I normally don’t write again about a show I just saw a month ago. But “Showgirls: The Musical” has finished it’s off-off Broadway run to sold out crowds and moved off-Broadway May 15. And off-Broadway is where it should stay.
In its new home at XL Club, “Showgirls” has found the perfect venue. Since it’s a show about Vegas musical revenues, the nightclub and its cabaret style setting makes Nomi Malone and company feel right at home.
While a tongue-in-cheek spoof more successful with fans of the critically trashed (and Razzie Award winning) movie, “Showgirls” definitely feels the upgrade at the XL Club. The superior stage production values including an ever-changing illuminated background screen sets the scene for the various clubs, shopping centers and restaurants. WIth one sign, you have all of the sets.
The stage has also been extended from its previous Kraine Theatre home, now with a runway. This brings the action right in your face, resulting in the showgirls practically giving audiences lapdances as they grind on the stage.
“Showgirls: The Musical” follows Nomi’s discovery of Las Vegas, going from stripper dancer in a sleazy bar to topless dancer in a big Vegas show. Like the movie, the two worlds don’t seem that different as Nomi needs to sell her self no matter what.
April Kidwell as Nomi looks a lot like Elizabeth Berkley, who played the part in the campy classic film. She is so over the top in her exaggerated performance that in the musical version you laugh with her and not at her. Kidwell is a great comedic actress and marvels in the role. It takes a great talent to be able to pull this off and a lot of times topless. And if you’re wondering, her breasts are as nice as any showgirls.
But sexy Israel Vinas certainly can draw your attention away from Kidwell. He is definitely man candy that you’d like to take a bite out of. And even with his chew toy appeal, he’s pretty funny and a great dancer.
The rest of the cast also chews up the scenary every chance they get while throwing it back to the audience to devour. John E. Elliott stands out in multiple roles, mostly playing the straight man to Nomi’s intentional unintentional humor. Also, Amanda Nichols also has one belly laughing moment (that I am still laughing at) in which she does almost acrobatics with her breasts in her tryout scene for a lead role in the show-within-the show.
While the movie focused on Nomi, the musical allows everyone their chance to shine, including some nice moments by Rena Riffel who was in the original movie. That movie was about 20 years ago and she still looks great playing the same part (and will be with the production until May 25).
Don’t forget those songs. I am still singing “Boat Show” and laughing at sexy Vinas’ tune about the diseases you’d get from licking a stripper pole. The number about sex in the pool also gets the crowd going.
Still – even though it’s upgrade has enhanced the show, I still like San Francisco’s Peaches Christ’s volcano dance number better than this production’s. There’s is good but Peaches does the movie proud. Maybe they show join me in July in San Francisco to see Peaches do it during her “Showgirls” movie screening.
Bob and Tobly McSmith wrote and directed (and are the musicians) in this riotous show and it proves they are not a one hit wonder after their previous success with “Bayside! The Saved by the Bell Musical” – ironically another spoof based upon something to do with Elizabeth Berkley.
And while I was so happy to be able to drink cocktails during the show, more budget-conscious theatregoers might want to know that there is a 2-drink minimum in addition to the $20 seats This is typical of any cabaret show but if you’re not aware of the setting, this might be a surprise. In any event, stay away from the bottled water – they don’t offer tap water and a bottle of Polish Springs is $5 a bottle. Also, it may have been due to it being opening night, but the service was extremely slow and we didn’t get our required second drink until it was almost over.
Get more information and tickets at www.showgirlsthemusical.com.