To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
-Steve Prefontaine
Make it simple, but significant.
- Don Draper

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

VEGAS! The Show


1994 - sophomore - 15 years old
Before I review VEGAS! The Show at Planet Hollywood, let's - just like the show does - start out in Vegas of days gone by. My first visit to Las Vegas was when I was in the 10th grade. Starlight Express, my all time favorite musical, was at the Las Vegas Hilton and I HAD to go. My dad and I went down for a long weekend to see the show and were maybe 5 rows back, dead center in a theater specifically made for Starlight Express. I don't even know if it was 30 seconds in when I was completely covered in goose bumps and told my dad we were coming back! As soon as the show ended we went to the box office to buy tickets to see it again before we went home. We ended up going back to Las Vegas again to see it when it was announced the show would be coming to an end. During my first Walt Disney World College Program we didn't have cable TV, and internet? What was that?!? Our idea of entertainment was watching the Weather Channel. So it was often that I was cranking up Starlight Express (the Vegas cast recording), singing and dancing my way around our Vista Way apartment pretending to be a train. I just wanted to be Pearl. Reva Rice was Pearl in Vegas and I absolutely loved her and her voice. That first time I heard her was in, now I'll age myself, 1994. The Strip in 1994? Nothing like it is today! New York New York is considered old now, and at the time it was just a piece of flat, undeveloped dirt! So 1994 is where this begins. Let's jump to 2014!

MGM From the Tropicana. NYNY is now across the street and that lion is long gone!
Oh my gosh, that was TWENTY YEARS AGO???

I fully admit I crashed my family's trip to Las Vegas this year. My mom, step-dad and grandpa were going and I figured why not stop on in before Ragnar? Mom and I decided it would be fun to have the whole family going to a show together. Jubilee was on a hiatus when we were planning so we picked out VEGAS! The Show at Planet Hollywood - I have a soft spot for PH since that's where we got married last year. Showgirls, Vegas nostalgia, the Neon Graveyard, the Rat Pack, Elton John ... this was a show made for me!

We got there early and they were awesome and let us walk up to the entrance early to give Grandpa some time. That let us hear the big finale of the Beatles show that was just ending! Soon it was time to go in and my jaw dropped when we walked to our seats. Second row, again dead center. I booked these tickets on my phone at lunch one day - and chose VIP seating, I had no idea it really meant VIP! Wedged between Man Friend and Grandpa, I was giddy and ready!



Josh Strickland. Eye Candy!
The curtain lifts and before us is an unlit Neon Graveyard.Our host comes out and welcomes us. With a flash the lights go up and the music starts. Hello goose bumps! From there it is non-stop! Singing, dancing, a live band on stage. And not some cheesy band, but a piano, trumpets, drums, bongos, saxophones, a legit "big band". The singing, oh the singing! It was this spectacle that I was immediately in love with. I LOVE old school Vegas, so seeing the Rat Pack come to life was pretty damn cool. "Wayne Newton" came out (and frankly sang way better than Wayne does now.) and perhaps the seating was the reason, or my overall beauty (ha!), but Wayne and I had "a moment". It didn't hurt that "Wayne" was pretty easy on the eyes! Later on "Tom Jones" even sang to me about my pussy cat nose! Man Friend loved the Can-Can Girls the best! I don't even know my favorite part. If you're wondering what music you get, here's a small run-down based on the CD that I am now listening to! Frank, Dean, Sammy, Wayne, Tom, Lena, Ella, Judy, Elvis, Sonny, Cher, Gladys, Tina, Elton .... if you know them by their first name then you know it's a soundtrack worth listening to!


Oh, and for the guys there are the showgirls. There are thongs. And happily NO boobies! It was completely family friendly ... which was nice since I was with the fam! Oh my gosh, I almost forgot! There were a few acts in between song and dance numbers. Acrobatics, comedy, magic. I seriously almost snorted a couple of times. This is something I can't even describe, you just have to see it!


Something clicked during the show. I started recognizing faces and realized perhaps I've seen too many Vegas shows. Remember "Wayne"? - who was also Elton and other characters .... that cutie was none other than Josh Strickland - for those of you that watched Holly's World on E! - he was Holly Madison's BFF! But that wasn't THE excitement that I had and was dying to tell my mom .... For 20 years I've been singing along with Starlight Express - the VEGAS version ... and I've loved Reva Rice's voice. Who was the start of VEGAS! The Show?? That voice I've loved!!! Reva freaking Rice!! 20 years later and here she is again!! 

The show ended to a standing ovation! We exited and bought our group photo. I also picked up the CD and then there she was. Reva was right there!! For 20 years I've wanted to be her, and this time I didn't miss my shot. I actually got to talk to her and tell her how I've been singing with her for years and how great she is and how much I loved the show. She was so sweet, it made my entire Vegas weekend!

In conclusion ... go see it. If you like classic Vegas you will LOVE the show!


6 comments:

  1. Holy crap that is cool!! I was never dedicated enough to find out who was singing my favorite parts, but that is amazing you got a surprise chance to meet her!! I haven't seen starlight express, I'll have to find it playing somewhere and go since I'm a musical-holic too :)

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    1. If it ever plays down by you I am coming to visit!

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  2. OMG...Starlight Express! I thought I was the only one on the planet who remembered that show. I have a soundtrack album on tape. That's how old it is.

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    1. Wow! On tape, that's awesome!!

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  3. That is so cool that you did the Disney college program! We'll be in Vegas for the RnR marathon in November. I am definitely excited to see a show now!

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    1. Have fun in Vegas!! I did RnR in 2011 and although I got sick and it was chaos .... it was pure awesome!!!

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