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VEGAS! THE SHOW

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Miracle Mile Shops

3663 Las Vegas Blvd. S.

Las Vegas, NV 89109

866-932-1818

website

$80-100

Nightly 7 & 9pm

Variety

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AT A GLANCE

What is it?

A fun and frothy music, dance, and variety act revue that celebrates the history of Las Vegas entertainment.

Where is it?

In the David Saxe theater in the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood on the Center Strip.

Is it worth the cost?

Tickets are surprisingly expensive but it is totally worth it. Look for discounts in local magazines.

Why should I see this show?

Because you miss the days when there was something else to see in this town besides French acrobats.

What else do I need to know?

The dancing and dancers are some of the best you'll see in Vegas.

What's the bottom line?

A terrific homage to the best parts of the "good old days" of Vegas shows.

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FULL REVIEW

Entertainment in Las Vegas is not what it used to be and if I'm being honest, that's actually a good thing. While bygone shows like Folies Bergere, Lido de Paris, and Splash were fine for the era (or eras) in which they served, tastes and times have changed and we should all be grateful that we have Cirque, Celine, and Chippendales to give us a more modern interpretation of what entertainment should be.

I mention this because the night before I saw Vegas! The Show at the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood, I had gone back to see Jubilee! at Bally's. The latter is the lone, remaining showgirl extravaganza still playing on the Las Vegas Strip, a musty relic that is good from an ironic nostalgia point of view but not actually good from just about any other viewpoint.

Vegas! The Show celebrates those bygone days of Sin City entertainment with a revue that blasts its way through the music, dance, and variety acts of the last 70 years or so with homages to everything from The Rat Pack to Elton John. And yes, there are more than a few showgirls along the way.

The production starts in the Neon Graveyard with a groundskeeper relishing the history of the city and encouraging the audience to come along with him on a journey through the times when people got dressed up to see a show in Vegas. A top hat and tails ballroom segment segues into a "Jump, Jive, and Wail" jitterbug lounge act then on to Frank, Dino, and Sammy in the Rat Pack Days, Elvis before the jumpsuits, a French Can-Can number straight out of Folies, Sonny & Cher in the psychedelic sixties, and Earth, Wind, and Fire in the Disco days with stops at Wayne Newton, Gladys Knight, and Tom Jones along the way.

The incredibly talented singers are not doing impersonations, specifically, although some of them come pretty close to it. Instead, they are honorifics of the eras those artists represent - taking on the general look, feel, and sound of the stars as a way to pay tribute to what it was like to be in a Vegas showroom when they were headlining. The fact that the singers in Vegas! The Show are such powerhouses in their own right seems almost like a bonus.

They are surrounded by a bevy of beautiful dancers, both female and male, who tirelessly hoof their way through high-energy choreography. The guys especially are among the best dancers I've ever seen in Vegas and certainly leagues above what you would normally expect in a show of this size.

The whole thing is backed by a live band that expertly maneuvers the changing genres, whether it be the jazzy syncopation of Dean Martin's "Mambo Italiano," the smooth R&B of "Midnight Train to Georgia," the pulsating rock of "Proud Mary," or the funky grooves of EW&F's "Shining Star."

In between these big set pieces are a series of variety acts that may change from time to time but on the evening I saw the show included a pair of veteran tap dancing brothers who brought the house down with their loose-limbed, classic style; a magician who has more birds up his sleeve than could be possible; and a comedian who got several good belly laughs out of the audience.

By the time the whole thing wraps up with Elton John's "Rocket Man" while a video of historic Vegas plays, it's hard not to get a little choked up by the nostalgia. It almost makes you wish that we had those "good old days" back again.

But as I mentioned at the beginning, the good old days weren't all that good in a lot of ways. Vegas! The Show succeeds by picking out the best parts of yesterday's Vegas entertainment and wrapping it up in a fast-paced, fun, and frothy package.

That's what Vegas entertainment should be.

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