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‘Blanc de Blanc’ ready to test the waters on Las Vegas Strip

Updated August 15, 2019 - 6:55 pm

Laura New, associate choreographer and cast member of “Blanc de Blanc” is asked what is the show about, exactly?

”It’s a cabaret, circus comedy,” she says, after a few moments’ thought. “There is lots of dance, lots of skin, lots of hilarious moments.”

There you have the in-house synopsis of the production opening for previews at 7 p.m. Friday at SLS Las Vegas. The show’s performance space is Blanc de Blanc Theatre, formerly the Foundry and, prior to that, Life nightclub. The hotel of course will be known as Sahara by the fall. The venue the show has used as rehearsal space is Club 101, formerly known as The Sayers Club.

Importantly, the show will not share space with any incoming production — “Magic Mike Live” is being planned for the hotel’s convention space. The show has worked feverishly to load into the old Foundry space to become the first residency production at the hotel in the Meruelo Entertainment era.

The show is created by Australia’s independent Strut & Fret Production House, which has its hand in multiple touring productions, including the original’s sequel, “Blanc de Blanc Encore.”

The productions feature connected sequences of dance numbers and acrobatic acts and aerial performances. Extended versions have been performed at Sydney Opera House, London’s West End, the Brisbane Festival, Adelaide Festival, the Hippodrome in London and Paradise Island Resort in the Bahamas.

The show has been rumored to play Las Vegas for at least a couple of years before landing at SLS Las Vegas, entering into talks with new owner Alex Meruelo more than a year ago.

“It’s exciting being here, at this property,” show creator and director Scott Maidment says. “Every day when you walk the hallways you see something different. We are a major part of that evolution, and a major part of that is naming the theater for us and giving us our own space.”

Changes at SLS are bubbling over like bubbles in a hot tub, and “Blanc de Blanc” will have that, too. Three of them, actually, unveiled after the midpoint of the 75-minute show. One will be occupied by the cast, especially debonair maitre’d Monsieur Romeo, a French-Italian stage presence who uses that name in the show and in life. The other two tubs are for VIPs ticket-holders.

“Blanc de Blanc” is a show designed to build from a refined starting point with a “Cigarette Song” ensemble piece and rolling into a rowdy cabaret party. Hip-hop with a burlesque twist, is another of the show’s internal references. “Blanc” is up and around and all over the room. Reviewers have called it a “saucy soiree,” with barely concealed artists unleashing a series of sexual innuendos balanced by acrobatics and contemporary dance.

It fits Vegas, says Romeo, because, “This is a great platform to showcase your talent. We’ve been dong it for 3 1/2 years, in different cities, different crowds, and somehow we have developed a big family that loves drama.”

Cast member Spencer Novich is a familiar figure in Vegas entertainment circles, having performed previously in Cirque’s “Ka” at MGM Grand and Spiegelworld’s “Vegas Nocturne” at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. He refers to himself as “the idiot co-host, who is in charge of a little bit of the chaos.”

“We’re running around and doing everything at the same time,” Novich says. “It feels less like a traditional act-host-act-host-show than a show where anyone can be doing anything at anytime. There is no structure to fall back on, never know what can happen next.”

The show’s lead choreographer, Kevin Maher, has worked with Madonna, Britney Spears and Justin Bieber. Costume designer James Browne has worked on such musical productions as “Cabaret,” “Ghost” and “Xanadu.” Danish EDM artist Kenneth Bager is assembling the soundtrack.

Maidment says he has enough material for another new title, a show not yet performed, at what will be the new Sahara. But first things first. In its new home, “Blanc de Blanc” needs to tread water before it can swim.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats! podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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