Beautiful Projects & Photos

Bette Midler Vegas Show: The Showgirl Must Go On

Bette Midler Vegas Show :  The Showgirl Must Go On
Bette Midler Vegas Show :  The Showgirl Must Go On
ShopWildThings provided a huge amount of set dressing for this amazing production. If you go to see the show, check out the huge TOTALLY CUSTOM gold coins provided for the trees. Yep, that was us! If you need custom products for your event, give us a call!

From USA Today:

By Steve Friess, Special for USA TODAY LAS VEGAS. Bette Midler's most often-cited fear after she agreed to take on her new three-year Vegas gig was that she would be swallowed up by the legendarily mammoth stage of the Colosseum at Caesars Palace. She shouldn't have worried.

Sequins and Set Pieces: Each of Midler's Outfits shimmied, whether it was the bright silver paintsuit she appeared in for her first several numbers or a relatively restrained black knee-length dress for the ballad The Rose.

To fill the stage, mammoth trees made of ropes of gold coins descended.

At a preview attended by USA TODAY on Monday in advance of the official Wednesday grand opening, the 5-foot-1 dynamo was, no doubt about it, front and center in the new production in the House That Celine Built.

Midler is hard to lose track of (her costumes all shimmy with sequins) as she infuses as much of the bawdy jokes, silly antics and intimate ballads as is possible into the Strip-standard 90-minute "The Showgirl Must Go On." That's no easy feat. The theater was, after all, built with a gargantuan 22,000-square-foot stage before a 33-by-110-foot LED screen intended for Celine Dion's Cirque du Soleil-inspired set pieces and 80-dancer cast.

Yet longtime Midler choreographer Toni Basil manages to at times reduce its scope through curtains and lighting for the ballads From A Distance and Hello In There and then fill it with two dozen dancers in mermaid tails working the hardwood territory in wheelchairs for a section in which Bette morphs into her beloved mermaid character Delores Delago. (There was no director for the show; Basil and Midler made most staging and casting decisions.)

"We wanted to utilize all the bells and whistles that are provided to us in that theater," said Basil, an award-winning video producer and choreographer famed for her classic pop hit Mickey. "But we also didn't want the tail to wag the dog."

Midler, 62, repeatedly mocks the enormity of her new berth by noting the exertion necessary to traverse it, suggesting she might need a defibrillator and then chuckling that there are to be "no seizures at Caesars."

The production opens with a tune written for this endeavor, the titular The Showgirl Must Go On, which gives her chances, as many of her concert numbers do, to interject pithy comments that establish rapport with the audience. It would be inappropriate to describe the opening sequence in too much detail lest one of the most exciting moments of the production is disclosed, but suffice to say that Midler makes an entrance that literally blows Vegas away.

Midler pays homage to a variety of her fan constituencies, none less amusingly than her historically huge gay-male base. At one point she quips: "All the girls want to be showgirls. And so do a lot of the boys."

Alas, there are no boys on the stage aside from the band. Basil had 18 dancers dubbed the "Caesar Salad Girls" and Midler's backup trio known as the Harlettes to direct around the stage, using the video screen mostly for atmospherics. She does, however, manage to weave in uproarious sequences involving the real American Idol judges, Project Runway judge Michael Kors and even Cher, who will also be doing a 100-show-a-year gig at the Colosseum that starts in May.

(Speaking of Idol, fears that Midler's voice was shot after a much-criticized performance on the talent show's May finale were allayed by an intense version of When A Man Loves A Woman that led the audience to its feet and left Midler so physically spent she appeared near collapse.)

Indeed, Vegas humor is laced throughout "Showgirl," from a few digs at Cirque du Soleil that include noting defiantly that there's "not a French-Canadian circus performer" among Midler's dance troupe and the appearance of an encouraging Elvis and Wayne Newton on video when Delores Delago needs a lift.

At one point, when Midler's off-colored Soph character is tearing through a run of ever-dirtier jokes, the star offers an ode to a more innocent age at the Colosseum by cracking, "Come back, Celine! All is forgiven!"

In many ways, the show has a feel of a doctoral thesis in Midler Studies, especially given her recent hints that she might retire from live performing when this run is over in 2011. At a key nostalgia moment just before the Wind Beneath My Wings finale, vintage footage plays on screen of a twentysomething Midler bopping through Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy while on stage, she and her crew re-enact the dance steps.

At a different juncture earlier in "Showgirl," a then-shocking photo of a young Midler's bare backside is a pertinent reminder in an age when the tabloids are awash in Paris and Britney that Midler was the original scandal-sheet temptress.

"I was ahead of my time, as usual," she announced proudly.