Interview: Mr. Entertainment Wayne Newton

Wayne Newton is an icon, a legend and international superstar who goes by many nicknames such as Mr. Entertainment, The Midnight Idol and Mr. Las Vegas. From 25,000 shows in Las Vegas to USO tours and his signature song “Danke Schoen” in the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Newton has done it all.

Fans can now see Mr. Entertainment like never before in “Up Close and Personal” featuring performances of his favorite hits, showbiz stories, and candid conversation with questions from the audience at the Golden Nugget in Lake Charles on Friday, Aug. 18, at 8:30 p.m.

Photos from Wayne Newton at the Golden Nugget by David Block:

The fans are in for a treat with your new show. What can they expect?

I really wrote this show as kind of a retro of not only my life, but my life in Las Vegas and the performers that I’ve known and befriended. Fans can ask questions about my life, songs, movies or anything about my career, so each show is different. So far, the fans that have been to the show have really embraced it and had a good time.

Is it true you first caught the entertainment bug when you went to a Hank Williams/ Kitty Wells concert at the age of 4?

It’s absolutely the truth. I was born in Virginia and at the time, we lived in Roanoke. We went to a Hank Williams concert, and Hacksaw Hawkins and Kitty Wells were on the same show. We were up in the nosebleed section in the balcony, and I really couldn’t even see the performers, but I could hear them. What I started doing was looking at the people in the audience. I saw the happiness that those performers were bringing to the audience. I remember like it was yesterday, me turning to my mother and saying, ‘That’s what I want to do.’ I then had a local radio show when I was 5 years old at 6 in the morning before going to school. I had bronchial asthma so we moved out of that climate to Phoenix. My brother and I had a local television show once a week until I was 15. I then went to Las Vegas to audition and stayed there.

With the amount of shows you have performed, how did you avoid burning out?

I think it was the fact I am probably the most comfortable in my life when I am on stage. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I started so young or not. The one thing that made me rise up was the fact that I knew the people who were in my audience every night were going through ups and downs in life like I was. They are there to forget their problems, not to hear about mine. It made me rise above low spots in my career. The reality of that has been mindboggling. Walking out on stage is never something that I have taken for granted.

Are you still breeding Arabian horses?

Oh, yes. We are in our seventh generation of breeding Arabian horses. We were just voted by the Arabian Horse Association as one of the top two breeders in the world. We have produced over 97 international champions. We have people all over the world who come and buy our breeding program. I still have 65 head of Arabian horses. I do all the foaling myself, and so the first thing they see when they are born is me. If that’s not scary enough, I don’t know what is.

As you look back on your career, what do you want fans to remember you most by?

It’s not something that ever crosses my mind. I guess just to even be remembered would be the biggest compliment of all. It goes back to I am still doing what I do because I love to see the smiles on the faces of the people I perform to. That gives me the reason to wake up tomorrow.

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