Monday, Nov. 26, 2012 | 2:37 p.m.
Casting for a big and “beautiful” burlesque theatrical musical headed to the Strip gets underway here today, and from everything I’ve learned, it sounds like Cher’s “Burlesque” has been adapted for the stage. It might also solve the mystery as to why lawyers for Sony execs have been threatening legal action against Las Vegas shows with the name “Burlesque.”
News of this ambitious project follows just days after Steve Wynn confirmed that he’ll be launching “Funhouse,” a unique dancing show at his Encore Theater next year. Today’s call sheet says the dancers need to be elegant performers with beautiful bodies, wear minimal clothing for routines, be comfortable in G-strings and go topless for numbers. Producers say “the presentation is theatrical, not spectacle, and performers will be used tastefully.”
Once selected from today’s auditions, the dancers will begin rehearsals in L.A. in one week and be ready for the show’s gala opening Feb. 1 at Avalon Theater in Hollywood for a 10-week run before moving to the Strip for its residency.
I’m reliably told that 17 dancers and singers working with a four-piece band will be featured in the three-act storyline with 17 musical scenes. I’m hearing that Strip legend Mistinguet is involved in the production with choreographer Nic Thompson in L.A.
Here’s the official storyline for “Beautiful”: “The show is about a current-day cabaret club called Ecstasy and the antics of the club owner and featured club performers Serena, Natalie and Matt. It’s a show-within-a-show with drama among the five lead characters struggling with how far to go in their pursuit of success.
“The star of the show is Melissa, the club diva, a middle-aged performer and businesswoman who has 12 beautiful young women entertainers for the journey through cabaret burlesque from the 1920s to the ’90’s and present day. The diva says that it redefines what burlesque is today, with a much classier version of anything history has ever produced.”
No word yet on where the big-budget production will land here, but I’m assured that it’s set to premiere in mid-2013.
REHEARSALS START: Voluptuous beauty Nicole “Coco” Austin started rehearsals today for the first time with her new “Peepshow” cast at Planet Hollywood. Hubby Ice-T and she flew in for Thanksgiving and picked up a new Dodge for while she’s here for the next three months.
Ice won’t be able to watch her take over the Holly Madison role of Bo Peep next Monday, as he’s filming “Law and Order” in New York. But he’s promised to be here for her media night Dec. 17. “I’m very excited. I’m very confident and ready to go,” Coco said over the weekend. “The New York rehearsals have been spectacular. A new dance routine number has been added, and that let’s me do the splits onstage brilliantly!”
NEW RESIDENCY? Rumors are running rampant that superstar Billy Joel has been signed to New Year’s concerts in Encore Theater, which was recently vacated by Garth Brooks. Steve Wynn also is rumored to be wooing him for a residency there on the same schedule that Garth had.
HEADLINE GIG: Hometown rocker Vince Neil is always known as the guy at the front of Motley Crue. Now he’s getting his own headline gig at Orleans Arena just days after returning from the KISS and Motley Crue tour of Australia. It’s set for March 22 with Skid Row on the bill, too, and all part of March Madness entertainment.
SWIMSUIT STUNNERS: We’re learning more insider news about the stunning showgirls who will be seen in the upcoming Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition advertorial layout created by our Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. It’s supposed to be kept top secret until the February issue is released, but it will be proof positive that our sassy, sexy showgirls can be just as photogenic in bombshell bikinis as the world-famous supermodels. Two knockouts from “Crazy Girls” at the Riviera, were chosen, plus, Meeka Voelkner, Nanako Hawley, Megan Swaffar and Jennifer Mateo from “X Burlesque” at the Flamingo.
SEVEN YEARS: Congratulations to zany props comic Carrot Top celebrating his 7th anniversary at the Luxor. “I have no itch to leave,” he told me. “We’re there to stay for at least another three years.” He flew to New York on Sunday to appear on today’s “Live With Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan.” He then flies to Atlanta on Wednesday to film a funeral scene with Robert De Niro for “Lost Vegas,” which filmed here in recent weeks. Carrot Top will be back in time to MC one of the NASCAR Champions Week events mid-week.
POWERHOUSE LINEUP: Singers Pia Zadora, Lorena Peril and Frankie Moreno will be performing with Zowie Bowie and impressionist Gordie Brown at the Toys for Tots fundraiser Dec. 1 at LVH. Oscar-winning actor and Las Vegas resident Nicolas Cage is recording a video for the charity.
KID’S SWIMSUITS: Congratulations to former Playboy model beauty Stacey Linde now running her line of children’s swimsuits from her Las Vegas headquarters. Her designs were just picked for the holidays by SwimOutlet.com. Stacey said: “I know with the holidays coming up, they would make great Christmas gifts for little girls. Even for guys who don’t know what to buy a little girl like their niece, it’s a great gift, and reasonably priced at $27 each.” The adorable swimsuits also go on sale at San Diego’s SeaWorld during the year run at SwimOutlet.
LONDON CALLING: Shopper extraordinaire Heather Marianna tells me that she resisted temptation of charging her credit card nonstop while in the department stores of London when she was invited to the new members-only Playboy Club there. “Just one new purse,” she laughed. Heather turned up on last week’s “Gigolos” on Showtime. “One of my girlfriends did it. I thought it would be fun, but it was a once- and once-only dinner date and only a little makeout session,” she said.
FAIRY-TALE PROPOSAL: Custom jeweler Jeff White at Tivoli Village watched proudly as his son Joseph proposed to his girlfriend during a fairy-tale story time for children. Cinderella, played by Michele Ringer, was surprised by Joseph in his Prince Charming costume after they’d read “Cinderella.” He sang to her and at the end of the song got down on one knee and presented her with a marquee-cut custom engagement ring made by his dad.
DOUBLE UP: Magician Murray Sawchuck has added a second show to his Saturday performances at the Tropicana because of family crowds. The earlier afternoon show will run at least through New Year’s, and the more family-friendly performance will feature sidekick Lefty doing more routines.
Comedy king Brad Garrett headlines at his own comedy club in MGM Grand through Sunday with Sean Kent and Gilbert Esquivel.
Kelly Clinton Holmes hosts Open Mic Cabaret at Bootlegger Bistro.
Santa Fe and the Fat City Horns are at Lounge at the Palms.
Ben Creed headlines with his edgy sarcasm at Sin City Comedy in Planet Hollywood through Sunday.
And contributing photographer Erik Kabik hosts his debut jazz, food and wine event at Ferraro’s with a New York City-styled band.
A first look at the cast of “Rock of Ages” arriving at the Venetian in December as they start rehearsals, and a report from Andrea Bocelli’s sold-out show at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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