Marilyn Monroe musical to open on Las Vegas Strip in May

Updated April 2, 2018 - 8:58 pm

We’re about to see just how many gentlemen — and women — prefer blondes.

“Marilyn! The New Musical,” an original production about the life of Marilyn Monroe and her younger life as Norma Jean Baker, opens for previews May 23 at Paris Theater at Paris Las Vegas.

The show’s grand opening is June 1, which would have been Monroe’s 92nd birthday.

Two years in development, “Marilyn” runs a Strip-friendly 90 minutes with no intermission, and begins at 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. As previously reported, the show is staged in the 1,200-seat theater that was formerly home to “Jersey Boys” and, currently, the pyrotechnic spectacle “Inferno.” Tickets start at $49 (not including fees) and go on sale 10 a.m. Friday.

The production is a partnership between Tegan Summer, chief executive officer of Prospect House Entertainment, and Authentic Brands Group, which owns the Estate of Marilyn Monroe. Thus, this is a licensed, fully authorized account of Monroe’s life.

The show’s star is fit for the task. Ruby Lewis, late of “Baz — A Musical Mashup” at Palazzo Theater, who dazzled audiences with her powerhouse voice (and Monroe-esque appearance) in that show and also Cirque du Soleil’s “Paramour” on Broadway.

Summer showcased the production at The Space in August. He is clearly banking on the universal appeal of Monroe’s name and image to sell tickets in a city where even Elvis Presley (whose licensed show flopped after a five-week run at Westgate Las Vegas in May 2015) has struggled to fill a theater. But Summer is well-resourced and well-connected in his many licensing deals, including the estates of Bettie Page, another new musical to hit town by the end of the year, and James Dean.

The show is musically ambitious, filled with 20 original songs from Summer and Gregory Nabours. Summer knows talent, too, having recruited a team of Vegas entertainment all-stars to perform in “Marilyn.”

Randal Keith, of “Monty Python’s Spamalot” at Encore Theater, “Phantom — The Las Vegas Spectacular” at Venetian Theater, and “Steve Wynn’s Showstoppers,” also at Encore Theater, is cast as producer Darryl F. Zanuck. Travis Cloer, one of the Frankie Valli actors in “Jersey Boys” at Palazzo Theater and Paris Las Vegas, plays celeb photographer Milton Greene. Lindsay Roginski, also of “Showstoppers,” plays Jane Russell. Chris Fore, in the “Jersey Boys” ensemble, is Monroe’s boyfriend in Las Vegas, Bill Pursel.

Los Angeles actress Brittney Bertier (“Seussical”) plays Norma Jean, Monroe’s alter-ego and counterbalance in the production. Frank Lawson (“Memphis,” “When Jazz Had the Blues”) narrates as Charlie, Monroe’s confidant and chauffeur.

“I’m really happy with the cast,” Summer says. “We have the cream of the crop from Vegas, some top L.A. and Broadway talent, too.”

But the show is also remarkable for an early void in casting strategy. Summer has for months sought a Hollywood celeb to take the primary role of Marilyn when Lewis — billed as the “resident” Marilyn — is not onstage.

One of those being sought, Lindsay Lohan, was introduced to the project by EDM superstar Steve Aoki, with whom Summer is also partnering on a Las Vegas production. The two were in serious talks as recently as last week before Summer opted to hold off casting Lohan, or any celeb, in the primary role.

“Honestly, this is what keeps me awake at 3 a.m.,” Summer says. “We are 100 percent going to cast a star as Marilyn. But with Lindsay Lohan, to open with her, I just felt everyone would be coming to see Lindsay and not the show. As we open, ‘Marilyn’ is the star, and Ruby is the star.”

Summer says a national name — and likely more than one — will be introduced to the show on the June 1 red-carpet event. As it is, the production is working to cohabitate with “Inferno.” Summer’s team is redesigning the theater stage with a thrust for the famous subway scene from “Seven Year Itch,” when a gust of wind lifts Monroe’s skirt above her waist.

The show also employs a live, eight-piece band (yes!), to be presented onstage and costumed in tuxedos.

