publicity photo by TOM DONOGHUE
Wednesday, March 25, 2009 | 2 a.m.
IF YOU GO
When: Previews begin Monday; 8 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays; 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Thursdays and Saturdays. Dark Wednesdays.
Where: Planet Hollywood
Tickets: $59 to $149 for previews, Monday to April 17; $65 to $165 after the official opening; 785-5000
THE CREATIVE TEAM
Jerry Mitchell, director, choreographer, concept
Andrew Lippa, composer, musical supervisor, arranger
David Rockwell, scenic design
Gregg Barnes, costume design
Chris Lee, lighting design
Acme Sound Partners, sound design
Zachary Borovay, video design
Josh Marquette, hair design
BASE Entertainment, producer
- 'Les Folies Bergere' to end run at Tropicana (1-15-2009)
- Out with (some of) the old, in with the new (1-6-2009)
- Last of the red-hot showgirls (9-9-2008)
- Show and (a lot to) tell (5-15-2008)
- Still opulent and extravagant, the 'Folies Bergere' celebrates the big Four-O (12-10-1999)
Beyond the Sun
When “Folies Bergere” takes its final bow Saturday at the Tropicana, it will create a void on the Las Vegas Strip.
Broadway director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell hopes to fill that void, at least partially, with “Peepshow,” which premieres Monday at Planet Hollywood.
“Folies” was a Las Vegas staple for almost 50 years and helped make the spectacular topless revue an icon of the Entertainment Capital. The lone remaining topless show dripping glamour and glitz is Donn Arden’s “Jubilee!” at Bally’s.
“Peepshow” follows that tradition — sort of.
“ ‘Jubilee’ is a great show,” Mitchell says. “But it’s time for this. There’s a little more of a contemporary feel to it, but we certainly pay homage to whence it came.”
Mitchell choreographed such musicals as “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” “Hairspray,” “The Full Monty,” “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” and was director of “Legally Blonde.” He won a Tony Award for the choreography of “La Cage Aux Folles.”
The native of Paw Paw, Mich., started on Broadway as a dancer. In the ’80s he danced in productions at corporate events in Las Vegas. He oversaw and choreographed the musical “EFX” at the MGM Grand in 2001.
“I always loved being in this town. I was a huge fan of Donn Arden’s production shows,” says Mitchell, who was here when Arden’s “Lido de Paris” was at the Stardust. “I was lucky enough to see some of them as well as some other production shows in the ’80s that were here. But I kind of feel that production shows have changed. Everything changes, the way we perceive sexuality changes.
“There couldn’t be a better time for a sexy tease in a production show to come back than now. One of things I think is going to be great is that the girls are spectacular dancers and you get to see their beautiful bodies doing incredible choreography, and it’s all live.”
“Peepshow” features a cast of 29 principals and dancers and has a band of female musicians on stage. The music includes Michael Buble’s “Feeling Good,” Connie Francis’ “Teddy,” Madonna’s “Hung Up” and original tunes by Andrew Lippa.
Leading the cast are Mel B, best known as Scary Spice of the Spice Girls, and Kelly Monaco, the “General Hospital” star who became a champion on “Dancing with the Stars.” They will perform as the leads for an extended period, and then two more celebrities will take over the roles.
Neither Mel B nor Monaco will be topless, but several dancers will be. Mel B plays Peep Diva, the mistress of ceremonies, and Monaco is Bo Peep, who falls asleep in a short movie that starts the show.
“She’s reading a book and when we zoom in on the book, we see she’s reading the story of Little Bo Peep,” Mitchell says. A string of more or less interconnected fairy-tale scenes follows.
“It really isn’t a musical because there isn’t really a written book and scenes that string the show together in that sense. It’s a story told through song and dance. It’s really modern day burlesque. We’ve taken song and dance and the art of striptease to tell a story.”
The evolution of “Peepshow” began when Mitchell was a dancer in “The Will Rogers Follies” on Broadway in 1991.
“I was practically naked, dancing in a costume which basically covered the front and nothing else,” he says. Someone suggested he use his dancing and the scant costume to raise money for the charity Broadway Cares. That turned into the first “Broadway Bares” production at a gay club in New York City. He and five other performers raised $8,000 in one night. The show has been performed annually and has raised more than $6 million.
The road to Las Vegas began nine years ago, when a secretary for BASE Entertainment partner Scott Geiger was in “Broadway Bares” and invited him to the show. “That started the ball rolling,” Mitchell says.
BASE is producing the Vegas show. Architect David Rockwell (“Phantom, the Las Vegas Spectacular”) designed the lavish set. Gregg Barnes, who won a Tony Award for “The Drowsy Chaperone,” is creating the costumes.
“We took the bones of what I created in New York and tailored it for the Vegas market,” Mitchell says. “We couldn’t do this show in New York City. This is a Las Vegas show, for sexy adult men and women who want to go out together and have an amazing time. We’re not trying to pound anything over anyone’s head.”
Mitchell says he doesn’t want to reveal too much about the show.
“I don’t mean to be coy, but isn’t that the fun of striptease — what you don’t see as opposed to what you do see?” he says. “It’s one of the things I think is desperately missing here in Las Vegas and something I’m a huge fan of — the right time to take it off.”
Catering to the young and modern crowd, Planet Hollywood is a one-stop shop for entertainment with its massive shopping mall, slew of restaurants, spacious casino and clubs.
The ambiance of the casino is retro-chic meets high-tech with black granite floors throughout and colorful LED lights throughout the space. The theme carries into the 100,000 square-foot casino with 250 flat screens topping off slot machines. The casino is also home to 87 tables, a sports book and a poker room.
There's also the Miracle Mile Shops, one Vegas' largest malls, with 140 stores including BCBG Max Azaria, bebe, Urban Outfitters and The Discovery Channel Store.
Following an afternoon of shopping, guests can satisfy their appetites at one of the gourmet restaurants in Planet Hollywood, like the non-traditional approach to steakhouses at Strip House or check out the exotic Far East motif at KOI restaurant and lounge. And if guests are still looking for more, they can spend the after hours at Privé, Triq or Krave nightclubs.
Perhaps one of the resorts biggest attractions came in March with the addition of "Peepshow." The naughty twist on the story of Little Bo Peep is modern-day spin on the run-of-the-mill Vegas topless review. The "Peepshow" stage has seen visiting celebs like Scary Spice Mel B, "Dancing with the Stars" Kelly Monaco and Playboy's Holly Madison.