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Coming to Broadway: Kristin Chenoweth stars in a wild tale with LV ties

Updated March 28, 2024 - 12:51 pm

Broadway comes to Las Vegas eight to 10 times a year thanks to The Smith Center. Now, a little bit of Las Vegas is on its way to Broadway.

“The Queen of Versailles,” a musical based on the 2012 documentary about Westgate founder David Siegel, who purchased the former Las Vegas Hilton in 2014, and his wife, Jackie, is getting a tryout this summer in Boston with an absolutely stacked group of names involved.

Tony winner Kristin Chenoweth will portray Jackie, and Stephen Schwartz (“Godspell,” “Pippin”) has written the music. The last time those two worked together was on a little musical called “Wicked.” Oscar winner F. Murray Abraham will portray David Siegel. Michael Arden, the reigning Tony winner for “Parade,” will direct.

The documentary followed the Siegels — not to be confused with the Siegels of Siegel Suites, Pinkbox Doughnuts and Bagelmania fame — as they were building the largest single-family home in America.

The family was “bursting out of the seams” of their Orlando mansion with its 26,000 square feet and 17 bathrooms, Jackie says in the documentary. The under-construction mega-mansion was inspired by France’s Palace of Versailles. “We kind of copied the top three floors of the Paris (Las Vegas) hotel,” David says.

Then the Great Recession hit, and the family had to scale back their lifestyle that made those of the various “Real Housewives” look subdued. Some of the indignities included flying coach, laying off most of the household staff and stepping in the dog poo that lingered on the floor as a result.

The key battle, though, was to save the newly opened PH Towers Westgate on the Strip.

Chenoweth and Schwartz recently debuted the first song from “The Queen of Versailles,” and it also has a Las Vegas connection.

It’s from early in the show when a teenage Jackie was living in Upstate New York and longing for a better life somewhere else.

“Every Friday night,” Schwartz told the audience at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, “she and her parents gather around their television set, and they watch ‘Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.’ ”

The song, “Caviar Dreams,” is inspired by “champagne wishes and caviar dreams,” the signature phrase of “Lifestyles” host and late Review-Journal columnist Robin Leach.

Chenoweth sings: “Where I wanna be seems farther than those distant stars / Far from those auto lots, chain restaurants and poolroom bars / Where another kind of lifestyle gleams / With champagne wishes and caviar dreams.”

The world premiere run of “The Queen of Versailles” is scheduled July 16 to Aug. 18 at Boston’s Emerson Colonial Theatre.

Contact Christopher Lawrence at clawrence@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4567. Follow @life_onthecouch on X.

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