If we had a time machine, you can bet that our first trip back in time would find us in Vegas in the ’50s… all 10 years of the decade. Why? It was an era laced with magic that ignited the golden age of our beloved Sin City. During this time, Elvis and Frank Sinatra both performed their very first Vegas shows, many of the Strip’s iconic landmarks were erected, and the beauty of this one-of-a-kind destination took human form when the ever-stunning showgirl was introduced to the entertainment scene.
Think about it, without these icons, Vegas would not have the same meaning that it does today. And while we have garnered incredible tribute talent to keep the spirit of irreplaceable acts such as Elvis and Sinatra alive, there are some things that are simply irreplaceable…. Let’s face it, the Chewbacca that collects dollars for photos by the Tropicana Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard escalators is not exactly “classic” Las Vegas.
However, there is one spectacle remaining on the entertainment stretch that seemingly skipped the “get-old-and-retire” memo. Yes, a true classic with no plans of skipping town is none other than Donn Arden’s “Jubilee.”
As one of the last remaining genuine showgirl productions in the world and the longest-running show on the Strip, the expectations set to preserve the show’s original concept and glory are perhaps best showcased among the production’s 65 dazzling showgirls.
“Jubilee is a classic Las Vegas production-style show,” explained seasoned “Jubilee” showgirl Sarah Sutter. “We are the last of its kind in the United States, one of the last in the world so I always tell people you will never see something like this ever again in your life.”
However, seeing that the showgirl is the main attraction of “Jubilee,” in order to maintain the authenticity of the production is an entirely different art in and of itself.
Opposite to what one may believe, it turns out that the “Jubilee” showgirls that we admire today “…live normal lives” according to Sutter.
“A lot of people are going to school during the day, working a second job, things like that” Sutter elaborated. The thing is that a lot of people always think we live in the hotel or on the Strip. We all live normal lives, our offices just happen to be on the stage instead of going to an office building.”
Contrary to showgirls of days past who were known to put on a show and then go live it up with the high rollers in the city, today’s showgirls, for the most part, spend their after hours taking care of their bodies and tending to their personal lives.
“The thing about our show, we are working six days a week and the show is very hard on our bodies so we have to figure out a way to maintain our bodies,” Sutter told us. “We need time to rest and recover and we only have the one day off so we spend a lot of time resting.”
But, Sutter confirmed that the life of a Vegas showgirl is a far stretch from anything dull. “There are perks to being in the show,” Sutter revealed. “People find it fascinating so, if we do want to go out, it is easy for us to make connections here; throughout the town, they enjoy having performers in their venues so that’s really nice for us.”
As far as keeping their picture perfect physiques toned to a T, we learned that performing in the show is exercise enough for most of the dancers.
“In the show we all have between nine and 11 costume changes and a lot of people don’t know that our dressing room is two flights of stairs below the stage,” Sutter explained. “So, every time we are changing our costume, we are going down stairs and coming up stairs so we are climbing over 1,500 stairs a night on top of carrying a costume with all of the total weight on it could be over 30 pounds, you’re carrying them up and down the stairs on top of just the physical aerobic activity of all of the dancing.”
So let’s recap this — not only are the “Jubilee” showgirls’ bodies hypnotizing, they perform as if their costumes are made of cotton candy. You try (gracefully) walking down a grand staircase with 35 pounds of jeweled and feathered amazingness atop your head. Yeah. These dainty beauties just got a lot more badass, huh?
But, how one even gets the opportunity to see if they can handle all of the above begins with the “Jubilee” showgirl requirements that have been used to cast the show from the beginning.
Due to the massive, half-football-field-size stage, all of the performers must be larger than your average-size human in order to appear proportional and not dwarfed among the grand set pieces. Ranging in height from 5 feet 8 inches to 6 feet 2 inches, the showgirls are required to meet these height specifications among other things such as remaining tan line-free.
But when it comes down to it, these talented women who have spent their whole lives honing their craft of dance, being a part of this show is worth every last bit of hard work they pour into it.
As Sutter told us, “I think it’s an honor to be a showgirl because like I said, we are the last of the kind, you know, I am part of American history. I am part of the history of Las Vegas so, its just something that I am very, very proud of and honored to be a part of.”
For showtimes and tickets to Donn Arden’s “Jubilee,” click here.