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By Jacqueline Monahan
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Holly Madison Joins Peepshow at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino

The Chi Showroom at Planet Hollywood has gone mad for Holly.  Madison that is.  The Playmate centerfold/reality TV star/Dancing with the Stars contestant joined the cast of the sexy, burlesque extravaganza Peep Show, replacing Kelly Monaco, whose three-month contract expired.  Hef’s former gal pal and Playboy employee (she used to be a photo editor for the magazine) made her debut on Thursday, June 25.

Holly Madison & Shoshana Bean

Former Spice Girl Melanie Brown (Mel B) has also left the show, but in the very capable hands of Broadway performer Shoshana Bean (Wicked, Hairspray).  Bean has taken over the dynamic role of the "Peep Diva," a mistress of ceremonies as she guides a dreaming Holly, who plays a timid "Bo Peep," through her journey to find the perfect man.  Hey, who said anything about love?  This is sexy, naughty, and adults-only, the kind of thing you’d expect to see through a keyhole at a red velvet bordello.  Peep Show is all about the tit-illation.

From the opening number of the same name, featuring dozens of dancing women in all shapes and sizes, the hard-driving rock inspired score accentuates every writhing hip thrust, breast bounce, and ass flash one could wish for.  One could say it is a playfully X-hilarating X- travaganza.  Looks X-pensive, too.

The sparkly dancers (when they are attired) perform Jerry Mitchell’s sensual, sometimes grinding, sometimes languid choreography.  A dreaming, baby-blue-robed Holly visits or witnesses or takes part in various spiced-up fairy tales (Red Riding Hood, Peter Pumpkin Eater, The Three Little Pigs).  Shoshana, in black corset, guides her through timidity right into toplessness, although you have to wait until the very end to see (mostly) all of Holly.

Not so with the rest of the large ensemble cast, almost entirely female, who can’t wait to rid themselves of bras and panties as the big finish of several numbers.  While that’s a great payoff once or twice, even the promise of X-posed T&A gets old if it occurs too much.

An unusually inventive sequence has a trio of dancers taking a milk bath in a glass tank (they all stand).  While the middle maiden presses her “T’s” to the glass, her side partners press their “A’s” at the same time, (and vice versa) creating a genital painting that changes with each new configuration.

Production value is high, but there is still room for a pole, and no less than seven of them descend for one of the numbers.  Other adjectives that come to mind are frisky, risqué, mischievous, flashy, Old-Vegas, high-energy, and enthusiastic.  Even though none of these performers even existed when Gypsy Rose Lee peeled off her first long glove, they’ve seem to have slipped easily into the spirit of the art of disrobing.

All of the familiar types are here, from cheerleaders to school girls, ubiquitous pole dancers and a progressively nude blonde who serenades her teddy bear with a Marilyn voice until she winds up on a bearskin rug.  A tribute to pink involves a male cast member (one of about three), a bed, bondage, a bucket of paint and some Holly armed with wicked intent.

Ride My Pony is a wail of a tune, complete with the kind of horses found in a gym.  Only these have saddles and women with riding crops.  The lead performer gets to swing and thrash on her airborne version while the males in the audience try to hide the fact that they are doing the same thing.

In a rare nod to visuals meant to please the women in the audience, a hunky male specimen luxuriates in a filled, claw-foot tub, to which Holly eventually adds herself; but not before he twists himself up in hanging ceiling cords for a seductive aerial courtship.  He is fully clothed, removing only his shirt.  The jeans stay firmly in place.  Hmmm…

No, I’m in vixen mode, now, not Victorian.  Peep Show is sexy and fun despite its preponderance of female cleavage, both front and back.  Holly is adorable in the Bo Peep role.  Shoshana is confident and as spicy as her predecessor.  A special shout out goes to lead male vocalist Josh Strickland (an American Idol finalist) who can rock the house with only his voice and added sexiness for the ears as well as the eyes.  He didn’t get undressed either.  Lead singers don’t have to, you know.

By the time Holly finds her man, she sheds her already skimpy Bo Peep duds in a victorious striptease as her journey comes to an X-citing end.  There are lights and colors and costumes.  There are whistling, hooting audience members and a stage full of skin and glitter.

And there’s the sensation that you’ve gotten away with something.  You’ve been allowed to take a peep, a really big one, too, without being looked at as a perp.  Only in Vegas, my friend.  Only in Vegas.

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Tickets range from $65 - $100 + tax, with a VIP package (premium seating, tableside bottle service) available at $165 + tax per person.

Showtimes:
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday at 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. and dark on Wednesday.

