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Impersonator balances humor, sentiment in ‘Eyecons’ drag show

An unusually entertaining "one man many women" drag show has been held over at the Onyx Theatre for an indefinite period. "Christopher Peterson’s Eyecons" opened in January and was scheduled to close Feb. 26, but remains onboard.

Peterson gives us the impersonations we expect (Liza, Judy, Marilyn, Bette Davis) and a couple we don’t (Lucille Ball, Julie Andrews). But his skill goes beyond impersonation. He knows how to put together a show. He balances humor with sentiment, and achieves an easy, chummy rapport with his audience. Amazingly, he does all his own singing. How the sounds of Bette Midler and Julie Andrews can come from the mouth of the same person is anyone’s guess.

I’m told, though, that the show has slacked off at the box office and may not last much longer. Hard to believe. Peterson is a major artist and deserves a long run (more info: onyxtheatre.com). …

For those who can’t make it to New York to catch the 2010 Tony Award-winning Best Musical "Memphis," fate is going to be kind. NCM Fathom and Broadway Worldwide will broadcast nationwide four digital performances of the still-running-on-Broadway show in April and May. What’s surprising is that this time Vegas is going to be included. Among the theaters that have signed on: Century 16 South Point, Galaxy Cannery, Colonnade 14, Orleans 18, Sam’s Town 18, Santa Fe Station 16 and Village Square 18.

"Memphis" isn’t traditional Broadway. It’s about a 1950s rock ‘n’ roll underground DJ who runs into trouble when he falls in love with a black singer.

The broadcast will feature high definition, surround sound and behind-the-scenes footage.

If the event is successful, we may be seeing a lot more current Broadway musicals on local big screens. Since local playhouses tend to produce the same old songfests, these showings are particularly valuable to those of us tired of seeing "Fiddler on the Roof" and "Annie" every season.

Announced dates are April 28, April 30, May 1 and May 3. Not all theaters are showing the film all four performances, so be sure to check fathomevents.com for schedule and ticket info. …

How long is too short a show? Lately, I’ve been noticing a trend with some local playhouses of presenting productions as brief as 30 minutes. When I see these miniproductions (that charge full admission prices), I wonder if the producers understand what it takes to get to a theater.

Most of us shower beforehand, get dressed, drive some distance (or take a bus), perhaps hire a baby sitter — all this for 30 minutes of entertainment? Unlike television, where a 30-minute sitcom is perfectly acceptable, going to the theater is an event that requires work. And the payoff should be not just a good play, but an evening that engages us for a reasonable length of time.

Part of this problem is sheer laziness. If a theater has a short script it desperately wants to do, then it’s only fair (and smart business) to pair the script with another. I don’t know how many times I’ve watched an audience remain seated at the end of a brief production because, apparently, they couldn’t believe the show was already over. Thirty minutes is just wrong.

Anthony Del Valle can be reached at vegastheaterchat@aol.com. You can write him c/o Las Vegas Review-Journal, P.O. Box 70, Las Vegas, NV 89125.

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