Adult-only ‘Showgirls’ spoof promises to be better than the original — PHOTOS

The poster promises “The Most Important Theatrical Event in the History of Western Civilization.”

An ambitious Shakespeare cycle? A radical reinterpretation of “Oedipus Rex”? The debut of a world-shattering new playwright?

No, something far more momentous: “Showgirls the Musical.”

A musical parody of the 1995 movie, the all-singing, all-lapdancing “Showgirls” begins a month-long run Thursday at the Onyx Theatre. It’s not the first “Showgirls” spoof to hit the stage.

But the Onyx “Showgirls” boasts one element parodies elsewhere have lacked, writer-director Troy Heard points out.

“The difference,” he says, is that “we have real Vegas showgirls.”

Kady Heard (yes, she’s married to the director), who plays “Showgirls’ ” central character — innocent drifter-turned-Vegas vixen Nomi Malone — spent two years in Bally’s “Jubilee!”

Fellow cast members Claudia Cervenka and Socorro Jones have performed in “Jubilee!” and “An Evening at La Cage,” respectively. (Costume designer Cari Byers also has showgirl cred as a former cast member of the Tropicana’s long-running, long-gone “Folies Bergere.”)

And these real Vegas showgirls deliver “a lot better acting” than their movie counterparts, Heard contends.

Of course, that wouldn’t be difficult, considering the musical’s instant-trash-classic inspiration — source material that “we’re treating like a Greek tragedy,” Heard says.

A Greek tragedy with such strut-your-stuff numbers as “Thrust,” featuring new lyrics by Second City alum Derek Shipman (who teaches improv at the Onyx) to familiar Prince tunes.

“There’s just something about Prince,” Heard explains, “and dirty glitz and glam.”

That helps explains why, and how, Prince’s beguiling “Raspberry Beret” has metamorphosed into the theme song of the Stardust show where Cristal Connors (Amanda Kraft) reigns supreme — at least until ambitious newcomer Nomi arrives on the scene.

With cheeky lyrics about “looking mighty fine in a chorus line,” Cristal welcomes audiences to “the kind of show you come to Vegas for.”

In the movie, that show was called “Goddess.” In “Showgirls the Musical,” it has a new title: “Bitches.”

And an audition number features casino mogul and producer Tony Moss (Stephen R. Sisson) advising “Bitches” hopefuls, to the tune of Prince’s “Kiss,” with these reassuring lyrics: “You don’t have to read, you don’t have to be good … “

As Moss reminds the wannabe dancers, “It’s called ‘Bitches,’ it ain’t called ‘Classy.’ “

Truer words were never spoken — but that’s the point, demonstrated yet again when Nomi and Cristal have an intimate tete-a-tete in the latter’s dressing room.

“If someone gets in your way, step on ’em,” Cristal tells Nomi. (To which we would add one thing: Watch your back, girl — or haven’t you ever seen “All Above Eve”?)

From its made-for-parody plotline to its sleazetastic Vegas setting, “Showgirls the Musical” echoes its cinematic source, according to Heard.

Even with a few composite characters and compressed sequences, “we actually try to tell the story,” he says — a story he calls “the quintessential Vegas story,” with small-town dreamers “coming to Vegas to reinvent themselves.”

Although the “Showgirls” transformation from cult movie to stage spoof “came together very fast,” “finding the tone was difficult,” Heard acknowledges, especially because the original “Showgirls” already plays like a parody — of itself.

In addition, “dramaturgically, Nomi’s a difficult character,” he explains, because things happen to her — rather than because of her — for much of the show.

Many of those things — from the notorious strip club where Nomi gets her start (“Fleshdance,” anyone?) to the even more notorious swimming pool hookup between Nomi and Cristal’s boyfriend — are staged in “enormously interactive” style, Heard promises.

