Category: @ Onyx Theatre


Howdy folks! Below is a list of some of the lovely invites forwarded to me throughout the week. The shows below are a good smattering of what Las Vegas has to offer, and most of them are cheaper than a movie.

“Drag! The Musical,” May 27 – June 5, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 5 p.m. at the Onyx Theatre (953 E. Sahara, #16). This live musical features local drag legends Ginger Grant, Syren Vaughn, and Vivianne Dumonde, and performers from Las Vegas, Los Angeles and New York City who will, according to the Facebook page, “blow your skirt up!”
The show is written by Jamie Morris (“Mommie Queerest,” “Silence of the Clams”) and Christopher Kenney, a world-renowned entertainer that can be seen hosting “Zumanity” by Cirque du Soleil.

“Rawkahula! Car/Burlesque Show,” May 31 at 7 p.m. and April 1 at midnight at Mr. D’s Sports Bar (1810 S. Rainbow Blvd.) The show is organized by Mutt and Jeff’s Classics and Goldie DeBloomers; check out the cars beginning at 7 p.m. (with the Ham The Astro Monkey retro trailer included) and the burlesque babes will be rolling out at 9 p.m., featuring Goldie DeBloomers, Miss Karla Joy, Yinzie Steel and Cherry BellaNova. The night will include a raffle and food and Hawaiian or sailor attire is encouraged.

“Karnival!,” Wednesday, April 1 at 8 p.m. at the Onyx Theatre (953 E. Sahara, #16). This well-established Vegas gem is a monthly themed variety show that usually has a few nice surprises in store.

“The Dixie Evans Burlesque Show,” June 3 and 4 at the Plaza Hotel and Casino (1 S. Main St). The two days will be packed with burlesque performances, a competition and “the world’s only live monster wrestling spectacle.” Check out the page here for event details.

“Pandemic! A Killer Flu-sical,” Friday, June 3 to June 11 at the Las Vegas Little Theatre (3920 Schiff Drive). “Cover your mouth and wash your hands because Pandemic! A Killer Flu-sical is infecting the 2011 Las Vegas Fringe Festival! Full of satire, social commentary and fear mongering, this new musical comedy quarantines the audience in a New York City hospital at the height of the swine flu emergency.” The show features local performers alongside Derek Keeling, who has credits from Broadway. Show times are as follows: Saturday, June 4 at 10:30 p.m., Sunday, June 5 at 3:30 p.m., Thursday, June 9 at 8:15 p.m. and Saturday, June 11 at 5:30 p.m.

“Burlesque Bizarre!–The Weird, The Wild, and the WONDERFUL!,” Sunday, June 5 from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the Bikini Bar (3355 W. Spring Mountain Rd.). The Grindhouse Burlesque crew will be joined by guest performer Kyle Marlett, the debut of a new Grindhouse girl and dancers Lacey Moon, Rosalita Nikita, Strawberry Grenades, Porcelain Vanity and Caramel D’Lite.

“The Burly-Q Revue,” Thursday, June 9 from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. at Daddy Mac’s (920 N. Green Valley Parkway). “Featuring burlesque performances by the breathtaking Lou Lou Roxy. the Mistress of Mayhem Brianna Belladonna, the virtuous vixen Lacey Moon and the alluring Miss Scissors!” The show will be emceed by the fabulous Miss Miranda Glamour, who will command the mic between festivities.

Mark your calendars, cool kids. It’s going to be a wild week.

As anyone at the Onyx Theatre will tell you, experimentation is always good.

So is collaboration. Marko Westwood, in conjunction with RagTag Entertainment, brought both to the stage on Jan. 7 and 8 with “A Little Song and Dance.”  Ten choreographers joined forces with vocalists and musicians and put on the Broadway-themed concert as a benefit for education, with proceeds donated to the Miley Achievement Center in Las Vegas.

As a show, “A Little Song and Dance” was very different from the usual Onyx fair. Christopher Peterson’s renditions of Marilyn Monroe’s “I Want to be Loved By You” and Carol Channing’s “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend”  were about as adult as it got. (Peterson, who is behind the “Eyecons” show, changed the “diamonds” to “condoms” in the latter song, with suggestive hand gestures and altered choruses and verses to match.)

The rest of the concert was a combination of musical theater, character dance and vocals. While some of the choreography was unremarkable and a few of the transitions were rocky, the sincerity of those involved glimmered through. The vocalists especially were excellent; Ava Galore was the quintessence of the exasperated woman in “Wherever He Ain’t,” from “Mack and Mabel” and Leah Kreitz and Michael Close were fabulous as both singers and characters in “Sssssss,” which opened the show.

Collaboration between vocalists and dancers was another strong element of the performance and an intriguing aspect that could be explored more in subsequent concerts. “Brothers,” featuring dancers Jaime Velilla and Westwood himself, was performed to RagTag Entertainment’s vocals of “Will I?” from “RENT” and was as magnetic as the opener. Having the vocalists in the house while two dancers twined around each other onstage was immersing and a choreographic feat by Westwood.