Though he moved his operation to Las Vegas just last summer, Summer already has a reputation of an ambitious, adventurous, even far-flung entertainment figure. He plans to have his Bettie Page musical (where pinup star Sabina Kelley is a creative consultant) written and ready for rehearsals by July. Summer wants the Aoki project onstage in the first quarter of 2019.

But now, it’s all about the iconic blonde. As the producer promises, “This will be the Marilyn you know, and the Marilyn you don’t know.”

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

ad-high_impact_4
Local
Camp Broadway teaches kids how to sing and dance
The Smith Center's 7th annual Camp Broadway musical theater program gives 150 kids ranging from ages 6-17 an opportunity to learn musical theater skills from industry professionals over a five-day period. Marcus Villagran/ Las Vegas Review-Journal @brokejournalist
Watch Ruthless! at Las Vegas Little Theatre
The musical Ruthless! will be playing at Las Vegas Little Theatre from July 13-29. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Cadaver art and sword swallowing at The Dark Arts Market
Curator Erin Emrie talks about her inspiration for The Dark Arts Market at Cornish Pasty Co. in Las Vegas Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
'NO H8' Campaign comes to Las Vegas
Hundreds of locals participate in the NO H8 campaign founded by Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley as a response to Proposition 8, a California ban on same-sex marriage. The campaign has since evolved to represent equal treatment for all. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
What to expect at Station Casinos' Fourth of July celebration
Station Casinos' is hosting its annual 4th of July celebration with Fireworks by Grucci. Fireworks scheduled to go off on Wednesday, July 4 around 9 p.m. at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Star Wars and Golden Knights mashup at downtown art shop
Star Wars and Vegas Golden Knights fans attend the Boba Fett Golden Knight Paint Class at The Bubblegum Gallery in Las Vegas, Friday, June 29, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Tourists and locals enjoy Independence Day fireworks at Caesars Palace
Hundreds of tourists and locals gaze at the Independence Day fireworks show at Caesars Palace on Saturday, June 30, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Clark County recount votes in commission’s District E primary
Clark County staff begin the recount requested by candidate Marco Hernandez in the democratic primary for the County Commission's District E seat on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Long-running local hip hop producer wants Vegas rappers to shine
Las Vegas Hip Hop producer and co-owner of Digital Insight Recording Studios Tiger Stylz reflects on 30 years of music production in the city. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
"Pawn Stars" fans visit Richard Harrison's memorial at Gold & Silver Pawn
"Pawn Stars" fans from around the world visit the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas following the passing of Richard "Old Man" Harrison on Monday, June 25, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Construction for new 51s ballpark underway
New home of the Las Vegas 51s is planned to be finished by March 2019 in Summerlin according to team president Don Logan. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Underground home was built as Cold War-era hideaway
The underground house at 3970 Spencer Street is one of the valley’s most unusual homes built 26 feet underground in 1978 by Girard “Jerry” B. Henderson, who, planned to survive the end of the world there.
Lip Smacking Foodie Tours takes you where the locals go
Donald Contursi talks about Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, which offers walking tours of restaurants on and off Las Vegas Boulevard with food samples and tidbits of history about the places they visit.
Bump stock manufacturers under fire
The Justice Department said last month that it had started the process to amend federal firearms regulations to clarify that federal law defines bump stocks as machine guns.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Entertainment
The Octopus On The Las Vegas Strip Predicted The Winner Of The World Cup
The Octopus On The Las Vegas Strip Predicted The Winner Of The World Cup. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-journal)
TLC by the Numbers
Watch Ruthless! at Las Vegas Little Theatre
The musical Ruthless! will be playing at Las Vegas Little Theatre from July 13-29. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
How to feel like a kid again in Las Vegas
How to feel like a kid again in Las Vegas
People Lined Up For Over 5 Hours For Build-a-bear's "Pay Your Age" Promotion At Galleria Mall
