ENTERTAINMENT: Guess the stars game
November 11, 2008 - 2:33 pm
Riddle me this, Batman ….
The Planet Hollywood folks feel pretty confident in their ability to keep a secret, throwing out these tantalizing clues about a new show they won’t announce until Tuesday. That’s an eon in the era of Internet gossip, but it sounds like they are challenging us to figure it out.
The announcement says Base Entertainment and Broadway director/choreographer Jerry Mitchell (pictured) will “spill the secrets of their sexy new collaboration – a lavish multi-million dollar adult show starring a pop superstar and a siren of the small screen.”
There hasn’t been a lot of loose talk on this one, though Base producer Scott Zeiger did put the Mariah Carey rumor to rest for me last week. Count her out as the “pop superstar” unless he turns out to be a liar. I’m sure someone will spill the beans soon, if only to put in place the TV reporter who pulled a “Nyah-nyah, I know but I can’t tell you” bit with her viewers. News you can use, huh?
I’m interpreting the release to say this show is an original production, which is something of a risk after “Criss Angel Believe” and “Raw Talent Live” reconfirmed Las Vegas’ collective inability to execute original ideas. If “adult show” means topless, however, that’s one thing Las Vegas has always been good at. Topless may be the Strip’s best hedge bet for a recession at this point.
Mitchell also is a creator to place faith in. Perhaps I should have seen this coming, based on this column I did in January 2006, when he was here to choreograph the short-lived “Hairspray” at Luxor and said he wanted to reinvent the Vegas spectacular. The full column:
One funny thing about this whole Broadway-to-Las Vegas trend: The two cities may represent a bigger divide for the producers and casinos than the artists themselves.
As examined in today’s In Depth section, the drift of the Strip is away from the Vegas-style revue and toward established Broadway hits. But the theatrical world isn’t so distinctly separated.
In 2003, the opening of "Mamma Mia!" brought back choreographer Anthony Van Laast, who also worked on the Siegfried & Roy show at The Mirage and "EFX" at the MGM Grand. Current rehearsals for "Hairspray" involve another alumnus from a later edition of "EFX," choreographer Jerry Mitchell.
Back in 2000, it was a coup for the MGM to sign Mitchell as director of the Rick Springfield edition of "EFX." Mitchell was fresh from his work on the stage adaptation of "The Full Monty" and a revival of "The Rocky Horror Show." He and Springfield brought fresh ideas to the show.
"Every experience informs the next," Mitchell said last week during a break in "Hairspray" rehearsals. "It’s still storytelling. That’s all it is."
Mitchell believes "Rocky Horror" could find a home on the Strip, but in a club environment, the way "Fashionistas" plays at Krave nightclub.
But what invitation would Mitchell really enjoy? "I’d like to do the today version of the Donn Arden spectacular," he says.
The late Arden was the choreographer of classic "feather shows" such as the Stardust’s "Lido de Paris" and Bally’s "Jubilee!"
Mitchell’s fondness for this stuff is not out of left field. His work on "The Will Rogers Follies" was full of Vaudeville-era glitz, and there is a burlesque tone to his annual AIDS fundraisers, "Broadway Bares," the latest of which raised $654,000 for the Broadway Cares organization.
To him, Las Vegas still presents "an opportunity for creating something people have never seen before and can’t see anywhere else."
It’s good to hear that Mitchell is talking to the Aladdin about show ideas and that Paula Abdul is negotiating with the Silverton. I’d hate to see Las Vegas abandon its old charms entirely for proven Broadway hits.
"Hairspray" co-producer Michael Gill doesn’t see that happening. Apart from "Hairspray" he is still a theatrical manager-for-hire, the liaison to the casinos for many an outside producer.
Half the pitches he hears are existing titles. But the other half includes "astronomically expensive, out-of-the-box sort of ideas," he says.
Just what Vegas shows used to be.