For further information:
http://www.lasvegaspeepshow.com

 

Vocal Soup Simmers at the Suncoast Showroom

Who says it’s too hot for soup in the summer?  Not Clint Holmes, whose brainchild. “Vocal Soup” splashed into the Suncoast Showroom from June 19-21.  Each night sold-out quickly as audiences eagerly anticipated a crowded stage of no less than four headliners:  Holmes, Susan Anton, Domenick Allen and Martin Nievera.

showroom_stage

Holmes and Anton headlined at Harrah’s and the Flamingo respectively for more than five years.  Allen performed with Liberace in the early 80’s and as a vocalist with the rock group Foreigner; he’s a virtual one-man band.  Nievera is one of the most popular performers in the Philippines, with a silky, sensuous voice that can handle pop tunes, standards, and ballads with ease.

 

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Susan Anton & Clint Holmes

The 110 minute show highlighted solos from each singer, but fully half of the performance was spent as a quartet, sometimes accompanied by Vincent Falcone, pianist and conductor for Frank Sinatra for 10 years.  Bill Fayne, Holmes’ longtime music director also took a turn at the piano.  Jeff Neiman directed the five-piece band.

"I Am Singing," opened the show while the performers were still offstage.  One by one they appeared singing the Holmes original composition "If Not Now, When?"  which led into "Vocal Soup."

Each singer had roughly 10 minutes in the spotlight for solo numbers while the other three provided backup vocals.  They worked on everything collaboratively from ensemble pieces to duets to, even, just sharing lines from the same song.

Nievera was the first soloist, a powerhouse balladeer whose silky vocals took the audience through, "Once in a Lifetime" and "This is My Moment."  He also sang in his native language for his Filipino fans.  Even if you didn’t understand the words, you understood the mood that Nievera can craft with his multi-octave voice.

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Domenick Allen & Martin Nievera

Anton’s segment was full of torch and soul, as she made her way through Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You,” and the James Brown standard, “It’s a Man’s World.”  The statuesque Anton was the tallest person on stage, golden-haired and blessed with a golden throat.  Domenick Allen accompanied her on tenor saxophone for part of her set.  The emotion she can impart to a song reaches into the crowd and takes them on a journey with her

All four sang lines from Elton John’s “Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word” and the Foreigner hit, “I Wanna Know what Love is.”

A Sinatra tribute followed, with each singer taking a turn at one or two of the 18 songs, which included such hits as: "Luck Be a Lady," "Fly Me to the Moon," "Nice and Easy," "The Best is Yet to Come," "Night and Day," "Summer Wind", “My Kind of Town (Chicago is)” and concluding with "I've Got You Under My Skin”.  Vincent Falcone accompanied on the piano.

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Vincent Falcone accompanies Vocal Soup

The diverse quartet participated in singing "Woodstock" and "Fields of Gold," as a video salute to The Woodstock Festival played from a large screen.  Woodstock itself turned 40 this year.

Then it was Domenick Allen’s turn.  Having joined the rock group Foreigner after their fifth album was released, Allen had to learn their entire catalog in one week, and proved he was up to the challenge.  The multi-talented vocalist, who never met an instrument he couldn’t master, started his set with Foreigner classic "Cold As Ice," and followed with "Urgent," and “It Feels Like the First Time.”  There’s an old fable entitled “Stone Soup.”  Change “stone” to “rock” and you have Allen’s important, musical contribution to “Vocal Soup.”

dominick_allen
Domenick Allen


Clint Holmes' was the anchor to this relay team, bringing the group home with a tribute to Sammy Davis, Jr. Holmes introduced his conductor Bill Fayne, and the two launched into "Mr. Bojangles," followed by “Colorful” from Davis’ Broadway role in the play Golden Boy.  This included a vocal scat routine for which Holmes received an appreciative ovation.   Holmes concluded with a heartfelt version of “What Kind of Fool Am I?”

If you’ve never seen Holmes in action, you’re in for a treat.  If you have seen him, you anticipate the moment when all of that energy and empathy pour forth, injecting the audience with an optimism that keeps them riveted to their seats.  It’s a good thing because Holmes himself is so kinetic in movement and emotion, putting his entire effort into the performance at hand.

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Clint Holmes



The four Vocal Soup ingredients (six feet of Anton, Pinoy seasoning a la Nievera, a handful of Allen rock and a whole lot of Holmes) concluded the evening with, "Conviction of the Heart."  The audience concluded the evening with a standing ovation.

Plans are undoubtedly in the works to make “Vocal Soup” a more permanent act with its own dedicated venue.  Or is that menu?  Either way, you’re sure to enjoy a bowl.

 


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The Grand Finale


 


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