Flashback Friday: Are showgirls on the endangered list?

Posted by on Aug 21st, 2009 and filed under Featured, Xtra News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

For years, the iconic symbol of Las Vegas has been the jewelled, feathered, statuesque showgirl. Holding a Las Vegas event minus a bevy of beautiful showgirls would be akin to making a peanut butter sandwich without the jam – it sticks in one’s craw.

Thoroughly Modern Minsky

Showgirl extravaganza

So dial the irony up to 11 when you realize that Las Vegas has only one showgirl revue left – Jubilee!  Oh, showgirls make an appearance in other productions – most notably in Bette Midler’s fabulous show “The Showgirl Must Go On.” But if you are looking for a classic demonstration of showgirl style in authentic Vegas over-the-top spectacle – it’s slim pickings. When Top Chef rolled into town, they did what most companies now do to locate a “showgirl,” call a talent agency. The “Stardust Showgirls” who appeared on the first episode share their name with the historic hotel but never performed there. Instead, the group is one of several entertainment acts featuring showgirls that are booked for cruise ships, corporate events and more.

This drought is a far cry from the showgirl heyday of the 1960s when our Flashback Friday photo was taken. During that decade, showgirl-driven productions were the rage on the Las Vegas Strip with shows like:  ”Folies Bergere,” “Lido de Paris,” “Thoroughly Modern Minsky,” “Casino de Paris,” “Vive Le Girls,” “Hallelujah Hollywood” and many more.

To truly gain an appreciation of all it takes to be a showgirl in Vegas, take the Jubilee! All Access Backstage Walking Tour. From a close-up look at costumes (feathered headresses can weigh up to 35 pounds) to props (the replica of Titanic takes nine stagehands to move), the tour is a revelation and an insider’s look at something most Vegas audiences never see. But get here fast, you may be witnessing the final years of these reknowned Vegas icons.

Jennifer Whitehair

Born and raised in Las Vegas, Jennifer grew up believing everyone had slot machines in their convenience stores and celebrated Oct. 31 (Nevada day) with a day off from school. Jennifer has a background in journalism and worked as a reporter for newspapers in both Northern and Southern Nevada, before joining Vegas.com in 1996. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times and other publications. She covers every part of Las Vegas for Vegas.com and loves tracking down vanishing pieces of historic and vintage Vegas. You can find her on Google+ and Twitter.

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