There’s a lot riding on the shoulders — the lovely, currently bare-atop-the-bodice-of-an-amazing-red-gown shoulders — of Claire Sinclair.
On Saturday, “Pin Up,” an original show that pays homage to the classic pinup girl, opens at the Stratosphere. And, when the curtain rises, audiences will meet, perhaps for the first time, Sinclair, who, as the show’s muse/hostess, will tie together its calendar-inspired vignettes.
It’s Sinclair’s first headlining role in a Las Vegas show. But if the 21-year-old is nervous about her upcoming premiere, she’s not showing it.
During a recent photo shoot, Sinclair’s demeanor exhibits nothing more than a charming, natural, winsome charisma and an enthusiasm that suggests she’s loving every minute of it all.
Not that high-profile gigs are anything new to Sinclair. She was Playboy’s October 2010 Playmate of the Month and is the magazine’s 2011 Playmate of the Year. She models for Bettie Page Clothing. She has appeared in Las Vegas as a guest performer in “Crazy Horse Paris.”
Now, Sinclair is poised to become somebody whose name and face you’ll begin to recognize. So what’s Sinclair feeling as opening night approaches?
“Anticipation,” she answers. Then, she admits, “a little anxious.”
“But there’s such a positive vibe behind the show,” Sinclair continues. “Everyone is stoked. It’s something that’s new on the Strip. It offers a lot of elements that aren’t available to people when they go to different shows right now. So I think it’s just exciting to bring something new — a new flavor — to the Strip.”
So what’s “Pin Up” about? Sinclair thinks it over for a second.
“It’s actually really difficult for me to explain our show because there are so many elements and so much going on,” she answers. “It’s not really a variety show. It’s extremely classy. It’s beautiful.”
She laughs. “I mean, there’s a pillow that comes to life and flirts with me. It’s really adorable. It’s got magic. It’s got amazing dancers and insane choreography and really talented singers. It’s just super-cute.”
And all of that makes “Pin Up” Sinclair’s dream show.
“I would always go to watch shows and say, ‘I wish I could be in that show’ and ‘I wish I could be in that show’ ” she says. “And, now, this show has everything.”
Most of all, the show has Sinclair, says Drew DiCostanzo, producer, director, writer and co-creator of “Pin Up.”
“You see Claire throughout the show,” he says. “Claire is seen in the show when she’s onstage dancing a number or she’s part of a magic sequence or she’s out talking to the audience. Or, there are images of Claire. She’s nose art on a plane. She’s on a calendar page. Through the whole show you hear her voice.”
DiCostanzo likens the show to the experience of flipping through a pinup calendar, looking at the pinups — who will be covered in the show — along the way and watching the story that lies behind each unfold.
Pinups are timeless, DiCostanzo says.
“There really is something about the pinup that’s flirty, it’s fun, it’s sexy without being dirty,” he says.
Sinclair says a classic pinup is “really cheeky and doesn’t take itself too seriously.
“Pinup models look like they’re having so much fun. I think that’s why it’s so long-lasting and never gets old,” she says. “When you look at one of those pinups, you feel the energy. That girl’s having a blast, no matter what she’s doing.”
“Pin Up” the show will offer a modern take on vintage stuff, Sinclair says.
“It’s a 1950s look,” she says. “We definitely carry that pinup look over through the show.”
The show turns out to be a natural for Sinclair, who loves not only the retro, classic pinup vibe but has been modeling in that style since she was 15.
“The only sort of modeling I’ve ever done has been toward pinups or eras,” she says. “I’m not really a modern model by any means. As you can see, I’m curvy and don’t fit that bill, so I’m very happy to do the show. It definitely goes toward my body type, so this has been a perfect fit for me.”
DiCostanzo says Sinclair was part of his inspiration for the show. He knew of her and of her look — imagine Bettie Page’s little sister — and thought that the notion of the pinup could translate into a live show in an interesting way.
Long story short, Frankie Moreno, who headlines at the Stratosphere, was thinking along the same lines. He came aboard as co-producer and co-creator and scored music for the show. Meanwhile, Lacey Schwimmer, best-known for her work on “Dancing with the Stars,” came aboard as choreographer.
“Of course, we started with Claire Sinclair,” DiCostanzo says.
Sinclair calls herself blessed and lucky to land the starring spot in the show. She says that although she hasn’t starred in a Las Vegas show, her resume includes “little bits and pieces” — hosting on Playboy Radio, commercial and spokesmodel work, those guest stints in “Crazy Horse Paris” — that have helped prepare her for “Pin Up.”
“Pin Up,” she says, “kind of incorporates all of those qualities into one project, and that’s definitely a challenge for me. That’s why it’s so exciting: I’ve never had to do all of those things at once.”
“If I can do this, I feel I’ll be ready for anything thrown at me after this,” she says. “It’s definitely the biggest challenge of my career so far, being able to do all these things at once. It’ll never get boring.”
DiCostanzo has no doubt about Sinclair’s ability to make it all work.
“She has that angelic face. She’s obviously very attractive all over,” he says. “When she smiles onstage, it lights up the room before she moves.
“I think what you get from Claire that you don’t see with a lot of performers is there’s that instant kind of charisma and charm she has, and it doesn’t ever feel artificial.”
Guys will find that appealing, DiCostanzo says, and so will women.
“She’s not trying to be pouty or sexy or seductive,” he says. “That’s not her. She has that pretty, girl-next-door beauty.”
DiCostanzo also has found that Sinclair is — to use a word they might have used in the pinup’s heyday — a trouper.
“She’s great to work with,” he says. “She wants to get in there and rehearse. She wants to spend hours a day going over her steps and her script. She wants to get in there and learn, so that’s wonderful.”
Now, as months of work come to an end and opening night approaches, Sinclair admits she might have to tamp down a few jitters. But, she adds, smiling, “after that, it’s going to be a blast every night because the pressure is off and I can start to have fun.”
Contact reporter John Przybys at
email@example.com or 702-383-0280.
What: “Pin Up”
When: 10:30 p.m. Thursdays through Mondays, starting this Saturday
Where: Stratosphere Theatre, 2000 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Admission: $54.99-$65.99 (380-7777)