Accordingly, he expects seats in the Onyx’s first two VIP rows to be quite popular, despite a $5 surcharge. (There’s no theatrical equivalent to the movie’s NC-17 rating, but “Showgirls the Musical” definitely qualifies as adults-only.)

Turning “Showgirls” into “Showgirls the Musical” required repeated viewings of the original by both Heard and Shipman, who as a result developed some strange symptoms — from Stockholm Syndrome (in which kidnap victims form an emotional attachment to their abductors) to Shakespeare Comparison Syndrome.

“It reminds me of ‘Measure for Measure,’ ” Heard says of “Showgirls,” drawing a connection between the Bard’s morally knotty tale set in a vice-ridden Vienna, where “the bawd and the pimp are more moral than the duke and his second-in-command,” the puritanical hypocrite Angelo. Just as the characters as the club where Nomi gets her Sin City start “are a lot more moral” than the Stardust powers-that-be.

Even so, “they’re all morally reprehensible,” Heard says of “Showgirls’ ” over-the-top characters — or, more precisely, caricatures.

Except perhaps for Molly (Natalie Senecal), Nomi’s seamstress roommate, who takes in the new-to-town dreamer after their first encounter — a catfight in the Riviera parking lot.

That’s almost as good a meet-cute as Troy and Kady shared “at opening night of a show of mine,” Heard recalls. (They’ve been married three years.)

“A year and a half prior” to that fateful first meeting, however, Heard had “gone on a date” — with someone else — to see “Jubilee!” Which means, as Heard notes, “I’d seen her boobs before we ever met.”

And if that’s not a quintessential change-your-life Vegas story, neither is “Showgirls the Musical.”

For more stories from Carol Cling go to bestoflasvegas.com. Contact her at ccling@reviewjournal.com and follow @CarolSCling on Twitter.

