Like a certain ocean liner, new ‘Jubilee’ has trouble dodging icebergs

Is it too late for anything but the life boats? Or can the “reimagined” “Jubilee” still steer around that iceberg that makes the nightly sinking of the Titanic an apt metaphor for the new version of the Strip’s 33-year-old crown jewel, officially unveiled Saturday.

A fully deliberated review will arrive soon. But in the hope that director Frank Gatson Jr. and his collaborators can still go back and try to change the course of history, here are some initial “hits” and “misses” continuing the iceberg theme.

“Hits” (meaning iceberg. Boom. Bad.)

1. The wandering showgirl who has lost her mojo and is trying to get back, or forward, to… something.

It’s not a bad idea to attempt thematic unity for audiences who might not remember a “revue” as a loose collection of unrelated things.

But when your theme is this half-baked, confusing and often unintentionally funny, patrons are likely to wonder why that showgirl is wandering around on the “Samson & Delilah” set, and why the ushers aren’t doing something about it.

Degree of impact: Catastrophic. Hear the screams and the tearing of steel as the cold water rushes in.

2. Selling your lost showgirl theme with narration. It only gets worse when the omniscient narrator says things like (and I was laughing and trying to scribble at the same time, so hope I got it right): “Take this diamond and always keep it with you. It is like your soul. It’s the only way back.”

Degree of impact: Jaw-dropping. Surreal, like a bad-movie masterpiece such as “Plan 9 from Outer Space.”

3. Turn off the Dark. Shouldn’t a showgirl revue, by definition, shine bright like a diamond? Most of the new material in this is dark and gloomy. Could be the creators just ran out of time to light it properly, that the six weeks of downtime to reconfigure the show was simply not enough.

More worrisome is that Gatson and company have decided proper stage lighting would keep us from seeing the giant-screen motion picture footage that’s a big element of the new production. Problem is, we came to see live people, not movies.

Degree of impact: Bow-bender. You can at least back up and take another pass at this one.

Misses (meaning “Whew.” Disaster averted, even if there’s no reason to break out the champagne)

1. Live people do seem to be onstage now, doing more than modeling costumes. Gatson has recruited several strong singers, even if they have to sing along to canned backing tracks and are often better heard than seen amid the feathers and mirrors.

Degree of miss: Comfortable enough to stay on course and improve.

2. Updating the music. Imagine if you’re a 40-something soccer mom and you’re trying to burn a CD for your parents to listen to in the car because they don’t get the whole iTunes thing. But somehow before you hit “burn,” you scrambled some of you and your teen daughter’s own favorites into the playlist.

It’s fun to have the show kick off with Justin Timberlake’s “Take Back the Night,” and end (in part) with Beyonce’s “Love On Top.” But a lot of it the original show’s Ray Conniff Singers approach to the standards are hanging in there as well. And other new segments, such as an R&B and disco medley coaxing us to our feet, fall into that eye-rolling place between current and retro: the dreaded cruise-ship oldie.

Degree of miss: “Aye, that was a close call, lads. What’s that up ahead? Another iceberg? Argh.”

3. Restoring men’s dignity. Gatson pledged to de-spangle the male singers and dancers, hoping to catch the eyes of straight women as well as gay men. There’s been at least a 60 percent reduction in codpieces and spandex bell-bottoms, replaced by basic black and dignified tuxedoes. A few bedazzled suspenders still sneak in though, and Siegried & Roy will be be happy to spot their sequined blazers in the opening number.

Degree of miss: Close enough to collision to see the cracks in the ice and feel the cold wave of the ice as brush up near it.

Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at mweatherford@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0288

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
Glittering Lights dazzles Las Vegas
The Glittering Lights holiday display is shining at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Mat Luschek/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Skybar at Waldorf Astoria lets you sip your way through Las Vegas history
Skybar At Waldorf Astoria Lets You Sip Your Way Through Las Vegas History (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Stan Lee in Las Vegas for Madame Tussauds unveiling
Stan Lee Las Vegas speaks with the Review-Journal's Chris Lawrence about his love for his fans and shared universes. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ultimate Belgium Waffle Sundae at Lavo
Lavo at the Palazzo serves a 16-scoop ice cream sundae that costs $800. (Rochelle Ricahrds, Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A New Zip Line Is Opening On The Las Vegas Strip
A New Zip Line Is Opening On The Las Vegas Strip (Janna Karel lLas Vegas Review-Journal)
You'll need a keen eye to find this secret bar on the Las Vegas Strip
You'll need a keen eye to find this secret bar on the Las Vegas Strip (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
"The Lion King" roars into Las Vegas
New music club 172 brings loud luxury to Las Vegas
New music venue at the Rio brings rock ’n’ roll and food together at intimate club. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Fans fear for Zak Bagans’ safety in Las Vegas Halloween TV special
Fly Linq zip line time lapse
Fly Linq zip line timelapse
Shaq opens Las Vegas restaurant, Big Chicken
Shaq opens Las Vegas restaurant, Big Chicken
Robert Deniro And Chef Nobu Talk About The Success Of Nobu
Robert Deniro And Chef Nobu Talk About The Success Of Nobu (Al Mancini Las Vegas Review-journal)
Nevada Ballet Theatre rehearses for "Dracula" at The Smith Center
Nevada Ballet Theatre rehearses for "Dracula" at The Smith Center (Janna Karel/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio, MGM Resorts International’s luxury hotel turns 20
The more than 3,000-room Bellagio hotel is situated on the site of the former Dunes Hotel. The Dunes was imploded in 1993, and construction of the Bellagio started in 1996. It cost $1.6 billion to build, making it the most expensive hotel in the world at the time. The Bellagio was former Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn’s second major casino on the Strip after The Mirage. MGM Resorts International acquired the property from Steve Wynn in 2000. (Tara Mack/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Recycled Art and Cute Dogs at Summerlin Festival Of Arts
Recycled Art, Cute Dogs Abound At Summerlin Festival Of Arts (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jason Aldean talks about the possibility of a Las Vegas residency
Country superstar Jason Aldean discusses his feelings about playing in Las Vegas and says he'd be interested in a Las Vegas residency when the time is right at the iHeart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas on September 21, 2018.(John Katsilometes/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Who To Watch At Life Is Beautiful
Life Is Beautiful Setup
Workers preparing Fremont street for this weekend's Life is Beautiful festival, on Wednesday, September 19, 2018. Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The 46th annual Greek Food Festival will feed 25,000 people in Las Vegas
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zia Records Move
Zias Records is moving from its Sahara Avenue and Arville Street location to a bigger store. (Mat Luscheck/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Video from Fertitta wedding Sep. 1
video from @wedstagrams of Fertitta wedding at Red Rock Resort
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like