Columnist Kate Maddox: ‘Storm’ forecast: Partly cloudy

Fri, Mar 16, 2001 (9:23 a.m.)

Kate Maddox's column appears Fridays, Sundays and Tuesdays. Reach her at 259-2309 or [email protected]

After all that, now it looks like we won't be getting a glimpse of "Storm" for at least four more weeks. The much-hyped Latin-themed production was scheduled to open with a (she-)bang on Thursday at Mandalay Bay, but producers pulled the plug on the opening curtain call after previews for execs failed to impress.

When asked what specifically led to the last-minute yank, one insider said simply, "It just plain old isn't ready. If they opened now it would be a disaster." This person added that everything from dance numbers to sets to weather-inspired special effects were causing trouble.

"The whole thing put together just didn't add up to a show," said another knowledgeable "Storm" aficionado. "There's no flow to it. There's no way it's going to be ready anytime soon."

Big bummer for the more than 2,000 opening-night invitees. Letters regretfully announcing the "brief postponement" of the premiere were sent out all over the world -- VIPs from as far away as Puerto Rico and Spain had to be told to halt travel plans. There's still no word on a definite opening date.

The letter, signed by Mandalay Bay Resort Group vice president of entertainment Glenn Medas, cited "several circumstances involved in the process of bringing this very special show to the stage" as the reason for the cancellation.

The cast and crew of "Ocean's 11" celebrated their Las Vegas arrival with a party at the House of Blues Foundation Room earlier this week.

George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Don Cheadle and Elliot Gould crowded the members-only lounge area until the wee hours. If you're kicking yourself (as I certainly am) for missing the hottie convention, don't worry, they said they'd be back soon.

This "welcome to Vegas" gathering was supposed to be held at the Bellagio, where most of the cast is staying during filming, but at the last-minute organizers ditched those plans and decided the Foundation Room would be a better spot. Clooney and crew apparently agreed -- the cast partied for a good seven-hour stretch, finally wrapping things up at 3 a.m.

Italian playboy/real estate developer/investor/rich guy Fabrizio Boccardi might have finally realized his dream of owning his very own Las Vegas megaresort and casino.

Boccardi, who has been (unsuccessfully) bidding on Strip property on-and-off for the past four years, appears to have found a place. Details on which hotel he's purchased won't be made public until late this month, but Boccardi is already talking entertainment. A headlining deal with (yawn) Latin sensation Enrique Iglesias is apparently in the works for this phantom casino.

But don't count your chickens just yet. Boccardi is the same guy who, back in October, "hired" Angie Everhart to accompany him on a weekend of Vegas business meetings. In the past the young mogul has also called upon his royal pal, Prince Albert of Monaco, to assist in drawing attention to his professional conquests. But the big red flag? He has an L.A.-based PR firm handling his business. Supermodels, plus playboys, plus publicists usually equals vapor. Boccardi's got some 'splaining to do. Put the deal on the table already.

Add Steve Crupi to the list of on-air talent recently let go at KTNV Channel 13. Crupi, who was about to celebrate 10 years at the station, reportedly didn't get his contract renewed. His is the latest in a string of layoffs at the ABC affiliate. One insider says newsroom morale is at an all-time low and more cutbacks are expected.

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