The return of the queen

Frank Marino rules in Divas Las Vegas at Imperial Palace

Frank Marino gets a touch-up before performing in his show, <em>Divas Las Vegas</em>.

Frank Marino gets a touch-up before performing in his show, Divas Las Vegas.

OK, maybe I can’t be entirely objective, having seen a preview of Divas Las Vegas while dolled up in drag myself.

But even with mascara melting into my eyes and wig tendrils finding their way into every sip of cocktail, it was clear to me that Frank Marino’s return to the Strip is going to be a triumph.

At Imperial Palace, Divas is the Swiss Army knife of Strip entertainment — comedy show, fashion show and concert in one. Glamor boy Marino brings the funny (and the ever-escalating hairstyles) and as ringmistress, introduces an eye-popping parade of 17 top-shelf pop-star dopplegangers, opening with Lady Gaga (in white vinyl and hair bow) and moving from Britney to Beyoncé and beyond.

Marino has brought along about half of the cast from his long-running An Evening at La Cage revue, and they’re keeping their act fierce and fresh: the Madonna and Britney numbers are snatched from their most recent tours. (Britney only wishes she looked as fine as Derrick Barry — one audience member couldn’t restrain herself from shouting “That was better than the real show! I’m not kidding!”)


Divas Las Vegas
Nightly (dark Friday), 10 p.m., $69-$79.
Imperial Palace
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Buoyed by a squad of fully committed male dancers, each of the girls gets to sparkle, but I’ll single out Steven Wayne, who, as Celine Dion (he doubles as Cher), artfully isolates so many of Dion’s distinctive tics and mannerisms that I ended up appreciating even more how Celine performs Celine.

Marino was putting in new sets, numbers and costumes right up to tonight’s opening, so I’ll be visiting Divas again — dressed as a man.


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