“Sssssssss” was an a cappella and dynamic version of “Steam Heat” and embodied the best that the show had to offer: ingenuity, audience-friendly characters and big, belting voices. A construction worker played percussion in the background while Kreitz and Close sang from a bus stop downstage. Unexpected comedy was lent by the musical accompaniment, utilizing the likes of a balloon and a bottle of pills. Two claps at the end triggered a Clapper and laughs from the audience. Dancers Jose Favela, Jesus Nanci and Erin Sullivan showed off some stomp-style skills and tipped a fedora to Bob Fosse.

Two other numbers were Fosse-themed. “Hey There Big Fella,” to a remix of “Big Spender” was a predictable but bodacious number choreographed by Westwood that featured the usual bar downstage and sexy attitudes from the dancers. “All That Jazz,” choreographed by Serena Bartholomew, was quick and rife with smiles from the dancers, which helped mitigate sections that weren’t as clean as they could have been.

Character numbers were seen in Petrina Olson’s “Target Practice,” to a track from “Annie Get Your Gun,” and Tiffany Caudullo’s “The Harsh Truth,” to “Turn Back, Ol’ Man” from “Godspell.” Olson’s choreography, complete with fake rifles, was simultaneously tom-boy and girly, a trick that was potentially hard to pull off but well-executed. Caudullo’s choreography, featuring Westwood as Jesus, was tastefully understated. Her vocals were well-projected and the technique of accompanying dancers Anna Fazio and Adrianna Rosales was apparent.

Fazio also performed to “Look at Me Now” from “The Wild Party,” demonstrating some of the stronger technique in the show with extroverted, infectious energy. Onishia Murillo choreographed a delightful and surprisingly fresh number to “It’s a Hard Knock Life,” with herself, Bartholomew, Kreitz and Marissa Mendoza as the personality-filled orphans. “Hear Me,” to “Listen” from “Dreamgirls,” another number by Olson and danced with Nanci, was standard, perhaps overdone contemporary, but it made good use of the space and the dancers exhibited emotion well.

Two violin numbers rounded out the show. Caudullo, dressed appropriately in two different glittering gowns, performed “Show Me” from “My Fair Lady” and “Music of the Night” from “Phantom of the Opera.” Both provided visual reprieves and underscored the many hats worn by these performers.

If “A Little Song and Dance” had been a boat, a few sailors would probably have been bailing water. However, professionalism wasn’t necessarily the point here; Westwood is onto something and it isn’t girls in underwear. He’s found an under-represented genre, incredible potential in partnerships between groups and and a less visible age range to cater to, and he would do well to keep experimenting.

Flame-spinners, magicians, contortionists and babes with big voices got together for January’s “Karnival,” held at the Onyx Theatre on Jan. 4. As the first show of the new year, the performance represented an auspicious start. As an installment in the ongoing “Karnival” series, it constituted a step in a dynamic and highly enjoyable direction.

One of the strongest attributes of the show was its ability to showcase new talent while still keeping audience favorites alive and well. The recurring “Mama” character was present in voice if not in person; a voice-over was broadcast because, as the story goes, Mama was in Costa Rica during the show. (Stephanie Castellone, Mama’s alter-ego, was in the show this time around and no walker was necessary.)

Instead, Mama’s sister Girdy (played by J P Nomi Malone and pictured below) fulfilled the role of hilariously outrageous accoutrement. Coupled with emcee Vivianne Dumonde, the drag queen filling in for Ginger Grant, the show was well-spiked with comedy of the same brand but of a different flavor.

The talent continued along this vein as well, with a mix of classic acts and newcomers. Spade of Hearts started the show in proper Broadway fashion with a cheeky character, a masked rabbit in a tux, sly magic tricks and a fabulously belted version of Jefferson Airplane’s  “White Rabbit.”

Leda Las Vegas and Lou Lou Roxy took the audience from Wonderland to a cabaret … or, rather, “Cabaret.” Leda, mic in hand, sat coyly at a table downstage while Roxy, clad in black fringe and dark lipstick, preened and shimmied her way through the act. The number was both understated and outgoing, with Leda’s expressive voice defying the role of simple accompaniment.

Two other voices stood out in the show as well, proving that while “Karnival” might be playful at times, the performers themselves aren’t playin’. Isabella Ivy and Ianroel Gargantiel (pictured left) sang the title track from “Phantom of the Opera,” complete with an opera gown on Ivy (but, strangely, no mask on Gargantiel.) Ivy’s soaring soprano and the seriousness of Gargantiel’s character were transforming forces for the small theater and added a note (or several) of seriousness to the show.

Bellydancer Resa Alhena, accompanied by John Dark on accordion, and Miranda Glamour held down the dance fort with two different but catchy acts. Alhena and Dark (both pictured below) performed a sweet and sultry duet at the top of the show, rife with details from fingers and belly alike. Perhaps the most enjoyable facet of the number was the conversational nature between the two and Alhena’s serenity and quiet smile were infectious. Glamour took another route altogether, stepping into “Toucha Toucha Touch Me” track from “Rocky Horror Picture Show” with all the personality and bubblegum sass that the song requires.

