successful and celebrated musicians of our time, Tony Bennett and Friends had all the qualities necessary for a long-running Vegas residency.

Special thanks to Matt, JT, and the entire Tony Bennett Tribute Staff for facilitating our visit for this spotlight feature!


PHONE NUMBER: 570-570-8180

INSTAGRAM: @Tonybennetttribute