Stage Productions

New Wynn production ‘ShowStoppers’ makes for a splashy stage homage

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Cast members of ‘ShowStoppers’ perform ‘One’ from ‘A Chorus Line.’
Jacob Coakley

Three and a half stars

Steve Wynn's ShowStoppers Tuesday-Saturday, 7:30 p.m., $100-$150. Wynn, 702-770-9966.

Steve Wynn’s ShowStoppers is the non plus ultra of Vegas revues, a dizzying tour of classic Broadway showtunes, with a large corps of dancers, six featured singers, a live 30-piece orchestra, and enough sequins and rhinestones to make Liberace blush. It’s a roaring fusillade of song and dance that aims to prove that show tunes are still relevant, a task at which it only partially succeeds.

When the show works, it really works. The featured performers—David Burnham, Nicole Kaplan, Randal Keith, Kerry O’Malley, Andrew Ragone and Lindsay Roginski—all have standout turns. The orchestra, under the direction of Dave Loeb, sounds phenomenal, and the dancers are impeccable. It’s an unabashed pleasure to watch 29 dancers moving in unison, with precision and matching angles yet always appearing to feel spontaneous and vibrant. And the lavish sets, costumes and lighting only add to the glamour. When the stage and performers transform early in the show for “Put on Your Sunday Clothes,” it’s exhilarating.

But there are problems lurking. The show simply can’t escape the whiff of Lawrence Welk. That show scrubbed anything dangerous out of its music, and its uptight performers have been comedy fodder for decades. There are times ShowStoppers veers dangerously close to this formula—as in the “Willkommen” number, where the cast fails to find anything seedy in this legendarily risqué number. And when the vocalists vamp in front of the curtain while a number gets ready behind it, they seem uncomfortable and tentative.

Still, there are plenty of memorably great moments here, including a phenomenal sequence of numbers from Chicago. Director Philip Wm. McKinley places Vegas showgirls centerstage during Burnham’s rendition of “Razzle Dazzle,” making them sexy, funny and natural onstage once again. Marguerite Derricks’ choreography for a trimmed-down “Cell Block Tango” is sexy, sumptuous and clever, with dancers fighting their way into carnal embraces, or using a stiletto heel like the knife for which it was named. The energy only increases with the shoulder-popping, staccato movements in “All That Jazz/Hot Honey Rag,” mixing with a slinky light show from designer Patrick Woodroffe.

ShowStoppers’ showstopper is “One” from A Chorus Line, and Wynn brought in Baayork Lee, assistant choreographer for the Broadway production, to teach the company the original choreography and send the show out with a magnificent, rousing finale.

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