Sherman Hemsley & Friends
Claridge Hotel & Casino, Atlantic City, NJ


 

On The Town Entertainment Guide
By Herbert and Lore Ert
Claridge Casino: Atlantic City

Last, but certainly not least, there was ventriloquist, Pete Michaels. He brought along a trunk full of his own friends . . . Mr. Johnson, a senior citizen with a risqué vocabulary, who came up with such gems as "My wife is a sex fiend --- she wants to make love twice a year." Another wood-headed companion was Buddy, a tough, wise-cracking Italian kid from Brooklyn whom women seem to find irresistible. 

Then he enlisted two members of the audience, dressed them up with Sonny & Cher masks which were cleverly equipped with movable jaws, so Michaels could produce mouth action while providing their voices. 

The crowning effort of his time on stage came when the trunk yielded a Luciano Pavarotti clone, treating the crowd to a fully orchestrated presentation of "Nessun Dorma."
 

Ocean City Sentinel
By: Ruth Zinman

Claridge Casino: Atlantic City

Pete Michaels, who closed the show, is a young man with many talents. You've heard of ventriloquists who sing while they drink a glass of water? Michaels not only sings, he sings a la Pavarotti. Luciano would have plotzed to hear Michaels manipulating a puppet that is the spitting image of the opera star, including his white lace handkerchief and portly stature.

Another one of Michaels' interpretations is of a senior citizen who, when asked what was the best part of his day, answered, "Waking Up!"

Michaels has a voice which sounds so much like Pavarotti's that certain members of the audience - including a critic from the "big city" - swore Michaels used a recording of "the voice." He did not!
 

In Atlantic City
By Donald Kravitz
Claridge Casino: Atlantic City

Closing "Sherman Hemsley & Friends" was Pete Michaels. Touted as America's most versatile entertainer, Michaels showed himself to be a ventriloquist of extraordinary talents, using his dummies to espouse pearls of wisdom. Michaels has a range of puppet partners, including his senior citizen pal, "Mr. Johnson," who answered his question, "What's the best part of being a senior citizen?" with the well timed, "waking up."

Another of Michaels' co-stars is a Pavarotti-style puppet with which he showed a surprising range of his vocal talent. Michaels and his puppet partner belted out an operatic aria to the surprise and delight of the unsuspecting crowd. Michaels, who once received an unprecedented 33 standing ovations, brought the Palace Theater to its feet once again.
 

The Atlantic City Press
By Scott Cronick
Claridge Casino: Atlantic City

The most talented Hemsley guest was Pete Michaels.

A former opera student, Michaels impressed the audience with his Pavarotti puppet as he performed an operatic piece, but the funniest offering came when he brought out Mr. Johnson, a bitter, black, old-man puppet that was hard to beat.

South Jersey Advisor
By Helen Moissinac
Claridge Casino: Atlantic City

Last but not least, Pete Michaels a ventriloquist will have you amazed with his three different puppets.

He puts on quite a funny show but gets a little more serious when he brings on his Pavarotti puppet. He proceeds to belt out a aria with his lips tightly shut as the puppet alone is singing. This is a fabulous act.
 

Suburban News
By Kermit "Kappy" Kapner
Claridge Casino: Atlantic City

Hemsley then introduces his third friend, Pete Michaels, who is a superb ventriloquist.

His act includes a wooden dummy senior citizen, and Buddy, his alter ego dummy, and includes two members of the audience in a clever presentation.

Staten Island Advance
By Ellen Burke Rawls
Claridge Casino: Atlantic City

In a recent review of "Sherman Hemsley & Friends," the comedy review currently running at the Claridge, my colleague Charles Einstein from the Newark Star-Ledger lauded the performance of Islander Pete Michaels, who performs an amazing ventriloquism routine to anchor the show. In fact, Pete is so good that he actually fooled the reviewer. Mr. Einstein reports that the Luciano dummy "lip-synchs to the real Pavarotti while (Pete) the ventriloquist simply stands there not moving his lips."

Au contraire! For this masterful chapter in his act, Michaels calls upon his own classical opera training. It is Pete Michaels who sings the classical aria "Nessun Dorma" ---- without moving his lips! (Incidentally, the real Luciano has dropped this aria from his own act, purportedly because he can no longer reach the high notes. But Pete Michaels can and does!)
 

Asbury Park Press
By Chuck Darrow
Claridge Casino: Atlantic City

Ventriloquist Pete Michaels is a crowd pleaser who is technically proficient and a cut above average in terms of material. And yes, that is his voice coming out of a puppet facsimile of Luciano Pavarotti. It seems one critic suggested in his review of the show that Michaels lip-syncs to a Pavarotti recording. Now, the audience is informed before his entrance that Michaels sings everything live
 

Bergen Record
By Tony August
Claridge Casino: Atlantic City

I saved my favorite "Hemsley friend" for last. But I'm not going to tell you anything about him except his name, "Pete Michaels." I want you to see for yourself why I predict that nothing short of an atomic catastrophe can stop this street-smart kid from Staten Island from becoming one of the biggest in the business.

Egg Harbor News
By Norlynne Lubrano
Claridge Casino: Atlantic City

Pete Michaels, who wanted to be an opera singer but broke into show business as a ventriloquist because of what he called "too many really good voices out there," wows the audience by exchanging comedic barbs with his two sidekicks, then singing an opera favorite, Puccini's "Nessun Dorma," through another dummy -- you guessed it -- "Pavarotti." No lips moving here! It's an amazing routine and an audience pleaser.
 

Casino Player Magazine
Claridge Casino: Atlantic City

The show-stopper was Pete Michaels, whose hilarious display in the lost art of ventriloquism ended with an uncanny aria from a Luciano Pavarotti Dummy.
 

Staten Island Advance Article

 

All Content, Materials, Images, Photos & Original Characters Copyright: Pete Michaels