Keeping Abreast of Burlesque

Adult revues complement Las Vegas' longstanding reputation as a playground for grown-ups

By: David Yeskel

A few years ago, when marketing gurus decided that families should be Las Vegas’ new target market, some venues decided to stick with their adult-oriented shows.

So, thankfully, there still are some sins left in Sin City.

Here’s a sampling of the city’s popular adult revues, including long-running and recently introduced shows:

Donn Arden’s “Jubilee!” In this town, where six months is called staying power and a one-year anniversary conveys veteran status, how can we categorize “Jubilee!?” The 22-year-old production show at Bally’s Las Vegas still runs six nights a week, while lots of pretenders and also-rans have fallen by the wayside.

So why does this show have some of the longest “legs” in Las Vegas? It’s because the seven-act extravaganza has scores of topless dancers, lavish sets, stunning costumes and expert choreography; as well as scenes depicting “The Sinking of the Titanic” and “The Destruction of the Temple by Samson.” It’s all so reminiscent of a time when adults came to Las Vegas to see and be seen at such over-the-top shows.

A $3 million opening act, based on Jerry Herman’s “Hundreds of Girls,” has been added; and specialty acts featuring acrobats and aerialists wow the crowd between production numbers.

“Showgirls of Magic” In a male fantasy, what could top four beautiful showgirls performing magic? Four topless showgirls performing magic, of course. Abracadabra there’s nothing up their sleeves, because they have none.

Featured at the just-off-the-Strip Hotel San Remo, this fast-paced show has been packing them in since February 2001 with a mix of comedy, music, magic, dance and just a sprinkling of raunch. And the magic performances are surprisingly professional.

Priced from only $25.99 (which includes two drinks), “Showgirls of Magic” is a great value and, as the tagline says, “Magic never looked so good.”

Folies Bergere After 40 years, the original Las Vegas topless revue still plays to sold-out houses, twice a night, at the Tropicana Hotel. Feathers, boas and breasts predominate; but don’t miss Wally Eastwood’s incredible juggling act in which he spits pingpong balls 40 feet into the air.

The show originated in Paris, but, after all this time, Las Vegas can say it has a legendary Folies too.

“La Femme” The MGM Grand’s latest nod to adult entertainment is an import from the world-famous Crazy Horse in Paris. Classy, subtle and very sensual, this professionally produced show is a chic example of high-end adult entertainment. La Femme’s classically trained dancers, all members of the original Paris troupe, perform to a seductive score while being lit and backlit in a multitude of colors.

Even the theater is a virtual recreation of the Parisian original, seating only 340 in an intimate environment.

And for those who doubt that a sexy show can also be a class act, La Femme is proof that the terms “adult revue” and “sophisticated” are a perfect match.

“Midnight Fantasy” If you’re expecting sky-high bejeweled headdresses, feathers and boas, don’t look to the Luxor. This series of sketches is all red leather chaps and cowboy hats, rhinestone bustiers, filmy negligees and business suits.

A talented comedian and impressionist duo provide entertaining interludes when things get a little too steamy. But that’s enough about that ... which fantasy were we in again?

Now Showing

Adult revues, old and new, are steaming up showrooms all along the Strip. Here’s a list of shows and their details, including toll-free box-office numbers, where available. Ticket prices are subject to change.

“Bottoms Up” (Flamingo): 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. daily except Sunday. $12.95. 800- 732-2111;

“Crazy Girls” (Riviera): 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. nightly, except Thursday. $29.95-$49.90.

“Splash” (Riviera): 8:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. nightly, except Friday. $59.95-$75. 877-892-7469;

Donn Arden’s “Jubilee!” (Bally’s): 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. nightly, except Friday. $53.50-$70. 800-237-SHOW or 800-237-7469;

“Folies Bergere” (Tropicana): 7:30 p.m. (covered) and 10 p.m. (topless) nightly, except Thursday. $51.45-$62.45. 800-829-9034;

“La Femme” (MGM Grand): 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. nightly, except Tuesday. $59. 877-880-0880;

“Midnight Fantasy” (Luxor): 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday; 10:30 p.m. Wednesday and Friday. $34.95. 800-557-7428;

“Showgirls” (Rio): 11 p.m. nightly, except Tuesday. $39.95. 888-746-7784;

“Showgirls of Magic” (San Remo): 8 p.m. (covered) and 10 p.m. (topless) nightly, except Monday. $29.99, including two drinks. 800-522-7366, ext. 6028, after 1 p.m. Pacific Standard Time;

“Skintight” (Harrah’s): 10:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and Saturday; 10 p.m. and midnight Friday; 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Sunday. $39.95. 800-392-9002; www.harrahs .com/our_casinos/las/entertainment/skintight.html