John Katsilometes

[The Kats Report]

After a hiatus took her to Europe and Mexico, Lorena Peril is back dazzling audiences in ‘Fantasy’

Lorena Peril

Soon after returning to her role as the singer in Fantasy at Luxor, Lorena Peril was approached by an excited couple. Actually, it was the wife who was excited.

“She said, ‘I wasn’t sure I would be comfortable with this, but I had a blast!’” Peril recalls. “She was like, ‘I enjoyed it more than my husband!’” The husband, who might seem more like the target audience for this topless revue, simply nodded.

“That’s what I do,” Peril says. “I come across as comfortable, try to make it fun and funny, and hopefully it makes them feel comfortable.”

Peril has returned for her second run as singer in Fantasy, having embarked on a global adventure that saw her front the European tour of Grease and co-headline a cabaret show in Mexico with her husband, Ray Jon Narbaitz.

The Grease opportunity took Peril out of the Fantasy lineup in the summer of 2013, a role she had performed to great response since 2010. She was cast as Sandy in the touring production that stopped in Belgium, the U.K., Germany, France, the Netherlands and Italy. When that tour concluded, Peril and Narbaitz returned to Las Vegas, and she spent a year in Vegas! The Show. The couple also developed a daffy cabaret act, a sort of Vegas-styled Sonny & Cher sendup, and performed occasionally at Golden Nugget’s Rush Lounge.

With scant fanfare, Peril made occasional “swing” performances in Fantasy, spelling principal singer Jaimie Lynch, before Peril and her hubby were off once more. The two left for Puerto Vallarta, headlining in a show called Married and Looking in a little haunt known as the Red Room at ACT II stages in Old Town in the resort destination.

This show was a real exercise in “the hustle,” and we are not talking about the dance. “We had to do everything—hit the beach and hustle tickets, build the audience and promoting ourselves,” Peril says. “It’s a beautiful place, but it is a lot of very hard work away from the stage.”

Peril has always hustled, especially upon arriving in Las Vegas in 2005 after a run as a singer on a Carnival Cruise Line vessel. Her friend George Bryant, a drummer in her backing band, was from Vegas and felt she should move to the city and forge a career as a regular performer.

Peril made that happen, taking the singing spot in the act Sunset Strip—which soon became Sin City Bad Girls—at the Las Vegas Hilton’s Shimmer Cabaret. She was also cast as Christina Aguilera in American Superstars, and just as that show closed she was cast in Fantasy as a replacement for the departing Angelica Bridges.

It was a great fit, Peril and the show, and her performance of Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie” with comedian (and, dancer) Sean E. Cooper became a nightly highlight. But Peril was effectively recruited to join the Grease project, and thus embarked on her international adventure, which lasted nearly three years, off and on.

Timing once more worked in Peril’s favor in her return to Vegas. By this spring, Lynch—an enormously well-liked and highly regarded performer around town even before she joined Fantasy—had opted out of her contract in order to travel and pursue a recording career. In a swap of roles that sometimes happens in shows like Fantasy, Lynch is now available to “swing” for Peril in the show. The show’s main understudy vocalist is another powerhouse, Anne Martinez of Alice: A Steampunk Concert Fantasy.

As Peril has returned, producer Anita Mann is developing a new number specifically for her sexy-funny performing style, with Peril performing Justin Timberlake's "Can't Stop the Feeling." The choreographer is Mandy Moore of Dancing With the Stars, a recurring contributor to the Fantasy creative team.

“I know it will be fun,” Peril says. “That’s what I’ve missed, really, is the family atmosphere of the show. The support from Anita, from everyone, has been great. It’s been a learning process, and you realize how much you miss that when they are not around.”

As Peril says, “Everything is 100 percent about Fantasy right now,” and the star of the show seems to be living just that.

Fantasy Nightly, 10:30 p.m., $43-$64. Luxor, 702-262-4400.

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