Mandalay Bay - Broadway West

Although this is a Broadway website, we like to keep an eye on what's happening out Broadway West. With many dark showrooms in Las Vegas, and last years demise of Chicago at the Mandalay Bay, the city is trying to find itself, entertainment-wise. When it looked like Jerry Herman's Miss Spectacular was going to arrive at the Mirage, and other Broadway vehicles were heading to the bright lights of the Strip, Las Vegas was indeed beginning to look like Broadway West. However, the Mirage was sold and Miss Spectacular died before she was born. Let's not forget the five year SRO Forever Plaid was recently ousted from the Flamingo over a leasing dispute and replaced with a comedy troupe. In short, Las Vegas entertainment directors are scratching their heads wondering how to fill their empty showrooms, most notably, the Paris and Venetian. Not so at Mandalay Bay!

On Tuesday they had a press preview and performed three numbers from their new musical, Storm, and yes, I did use the word "musical." But, it's more than a musical, perhaps, "performance art" would be a better description.

The first thing you notice when you enter the theater is that you are in the center of the action, literally, the show is performed in 360 degrees. Not only is the set built on the once procenium-style stage but it wraps along the side walls and through the back of the house. There's more, the set is above you as well. Your eyes won't know where to look first; it's truly a feast to behold. And the lighting is equally spectacular.

The creative team calls it a fusion of styles, part Broadway musical, part dance, part rock concert, and part spectacle with its special effects and aerialists. Obviously, there is no book element which is just fine, and hopefully there won't be. Instead, the show will have 14 numbers, performed in four segments (no intermission), with characters, "Earth," "Wind," "Fire" and "Water." The "Water" section, which was performed at the preview, will give new meaning to "Singin' In The Rain!"

The score has a real Latin beat, with many of the musicians having been back-ups for Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez, Shakira and many others. You'll be tapping your toes as you watch some of the sexiest choreography and dancers I've seen in Vegas town.

If what we saw on Tuesday is an indication of what the whole show is like, I would think Vegas has a new "hit" in town. As they did with Chicago, Mandalay Bay continues to be the innovator in entertainment.

Storm opens March 22nd.

Creative team: George Noriega, composer; Peter Morse, Lighting Designer; Carla Kama and Melissa Williams, Choreographers; Gerard Howland, Scenic Design; Kurt and Bart, Costume Design; Jerry Lopez, Musical Director and a cast of 50 performers.

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