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Jubilee Show At Ballys In Las Vegas ~ A Taste Of Old Las Vegas With Showgirls And Feathers
Don Arden's Jubilee at Bally's Las Vegas ~ The Oldest Remaining Show Done In The Old Las Vegas Style
A Brilliantly Done Production Reminiscent Of Old Las Vegas
When you think of Las Vegas, if you are like me you find yourself thinking about how it used to be back in the day when Elvis sang Blue Suede Shoes from the stage of the old International Hotel. The days when the Rat Pack trolled the showrooms and pretty long-legged showgirls all lined up in rows onstage kicking their legs up as high as they could while dressed in rhinestone costumes with ornate and brightly feathered head-dresses on heir heads. Back when "Bugsy Siegel owned the joint." Yeah, those days.
Well, a little bit of that glamorous and storied history still exists right here in today's Las Vegas, at the Bally's Hotel on the strip. There is a show that has been running now since 1981, for just over 30 years, called Don Arden's Jubilee. It is full of these same showgirls, and handsome and buff "show-guys" as well. There is singing, dancing, and all of the old traditional costumes. In fact, this is the only old-style Las Vegas show left in the City of Las Vegas.
There used to be a show at the old Tropicana Hotel called "Les Folies Bergere" that was similar to Don Arden's Jubilee at Bally's. But that show closed in 2011, after a run of almost fifty years. It closed just a few months before it would have celebrated it's 50th Anniversary.
That's pretty amazing since a lot of Las Vegas shows begin with all the mandatory "hype"... only (sometimes) to close after six weeks or so. Many shows here in Las Vegas, the City of Entertainment, have trouble lasting for over five years. So, for one show to have made it almost to fifty years is amazing.
The Jubilee show at Bally's is in the same company as Les Folies Bergere, in that "amazing" category, with a run of almost thirty-one years now. Staying true to the original show that debuted back in 1981, it features seven acts. The most popular acts arethe re-enactment of the sinking of the Titanic and the fabled story of Samson and Delilah that they perform very well.
Full of all the requisite glitz and glamor of glitter gulch, this show is an incredibly performed production featuring lavish costumes designed by famous designers Bob Mackie and Pete Menefee. There are eighty-five dancers, singers and performers in all. A requirement to be in this show seems to be possessing a talent for being... multifaceted and multi-talented!
They perform twelve shows a week and visitors should be cautioned ahead of time that eleven of those performances are done topless. The show we attended is the ONLY show that is NOT topless and that one happens on Saturday nights at 7:30 p.m.
It might just be me, but I thought that the dancers being topless would take away somehow from the beauty and glamor of this show, so I really wanted to attend the one show that was NOT topless. The girls wore beautiful sparkly bikini tops in this show on the Saturday we went and all of them did an amazing job.
We loved this show. It was entertaining and energetic, filled with amazing dancing, singing and some incredible props as well. The acts are done in a way that tells a story for each act, and the choreography and singing talent in this show is brilliant.
They Even Sank The Titanic In This Show!
In one of the most amazing acts of the show, the players re-enact the sinking of the Titanic. It begins with passengers waving goodbye to their loved ones and onlookers from the pier that the Titanic left from in Southampton, England. Then the act goes on to show the Titanic passengers dancing on a beautiful star-studded night, without a care in the world. They were waltzing to the sounds of beautifully orchestrated music in a dance hall aboard the ship when suddenly they encounter the iceberg.
From there, the audience watches as the famed Titanic fills with water. The water is actually recycled, and is used again for each show. It does look pretty realistic from the audiences point of view! The sets are very elaborate. The Titanic set is probably the most elaborate of them all. As the audience expectantly watches, the ship sadly sinks. It is actually lowered by gigantic elevators into a huge basement. And all of this happens over and over again, twelve times a week.
The story of Samson and Delilah is re-enacted in an interesting way as well. They even feature the famous scene where Delilah cuts Samson's long, flowing hair and he becomes weak once his hair is gone. I remembered thinking while watching this part of the show how FUN it must be to get to re-enact stories like this. No wonder people love to become entertainers!
It must be difficult to be "on" every night of the week, and to keep doing so many shows a week with a smile, but this cast does it very well. I remember reading someplace that after the 10:30 p.m. show, the cast holds rehearsals on certain nights that sometimes go until 4:00 a.m.! That is a grueling schedule, and these performers must be extremely dedicated and motivated to keep up that kind of pace.
In addition, performers must re-audition for their parts every six months. Can you imagine having to go through the job interview process every six months for the job you have? Yet, that's similar to what these performers go through. I know when I read that background information about these performers and this amazing show, it gave me a whole new appreciation for how hard these entertainers work and how very dedicated they are to their craft.
Add to that the fact that these feathered head-dresses weigh over 20 pounds, worn on the head for most of this show, this is a tough gig! In addition, the costumes are so studded in rhinestones and other assorted "bling" that they are heavy as well. It's a GOOD thing the Jubilee theater is very well air-conditioned, or these performers would be suffering from heat exhaustion. As it is, they must go home from the performances exhausted.
And yet, they probably feel an exhilaration as well that they are able to successfully keep a show like this going, and help to keep some of the early history of Las Vegas alive through their performances. I hope this show continues to enjoy its long string of successful years. I know we would definitely go see it again. I've heard stories of people who have been to this show many times and never tire of seeing these amazing performers.
Through this show and others, Las Vegas continues to live up to its moniker of the "City of Entertainment." Don Arden's Jubilee at Bally's is a highly recommended show for anyone visiting Las Vegas. And remember that most of the shows are topless, so if you want to see the one show a week that is NOT topless, go to the 7:30 p.m. show on Saturday night.