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October 25, 2014

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Jaime Lynch is a cinch to take over as ‘Fantasy’ singer at Luxor

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Jaime Lynch, the new vocalist in “Fantasy” at Luxor.

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There is little secret to the long-standing success of “Fantasy” at Luxor. It’s a work hard, play hard strategy.

The adult production has been around for 13 years, outlasting a host of similarly styled shows (some featuring vampires, others based on popular adult novels) by working very hard and employing the best stage talent in Vegas.

So when one of the city’s great singers, Lorena Peril, opted to leave the show two weeks ago to tour Europe in a production of “Grease,” “Fantasy" producer Anita Mann got to work on finding a talented replacement.

The new singer is a great one: Jaime Lynch, who is to take the stage next week, either Tuesday or Wednesday night, in what is expected to be a lengthy preview period before being formally introduced Oct. 15. That is the same night the much-anticipated “Fantasy” calendar (a calendar where the months and dates are really incidental) is released.

“I’m really excited to be a part of this show,” Lynch said during a phone interview Thursday morning as she took a break to visit her family on the Oregon coast. “I’ve been working a long time, and this is just a great opportunity.”

Lynch’s performance schedule has hardly ceased in her career in Las Vegas, which spans about a decade. She has been featured in a host of Vegas productions, most recently “Peepshow” at Planet Hollywood from January until late July. Similar to Peril, Lynch performed in “American Superstars” at the Stratosphere, opened “Sirens of T.I.” at Treasure Island, was lead singer with the Pussycat Dolls production at Caesars Palace and also on tour, was a featured vocalist in “Vegas! The Show” and also opened “iCandy Burlesque,” both at Saxe Theater at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood. She also competed in Season 5 of Fox’s “The X Factor.”

Suffice to say performing in front of an audience is not new for Lynch.

“I grew up dancing and acting, and ‘Fantasy’ is a show where interacting with the audience is really important,” Lynch said. “This is really about trying to connect with the crowd.”

Lynch is unique because she was originally a dancer who picked up singing after she was an established performer. She was given select singing roles while in the cast of “Sirens,” for instance, but it wasn’t until taking the lead-singer role in Pussycat Dolls that she was considered a bona-fide vocalist.

“That was my big break,” she said. “That gave me experience being in front of a show. Every night you’re dealing with a different crowd and a different club scene. I’m lucky in that a lot of singers don’t have a dance background, and there is obviously a lot of dance in ‘Fantasy.’ ”

Mann first took notice of Lynch about a year ago during the run-up to the opening of "iCandy.” As was the case with Peril more than three years ago, Mann knew she had a great talent — but no role for her.

“Lorena was in the show, and all I could to was offer Jaime a job as a swing and no more than that,” Mann said. “What I remember about when she came to the auditions was that she was too good for words. But she was about to start ‘iCandy’ then, so the timing wasn’t right then. But it is right now.”

The show’s primary swing is the dynamite Lily Arce. The vocalists who have appeared as swings in the show have been of high quality — among them Arce, Maren Wade (also of “iCandy”), Amanda Avila (a busy performer who was a semifinalist on “American Idol”) and Sarah Jessica Rhodes (“V — The Ultimate Variety Show” among other productions).

Mann always changes acts in the show to suit the singer. She added a rowdy “Hips Don’t Lie” act with Peril and comedian/singer/dancer Sean E. Cooper when Peril opened the show. She plans to swap that number for something more suited to Lynch.

But this will be a process taking several weeks to perfect.

“In a perfect world, we would have more time, but we are going to be rehearsing and tinkering, and we’ll make sure the show is the best it can be,” Mann said. “What I do feel is that every single night the show is performed, you have to know that everyone buying the ticket might be seeing it for the first time. What do I want that person to see? That’s all part of the creative process, and I love to create.

Said Lynch: “We’re going to be patient. I’ve been a fan of this show for a long, long time. It’s so incredible when a show lasts for more than a few years, and it’s 13 years for ‘Fantasy.’ ”

And that is no accident.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at Twitter.com/JohnnyKats. Also, follow “Kats With the Dish” at Twitter.com/KatsWiththeDish.

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