Tag Archives: choreography

Emmys Honor Las Vegas Entertainers

Although the Emmy awards tomorrow won’t involve Las Vegas nominees for the CBS prime-time ceremonies, they were included in the prior Creative Arts ceremonies on Sept. 12 in Los Angeles.  Las Vegas Backstage Access takes time out to honor their contributions. 

PennandTeller2Emmy nominations honored Rio headliners Penn & Teller, left, and stage designer Andy Walmsley,Andy Walmsley right. Penn Jillette and Teller — along with writer Michael Goudeau, who also performs with Lance Burton — were nominated for Outstanding Writing for Nonfiction Programming for their Showtime series “Bullshit!” The “New Age Medicine” episode was singled out in the series that devotes each half-hour to debunking its selected topic.  

The series also was nominated for its editing, though Jillette and Teller were not personally nominated in that category. The series has been nominated 13 times previously, five for writing and four for overall nods in the reality category. In its seventh season, it is Showtime’s longest-running series. 

Walmsley’s set for “American Idol” was nominated for Outstanding Art Direction for Variety, Music Or Nonfiction Programming. 

The British set designer moved to Las Vegas four years ago and his recent work includes the sets for Mirage headliner Terry Fator and Flamingo magician Nathan Burton. It’s his third Emmy nomination (same category, all for “Idol”). 

Walmsley also is launching a Web site for Las Vegas entertainment professionals: www.vegasliveshowpro.com.

 Although not Las Vegas-based, David Rockwell — the ubiquitous designer who created the sets for “Peepshow,” the custom theater for “Phantom” and retail-restaurant space at CityCenter — is competing against Walmsley. Rockwell is nominated for his stage design for the Academy Awards.

Los Angeles-based choreographers Napoleon and Tabitha D’Umo, both graduates of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, were also nominated for Outstanding Choreography for “So You Think You Can Dance,” as was Mia Michaels, who chroeographed Celine Dion’s “A New Day.”

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Dance in the Desert Festival in Las Vegas

The 11th annual Dance in the Desert Festival is coming to Las Vegas.  The roster includes local and visiting dance artists presenting cutting edge choreography and stirring works to delight every dance aficionado.

In 1999 the first annual Las Vegas Dance in the Desert Festival was co-founded and co-directed by Kyla Quintero and Kelly Roth, with the ambition to restore dance to a primary position in the artistic life of the city of Las Vegas. The Festival offers a broad spectrum of choreographic visions and approaches, from expressionism to post-modernism to neo-romanticism, and a diverse selection of genres drawing on traditions from Africa, Europe, and American original and hybrid forms, featuring companies from around the world, across the United States, neighboring states of California and Arizona, as well as Nevada’s own exceptional talent.

Participants tentatively scheduled to appear in this year’s festival include: Nannette Brodie Dance Theatre, Metropolitan Ballet Company, and Moving Arts Dance from California; Desert Dance Theatre, Junk Funk, and Canyon Movement Company from Arizona; Solaris Dance Theater;  Catherine Schaeffer from Georgia; Matthew Farmer from Michigan; Cathy Allen, Freedom Dance Company, Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theater, Kravenko Youth Ballet, Debra Lacey Teresa Martinez, Ballet Mink Colbert, Petrina Olson, Cooper Rust, Westwood and Dancers, Concert Dance Company, CSN Dance Ensemble, and Kelly Roth & Dancers– all from Las Vegas.

The Dance in the Desert Festival is on July 31 at 7:30 p.m. and August 1 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the Nicholas J. Horn Theatre, located on the CSN Cheyenne Campus in North Las Vegas.  Prices are $10 for general admission; $8 for seniors/students.

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Changing of the Guard for Las Vegas Burlesque Shows

In Las Vegas the only real certainty is uncertainty itself.  Entertainment acts change, shows come and go.  And G-string revues are as much a part of the Las Vegas entertainment fabric as gambling itself.  Some say they harken way back to the days of the Dunes Hotel & Casino where it was fashionable to head out and watch the glamorous shows.  Fast forward to today, even the hugely popular sex goddess and entrepreneur Tera Patrick is contemplating a switch from a steady diet of porn to burlesque in Las Vegas. 

Following the footsteps of “Lido” that closed in 1991 after 32 years, this Saturday, March 28 after 49 years the iconic “Folies Bergere” burlesque revue at the Tropicana in Las Vegas will sadly go dark forever after performing 29,000 shows- along with the feathered showgirls the the style, spirit, and very essence of classic Las Vegas entertainment.  

But, even if you’re not one of the lucky 100 people that got a ticket for the final Folies show or one of the 750 invited guests and alumni, there’s still hope.

You can still watch  sexy cabaret revues like “Fantasy,” “Crazy Girls,” “X Burlesque,’ or the full-blown old-Vegas style revue “Jubilee!,” that’s been going since 1981.   Then there is  the female attraction of  “Men of X at Hooters.”  

But if you are game for a brand new Las Vegas burlesque treat you might want to catch the first previews of “Peepshow” that start on March 30 and run through April 17 at Planet Hollywood.  Billed as a “modern contemporary burlesque” the sexy show features Scary Spice Girl Mel B. (Melanie Brown) and “Dancing With the Stars” champion Kelly Monaco, who also played on “General Hospital” and posed for Playboy- watching them perform alone is worth the price of admission – and a cast of 29 principals, tightly choreographed dancers, and a band of all female musicians.  peepshow

Neither Mel B nor Monaco will be topless, but several of the dancers will be for the cabaret show.  Mel B plays Peep Diva, the mistress of the ceremonies, and Monaco is Bo Peep, who falls asleep in a short movie that starts the show. 

Broadway director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell says, “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 arte of striptease to tell a story.” 

BASE is producing the Las Vegas show.  Architect David Rockwell (“Phantom, the Las Vegas Spectacular”) designed the lavish set.  And Greg Barnes, who won a Tony Award for “The Drowsy Chaperone,” is creating the costumes. 

The music includes Michael Bubble’s “Feeling Good,” Connie Francis’ “Teddy,” Madonna’s “Hung Up,” and original tunes by Andrew Lippa. 

“We took the bones of what I created in New York and tailored it for the Las Vegas market,” says Mitchell. “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 else about the show.  

“I don’t want to be coy, but isn’t that the fun of striptease- what you don’t see as opposed to what you see?” says Mitchell.  “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.  It’s about how you take it off.”

Tickets range from $65 to $100 and previews for the tale with a tease start on Monday, March 30 through April 17 at the showroom at Planet Hollywood Resort in Las Vegas (702-785-5000).

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