Entertainment Videos
Sadelle’s in Las Vegas makes a grilled cheese with an inverted bagel
Michael Vargas, executive sous chef at Sadelle’s at Bellagio in Las Vegas, inverts an everything bagel and grills it with Swiss, cheddar and Muenster cheeses to make the Inverted Bagel Grilled Cheese. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Tattoo'd America invites you to have fun and take pictures
Kassandra Lopez at Tattoo'd America invites you to have fun and take pictures. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making gluten-free pizza at Good Pie in Las Vegas
Good Pie owner/pizzaiola Vincent Rotolo makes his gluten-free pizza.
Rockabilly fans enjoy Las Vegas weather poolside
Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender runs Thursday, April 18th through Sunday, April 21st with a huge car show on Saturday featuring The Reverend Horton Heat, The Delta Bombers and The Coasters. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Brownie sundae at VegeNation in Las Vegas is completely vegan
Donald Lemperle, chef/owner of VegeNation in Las Vegas and nearby Henderson, NV, makes his sundae with ice cream made with coconut and almond milks, a brownie made with coconut flour and oil and organic sugar and cacao, and fresh fruit. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Taste of the Town: Henderson Booze District
Those who like to support local businesses and sample local products will find the best concentration in an unlikely spot: a Henderson industrial park.
Founder of Las Vegas theater talks about a favorite play
Ann Marie Pereth, founder of A Public Fit Theatre Company, speaks to the Review-Journal about which play she would see every day if only given one option. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N interactive exhibit
The new exhibit features original and recreated props and plenty of interactive features. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Writer's Block and Lucy are open in Las Vegas
The Writer's Block and Lucy are open in Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas ice cream shop offers everything in the kitchen sink
Have you ever wanted to eat an ice cream sundae out of a kitchen sink? Who hasn't, right? At Sloan's, located inside the Venetian, you can do just that. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Maxie’s in Las Vegas puts eggs Benedict in a box
Chef David Mangual at Maxie’s in The Linq Promenade in Las Vegas makes his eggs Benedict in a brioche “box” layered with spinach, bacon and tomatoes and topped with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caviar Twinkie Served at Stripsteak in Las Vegas
Stripsteak Executive Pastry Chef Vivian Chang and Chef Gerald Chin create a novel savory food item that looks like a familiar sweet treat at the restaurant in Las Vegas. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
NAB attendees battle to qualify for Fortnite event
NAB is sponsoring an online video game event with Epic Games’ Fortnite allowing attendees to qualify to go head to head with top players. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Arctic Shrimp Sandwich at Saga near Las Vegas
Chef Gert Kvalsund, a native of Norway, founded Saga Pastry + Sandwich in Henderson to give Scandinavians a taste of home. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Guy Fieri and Sammy Hagar talk UNLVino
Guy Fieri and Sammy Hagar talk about the upcoming UNLVino vent. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Christie Brinkley at Smith & Wollensky
Christie Brinkley, in town for her run in “Chicago” at the Venetian Theatre, paid a visit to the Grand Canal Shoppes’ still-under-construction Smith Wollensky on Monday for a ceremonial first toast at the bar. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Two artists create a mural for peace in Las Vegas
2 artists create a mural for peace in Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside Kaos nightclub and dayclub
A look at new club at Palms.
CinemaCon Brings Theater Professionals To Caesars
CinemaCon is not just celebs, it's also a place where theater owners can browse the latest in seats, projectors and concessions. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas restaurants provide a taste of ballpark food
The Las Vegas Ballpark, home to the Las Vegas Aviators, will serve food from Giada De Laurentiis and a team of favorite local restaurants. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Taste of the Town: Bobby Flay Opens Shark at the Palms - VIDEO
Bobby Flay opens Shark at the Palms; his first high-end restaurant in 15 years.
Chef Marc Marrone at T-Mobile Arena
Chef Marc Marrone has opened a bao cart at T-Mobile Arena. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio fountains celebrate 'Game of Thrones'
A medley of the theme for HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and the song “Winter Is Here” from the show premiered at the Bellagio Fountains water show on the Las Vegas Strip on Sunday, March 31, 2019. The new number will run in rotation through April 13. The series premieres its eighth and final series on April 14. (Mick Akers/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegan Aunt Chippy talks about being on Jimmy Kimmel's show
Concetta Potenza, Aunt “Chippy” to Jimmy Kimmel, talks about her first time being featured on her nephew’s show. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The "Flight Unknown" At Bar Centro at Bazaar Meats Las Vegas Features 5 Innovative Cocktails
The "Flight Unknown" At Bar Centro At Bazaar Meats Las Vegas Features 5 Innovative Cocktails (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cotton candy crowns pancakes in Las Vegas
At Maxie’s at The Linq Promenade in Las Vegas, executive chef David Mangual fills pancakes with fruit and cream cheese and piles on pastel cotton candy, which is melted in a stream of chocolate syrup. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Bananas Foster Pancakes go up in flames at The Stove near Las Vegas
Chef Antonio Nunez at The Stove in Henderson, near Las Vegas, flames the pancakes tableside for a fiery presentation. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
El Loco Rollercoaster at Circus Circus' Adventuredome
The El Loco rollercoaster opened at the Circus Circus' Adventuredome in February 2014. It features a 90-foot ascent, followed by a drop that produces a negative 1.5 "verticle G," a 180-degree turn, and reverse 240-degree roll that turns into an inverted drop. The coaster reaches a maximum speed of 45 mph and is the only indoor coaster of it's kind in the U.S., and is the second indoor El Loco coaster in the world, according to MGM Resorts.
Bartending flair competition at the Nightclub & Bar Show
Highlights from the ten contestants who competed for the Shake It Up Flair and Classic Competition at the Nightclub & Bar Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @rookie__rae
Justin Kingsley Hall shares details on his next gig
Chef Justin Kinglsey hall shares some details about the newArts District restaurant he's developing with Kim Owens. (Al Mancini/Las Vegs Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
Home Front Page Footer Listing