Thursday, October 14, 2010

Las Vegas (Part Three): Phantom and Peepshow

I am going to wrap up my trip to Vegas with this last post, dedicated to the final two shows I saw during my time there.

Phantom of the Opera
The Venetian

The Phantom has a buzz about it on the strip.  There is a ton of signage proudly displaying that it was voted best show in Las Vegas.  Also, most of the signage says "Phantom: Be Seduced", so I was expecting the "sex appeal" of the show to be enhanced.  What I found out is that the show is condensed into a 95 minute, no intermission format, but that there really are not any other "twists".  It still includes every song from the original Andrew Lloyd Webber version, but most of the songs are shortened.  Some of the pure dialogue scenes (which are good to lay the foundation) are cut as well.

I first saw this show in 1996 in London with my dad and step family.  It was a summer vacation before my 6th grade year in a new school and I am so thankful for the experience.  I hadn't met anyone in my new town yet, so this was the most well timed 3-week vacation ever.  We also saw Oliver and another show (whose name I can't recall).  Even though I was a mere 12 years old, I remember the power in the performers' voices as well as their dedication to the acting subtleties.  Although I've never seen it on Broadway, I would presume it would be a similar display of perfection.

I believe the Vegas show would be great for someone who hasn't seen it in London or on Broadway.  It is truly "Vegas-ized", with more special effects and less of the "slower" scenes.  The chandelier, which is introduced to the audience in the very beginning of the performance, is the special effect highlight.  The suspended pieces of the chandelier are first dissembled, but then come together as one high above the audience.  In a very fitting dramatic display, it then comes barreling down on the audience (stopping short of course)
The rest of the show is very good.  I would say the voices of the big three, the Phantom, Christine and Raoul, were solid.  Christine was the best.  I found myself somewhat disappointed with the Phantom, especially considering the program highlighted his many accolades including a Tony.  I thought he did not project well and his voice was a bit strained on some of the more climatic songs.  Perhaps I missed it in the program and we saw the understudy?  Nonetheless, as we were leaving the theater, I heard many people recounting the performance as unbelievable.  Like I said above, seems like a great first exposure to Phantom but may leave those who have seen it in London/Broadway a little underwhelmed.

Peepshow, starring Holly Madison
Planet Hollywood
Can you tell whose pick this one was?  The funnier thing was that we squeezed both the Phantom and this show in on the same night.  Talk about a difference in scenery.  Despite how it could be perceived, I thought this show was very well done.  It definitely modernizes the traditional Vegas burlesque show.  It brings to life fresh interpretations of classic children's nursery rhymes (such as the three little pigs, Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater, Rub a Dub Dub, etc.).  Not every song related to a nursery rhyme, but that was the general theme.

Ms. Holly Madison stars as Miss Bo Peep.  A video intro depicts Holly as a shy, career-driven woman by day and a lonely, man-less woman by night.  She falls asleep one night and dreams that she is Bo Peep.

Her dream is MC'd by the Peep Diva.  She presides over a cast of beautiful women that take ownership over their own sexuality to try to show Bo Peep the error of her ways.  The Peep Diva brings a lot of personality and a great singing voice to the show.  She is flanked by 2 other female singers and one male vocalist.  The male vocalist was terrible, bordering on shrill.  Dave and I continually looked at each other whenever he opened his mouth to sing and contemplated heading for the door.

Holly's role in the beginning of the show is basically just to sit around and watch the other ladies dance to their own numbers.  While she is "taking it all in" she isn't revealing any skin.  It isn't until about mid-way through the show that Holly plays a more significant role.  The Peep Diva encourages her to find a man right there in the audience.  The selected guy is brought up on stage and asked a few questions.  Our guy, Timber, ended up being hilarious.  Dave was right when he said the guy was stealing the show at one point.  His discomfort on being on stage just added to the hilarity.  At one point, the Peep Diva said that in order for him to be Peep's man, he would need to touch her breasts to make sure he wasn't a dud.  When he proceeded to look completely in the other direction while barely grazing her left boob, the Peep Diva was all over him.  "EXCUSE MEEE....have you ever even TOUCHED a woman's breast before little man?"  After a pause, Timber reluctantly whispered into the microphone...."not in front of my mom...."  Haha!

Throughout the show, the numbers got better.  The ladies were beautiful, topless or not.  The costumes were great and the music was solid.  By the end, Holly was a "saved" woman, successful but also not sexually inhibited.  She was out there with the rest of the Peep Diva's ladies owning the stage.  Are you curious to know if she ended up showing some skin?  You'll just have to head over to Planet Hollywood yourself to be sure.


  1. Yes, I am very curious now....great choice on the Peep show Dave!

  2. I've heard a lot about Peep Show. Kelly Monaco from General Hospital was part of the cast not to long ago (yes I watch soaps). I kind of want to see it...

  3. Ahh! I watch General Hospital too! It's definitely a "vice" of mine that my boyfriend hates. Lol. I saw a picture of Kelly on the Hall of Fame in Planet Hollywood. I should have guessed it related to Peepshow!