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Basking in the limelight at the Tap House

By John M. Glionna

The place is packed when singer Mark Giovi takes the stage as emcee of the Monday night open-mike at a little roadhouse on a dusty stretch a few miles west of the Strip.

Fronting a tight backup band of drums, keyboards and tenor saxophone, the veteran showman’s voice is piano-key smooth as he launches into two Ray Charles standards, “You Don’t Know Me” and “Georgia on My Mind.” But there’s something peculiar about the way the 43-year-old New Jersey native moves about the room: his mouth droops slightly, his left hand hangs limp, his left leg is somewhat stiff.

Giovi has cerebral palsy, a condition he believes has hurt him in the hard-hearted music industry. But not here at the Tap House bar and restaurant; not among this standing-room-only crowd of 150, including some thick-necked types with expensive suits and slicked-back hair, guys who voice their approval with throaty hoots and applause.

“If anyone said anything unkind, it might become a little dangerous for them,” Giovi says half-jokingly. “I don’t think they’d get out of here unscathed.”

Read complete story: A proving ground for Las Vegas entertainers

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