Tag Archive: benefit concert


Dancers line the stage for the "tip parade" at the end of the show. Tips are donated to BC/EFA.

Entertainers from up and down the Strip performed in the Las Vegas sequel of the hit benefit concert “Broadway Bares” on April 24 at Planet Hollywood and shed their clothes for the cause. The show generated more than $20,000 and every dime went to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, an organization that supports those living with the virus.

The show was also a smokin’ testament to the depth of talent that lies in this city. The Vegas version of the New York concept was a strong contribution to the “Broadway Bares” original and proved that the arts scene here is nothing to sneeze at. Jerry Mitchell, creator of both “Broadway Bares” and “Peepshow,” took the stage at the end of the show and heartily agreed, conveying his excitement about the growth the show has seen since its humble beginnings.

Slick, sexy vocals and understated confidence provided an auspicious start for “2 Hot” with a number of the same name featuring artists from “Peepshow,” “Jersey Boys” and others. The tension was palpable and made for an exciting beginning to a highly dynamic show.

The diversity was also impressive. There was an excellent female cover of “Sex on Fire” by Kings of Leon with strong lyrical choreography to match. There was a guy in a banana suit (word up to 1230 Clownshow and their usual eyebrow-raising circumstances for that one). There was a classic number by Nicholas Foote to “Too Darn Hot” that had a sassy, finely honed Broadway edge to it. “Simply Barerisistible,” by Sheila Joy Burford, had girls bent, curled and spinning on barstools with commendable ease.

Edie of "Zumanity" makes her entrance in style and emceed the show alongside "Peepshow"'s Holly Madison and Josh Strickland.

And there was a drag queen descending from the sky to the Miss America theme song. Edie, a “Zumanity” performer who was the emcee for the evening, was a perfect palate-cleanser for the smattering of genres that made an appearance. Co-hosts Holly Madison and Josh Strickland of “Peepshow” made appearances as well and the three were as enjoyable as the acts they introduced.

Novelty was in no short supply; “Le Jazz Hot,” with choreography by Rommel Pacson, was headlined by a glammed-up Christopher Peterson of “Eyecons” and guys from “Naked Boys Singing” at the Onyx Theatre. It’s hard to go wrong with a New-Orleans-jazz vibe and bare-chested men in suspenders.

“13 Going on 30″ was a tongue-in-cheek parody of something akin to “Annie” and presented a cringe-worthy contrast of little-girl choreography (by Lena Groux and Jamee Hossack) and unarguably adult subject matter. “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” from Dustree Productions featured a full-size bed with suggestive scenarios and spicy partnering to match.

The Viper Vixens demonstrate their power in "Looks that Kill."

Weapons made a couple of debuts as well (and I commend both choreographers for not choosing Rihanna’s “S&M” track–too easy.) The Viper Vixens performed “Looks that Kill,” with choreography by Ottavio Gesmundo, holding objects that looked ominously like ice picks. The forthright sexuality in the number would have been dangerous enough: the Vixens weren’t playin’, and they made that clear.

J.J. Villar’s “Weird Science” was, well, weird, but intriguingly so. The bizarre situations, involving the likes of bodies outlined in neon lights, duct-taped girls a la Lady Gaga and buckets and water guns created a raucous, jarring, postmodern experience. And the water guns were pretty cool.

Straight-up sexiness was well represented. “Where Have All the Nice Men Gone,” by Jonnis, erred in a captivatingly contemporary direction and the edgy “Nice N’ Slow” by Saleemah Knight featured stellar vocals by “Lion King”‘s Jelani Remy. “Hit Me with a Hot Note” by Tara Palsha and Ryan Kelsey and featuring performers from “Vegas! The Show,” was at once charming and sensual with corsets thrown in for fun.

“Bringing the Heat” shook up the Disney image and showcased the fiery choreography of Erin Barnett. The introduction of the number, performed by the cast of “Lion King Las Vegas,” brought an anticipatory roar from the audience. The sinewy movement was executed impeccably and the brevity of the number left the audience yearning for more.

This could be said for the show itself. As Edie put it, “I hate that I have to wait 364 days to be here, but I’m here!” “Broadway Bares” is rapidly becoming a Vegas tradition, and fortunately so: There are few shows that would fit in with Strip life as well as this one.

