Marquee’s annual Midsummer Night’s Dream—spun off from the infamous Playboy Mansion bash—is one of the Strip’s greatest summer parties. This year’s edition is set for Saturday night when the Cosmopolitan nightclub transforms into an enchanted forest welcoming lingerie- and sleepwear-clad guests with an hour-long open bar starting at 10:30 p.m. It’s a wild one, but it’s also sexy, stylish and very of-the-moment, which is why this year’s selection for host and guest performer couldn’t be more appropriate.
Halsey will guide the party after her Hopeless Fountain Kingdom tour stop at the Pearl at the Palms and sing a few of her hits on the Marquee stage. The 23-year-old singer and songwriter from New Jersey is currently having a moment, but then again, when has she not? Between “Now or Never,” “Bad at Love,” “Him & I” and “Alone,” Halsey has stayed at or near the top of the charts in 2018, and she just released “Eastside,” a collaboration with the equally hot Khalid produced by Benny Blanco.
The Chainsmokers’ record-breaking 2016 single “Closer” might have made Halsey a household name—and made her delicately unique, highly emotional vocal tone instantly recognizable—but she had already broken through as an indie-pop artist to watch with her debut album Badlands featuring single “New Americana.” She also sang with Justin Bieber (on “The Feeling” from his Purpose) before pairing up with The Chainsmokers, further demonstrating her stylistic range.
“My father used to listen to Biggie and Slick Rick and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and 2Pac, and my mom was listening to The Cure and Alanis Morissette and Nirvana,” she explained in an earlier interview after the release of her debut EP Room 93. “The eclectic influence that I had growing up definitely affected me.”
Halsey’s recent material from sophomore album Hopeless Fountain Kingdom dips more into urban radio sounds, like the stuttery R&B vibes of “Now or Never” and the dramatic glam-soul of “Alone,” featuring rhymes from Big Sean and Stefflon Don. Her relationship and recent break-up with Oakland rapper G-Eazy also has contributed to a sort of hip-hop categorization, but Halsey maintains her status as an alternative artist with vast influences and capabilities. She’s named Long Island, New York, emo bands Taking Back Sunday and Brand New among the most impactful acts she loves, with Lady Gaga and Panic! At the Disco also falling into that list.
Halsey’s style is just as chameleonic as her music, another reason she’s so in demand. Her red carpet looks have ranged from daring to devious to classically captivating. That’s how a pop star reaches into icon territory. It might be a little early after just two albums, but it seems Halsey is headed in that direction.
PLAYBOY’S MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM WITH HALSEY July 28, 10:30 p.m., $30-$50. Marquee, Cosmopolitan, 702-333-9000.