People Lined Up For Over 5 Hours For Build-a-bear's "Pay Your Age" Promotion At Galleria Mall. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cadaver art and sword swallowing at The Dark Arts Market
Curator Erin Emrie talks about her inspiration for The Dark Arts Market at Cornish Pasty Co. in Las Vegas Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
What to expect at Station Casinos' Fourth of July celebration
Station Casinos' is hosting its annual 4th of July celebration with Fireworks by Grucci. Fireworks scheduled to go off on Wednesday, July 4 around 9 p.m. at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Pawn Stars' Richard Harrison honored at memorial service
A memorial service was conducted for Richard "Old Man" Harrison at Palm Mortuary in Las Vegas on Sunday, July 1, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Tourists and locals enjoy Independence Day fireworks at Caesars Palace
Hundreds of tourists and locals gaze at the Independence Day fireworks show at Caesars Palace on Saturday, June 30, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
5 must-see bands at Warped Tour 2018
Five must-see bands at Warped Tour 2018
This Banana Split In Las Vegas Is Made With Fire And Liquid Nitrogen Right At Your Table.
This Banana Split In Las Vegas Is Made With Fire And Liquid Nitrogen Right At Your Table. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pixar Pier At Disneyland Is Open With New Food And A New Roller Coaster
Pixar Pier At Disneyland Is Open With New Food And A New Roller Coaster (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Here's What It's Like To Ride The New Incredicoaster At Disneyland
Here's What It's Like To Ride The New Incredicoaster At Disneyland (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
"Pawn Stars" fans visit Richard Harrison's memorial at Gold & Silver Pawn
"Pawn Stars" fans from around the world visit the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas following the passing of Richard "Old Man" Harrison on Monday, June 25, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Get a sneak peek at Palace Station's newest renovations
Station Casinos spokesperson Lori Nelson gives a first look at what Palace Station's $192 million renovation will bring. Some areas will begin opening to the public next week according to Nelson. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
You Can Only Get The 11-pound 8-person Burger In Las Vegas
You Can Only Get The 11-pound 8-person Burger In Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Paul McCartney is worth over $1 billion
Sir Paul McCartney is one of the most celebrated and accomplished musicians in history. He just turned 76 on June 18. McCartney grew to international fame with the Beatles and went on to become a wildly successful solo musician. Paul McCartney’s net worth is estimated at $1.2 billion, according to Celebrity Net Worth. In 2017, McCartney landed the No. 13 spot on Forbes’ list of the world’s highest-paid musicians, earning $54 million for the year. On Thursday, June 20, McCartney will release a double A-side single featuring two new songs, "I Don't Know" and "Come On to Me." McCartney has yet to announce a title of his new album or when it will be released. Th album is expected to be released before he headlines the Austin City Limits Music fest in October.
Bellagio's New Conservatory Brings Italian Summer To Las Vegas
Bellagio's New Conservatory Brings Italian Summer To Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kari Curletto of Las Vegas put over 500 hours into making her toilet paper wedding dress. (Courtesy Kari Curletto)
Kari Curletto of Las Vegas put over 500 hours into making her toilet paper wedding dress. (Courtesy Kari Curletto)
The Real Crepe In Las Vegas Serves Authentic Crepes In The Style Of Brittany, France
The Real Crepe In Las Vegas Serves Authentic Crepes In The Style Of Brittany, France. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-journal)
New Marilyn Musical Brings Screen Icons Life To Strip
Paris Las Vegas hosts musical bio featuring new, old tunes. (Carol Cling Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas' hottest concerts of the summer
Vegas' hottest concerts of the summer
We Taste-tested The Best Doughnut Shops In Las Vegas
We Taste-tested The Best Doughnut Shops In Las Vegas. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
5 must-see bands at Punk Rock Bowling 2018
5 must-see bands at Punk Rock Bowling 2018
Gabi Coffee & Bakery Is Like A Korean Speakeasy From The 1920s
Gabi Coffee & Bakery Is Like A Korean Speakeasy From The 1920s (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Five must-see acts at the Electric Daisy Carnival 2018
Five must-see acts at the Electric Daisy Carnival 2018
The "13 Reasons Why" mustang cruises down the Las Vegas Strip (Courtesy Netflix)
4 fun and fascinating museums in Las Vegas
U2 in Vegas through the years
U2 in Vegas through the years
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like