Jerry Mitchell congratulates the cast after speaking of the unassuming beginnings of "Broadway Bares."

“Broadway Bares” began in New York in 1992 and has raised $75 million since then. BC/EFA has raised $195 million to provide services for those living with HIV/AIDS.

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A pride of dancers from Disney’s “The Lion King” will be congregating at the College of Southern Nevada’s Nicholas J. Horn Theatre for a benefit concert of original choreography on April 22. Proceeds from the show will benefit CSN’s performing arts center in an effort to increase artistic diversity and accessibility in the city.

“Live. Love. Dance!” will feature choreography in styles ranging from modern to contemporary ballet to funk, Fosse, gospel and jazz, all created and performed by cast members of “The Lion King” at Mandalay Bay.

“This showcase will be an opportunity for our dancers to explore new concepts and express individual ideas about art, life and love,” Celise Hicks said in a press release. Hicks is the resident choreographer for “The Lion King” Las Vegas and the representative for the dance showcase. “Innumerable emotions and stories can be told through dance,” she said. “The dancers will use music, motion and costumes to share their personal passions with the audience.”

Hicks continued that the cast and creative team is grateful to be partnering with CSN on the project. “The CSN Performing Arts Center is a beautiful facility that brings so much culture to our community, and we are very pleased to support their mission to provide artistic, cultural, educational and entertainment opportunities for the college and the community,” she said.

“Live. Love. Dance!” will be performed at 7 p.m. on April 22 at the Horn Theatre on CSN’s Cheyenne campus. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and students, $10 for children under age 12 and for CSN students with valid identification.

For reservations and information, contact the CSN box office at (702) 651-LIVE (5483) or e-mail: pactickets@csn.edu

Insurgo Theater specializes in improv, but Marko Westwood proved on Feb. 2 that he’s not so bad at it, either. When an elderly couple that lives below Westwood had their rent money stolen, Westwood organized a last-minute benefit concert to keep the couple from being evicted.

“THANKS,” a concert featuring dancers from Westwood’s Repertory Dance Theater and performers from the Insurgo troupe, was the result. Tickets were $10 at the door and a donation box was made available on Insurgo’s homepage with the goal of collecting the $400 minimum payment.

All told, the effort was reciprocated with $820.

"Twelfth Night," Insurgo Theater Movement

Considering the short notice, the cohesion in the show was impressive. Insurgo kicked in several scenes from their erotic Shakespeare rendition called “Twelfth Night,” which was a wise plug for current and upcoming shows. Other improv skits from their “Improvious Bastards” series illuminated the breadth and talent of the performers and were fantastically funny to watch.

Dance numbers made up about a quarter of the show. “You Can’t Get a Man with a Gun,” previously performed in a show at the Onyx in January, made an appearance and featured Serena Bartholomew and Petrina Olson. Olson also performed “Gravity,” a contemporary number full of lyrical swings and falls. Marko and Megan Westwood performed “Always/again,” an amazingly poignant study in dependence and separation. “Inner Sanctum on the Outside of My Sleeve,” by Jewel Racquel, centered around a red plywood cube and concluded the show in appropriate avant garde fashion.

Mick Axelrod performed several installments of “Wordsplay,” a charismatic and literary riff on the oh-so-eloquent English language — think rap, 17th-century style. The acts were both lexically aloof and conversational, an interesting juxtaposition that made them quite enjoyable. Ava Galore’s vocals were excellent as well in “Wherever He Ain’t,” a strong character number backed by a voice that can’t be knocked. Geo Nikols lip-synced to “Billie Jean” and graciously kept the program from getting too serious.

Quirky comedy was well represented and well received. Sam Craner performed “The Date,” a skit about a man preparing a candle-lit dinner when his date cancels at the last minute. Rosalie Miletich Ellis and Dave Surrate took the cake for acts that induced a head-tip, a wrinkled brow and a laugh. “The Interview” took place between an interviewer and a potential employee, who would spontaneously switch into canine mode and bark and growl at the interviewer. The doggie-style skit was just barely on this side of palatable, which is, of course, exactly how Insurgo likes it.

So despite the short notice and the hodge-podge program, the show was a success in more ways than one. Perhaps Westwood and the Insurgo gang should produce impromptu concerts more often. They certainly have a knack for it.

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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.

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