A magician, a fire-spinner and a Cirque contortion act ushered in the quintessential side of the circus a la Las Vegas.

Kyle Marlett (pictured left), a self-proclaimed nerd magician that has yet to turn 21, razzle-dazzled the audience with unique illusions to a track from “Chicago.” Ripped paper that became whole, a never-ending sugar packet, and a one-sided conversation with the audience transcribed into a composition book set up Marlett’s grand finale: a demonstration that he really does have the best mouth in Vegas (their words, not mine.) Into that mouth went dental floss, followed by a number of small objects. By the end of the act, Marlett was pulling the floss back out of his mouth with each of the objects tied, in cherry-stem-style, to the string.

Oh, my. Marlett’s illusions were excellent and his Michael Cera-esque demeanor was both endearing and impressive.

Contortion and fire ended the show in style. Cirque contortionists (of whom Castellone was one, explaining the absence of Mama) twined over, under and around each other in a number originally performed in the touring Cirque show called “Nouvelle Experience.” The ease with which the performers maneuvered was astounding and the smiles that interspersed the act were the cherry on top.

Who loves a flaming stage? Maybe not the stage manager, but Chris Staefe (pictured above) has it under control — it was only on fire fora few seconds, after all, and it really was intentional. Staefe’s choice of music, a dramatic instrumental track from “The Lion King,” paired with the act well and accentuated the “wow” factor of watching balls of fire on a string spinning around.

And all too soon, the performers were stepping forward for their final bow. I don’t know if a New Year’s resolution at the Onyx was to ramp up the entertainment value of their shows, but if it was, mission accomplished. Hopefully the extreme talent and variety continues.

Two shows at the Onyx Theatre are starting 2011 with a bang. A Broadway-themed “Karnival,” replete with singers and dancers, will be performed on Wednesday, Jan. 5 at 8 p.m. “Karnival” is one of Vegas’ most established monthly shows and can be seen at the Onyx on the first Wednesday of each month. These performers pride themselves on spine-tingling oddities as well as the entertainment value of their shows and each performance features a different spread of sensory acts. For more “Karnival” coverage, view a post on their Halloween show here.

“Karnival” will be performed on Jan. 5 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here.

“A Little Song and Dance” will follow closely on the heels of Karnival. Tia Taymar from the Miley Achievement Center and Marko Westwood, the artistic director of the Las Vegas Repertory Dance Theater, are teaming up to present a concert on Jan. 7 and 8 to benefit education.

Ten choreographers have donated their work to the show, which will showcase choreography by Tiffany Caudullo, Serena Bartholomew, Petrina Olson, Onishia Murillo, Anna Michele Fazio and Westwood himself. Many of the dance pieces will be accompanied by live vocals and music and several guest artists are part of the program as well, including Ava Galore, cast members from Rag Tag Entertainment’s upcoming production of “RENT” and Arles Estate.

“A Little Song and Dance” will be performed on Jan. 7 and 8 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 and proceeds will be donated to the Miley Achievement center. Visit the Onyx Theater website or call (702) 732-7225 for more details.

@ 953 E. Sahara Ave.

In the spooky spirit of the month, the Onyx Theatre put on their annual Halloween burlesque show at 8 p.m. on Oct. 27. The place was decked out in spiderwebs and fog and there really is nothing like a drag queen in costume.

It was a “living, breathing, tasty variety show,” in the words of emcee Ginger Grant. The show was well-paced and Grant’s bawdy humor kept the atmosphere lively and laid-back. It was obvious that the Onyx is no stranger to shows of this type.

Content-wise, there could have been more deliberately Halloween-y acts, although a few stood out for being so. Zombie-style Leda Las Vegas, singing “I Screamed a Scream,” kept interrupting herself with lunges toward the oh-so-delectable brains of the audience. Miss Miranda Glamour picnicked graveside with a charming undead fellow and a bottle of A-1 sauce. Lou-Lou Roxy made an appearance as a hypnotist and Genevieve Serpentine ended up covered in snakes.

Elaine, dressed as Lady Gaga, brought a “Bad Romance” to the table and performed respectably well. The recurring character known as Mama, played by Stephanie Castellone, was an audience-favorite and her banter with Grant was an act in itself.

More classic burlesque was well-represented in Renea le Roux’s flouncy French number and Miss Karla Joy’s stately performance to the “Addams Family” theme. Joy’s phenomenal lip-syncing act to a 1950s infomercial-style product pitch also dropped jaws.

All tips for the show went to the Sin Sity Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting those with HIV and AIDS. Follow the link above for more information on the group.

Photos are supposedly worth a thousand words, and that should be especially true on Halloween. Watch out for tricks this weekend, remember “stranger danger” and take a gander at the photos below. View a schedule for upcoming shows at the Onyx and find ticket information here.

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