Rock out to Elvis, swing along to Sinatra and bop to Burt Bacharach, all in one place. Las Vegas has a foothold in Oro Valley, and it’s not going anywhere—at least through the end of November.
Packing all the Sin City glitz and glamour they could into one building, The Gaslight Music Hall recently rolled out its newest weekly production, “Viva Las Vegas, A Star Studded Spectacular.” The show is a trek through the most memorable performers to grace the stage in the Entertainment Capital of the World.
The musical revue features six vocal performers, Armen Dirtadian, Erin Anderson, Brian Paradis, Kelli Workman, Randall McDonald and Chelsee Hicks, backed by a seven-piece band featuring piano, guitar, bass and brass.
It’s an impressive display from the start, leading off with Anderson, Workman and Hicks, each of whom launch into their own renditions of Charo’s “Cuchi Cuchi” before rolling into the Barry Manilow classic, “Copacabana.”
It’s a (seemingly) never-ending stream of performers from there, featuring hits from Wayne Newton, Elton John, Bette Midler and “Mr. Blue Eyes” himself, Frank Sinatra, to name a few. And that’s just the first half of the show.
The six-person cast of performers embodies each of the famous personas well, often making quick costume changes between songs and altering their voice and delivery slightly to better embody the hip-swinging Elvis or the haunting tune of Cher. No cast member delivers a more impressive performance than Dirtadian, who handles Wayne Newton, Neil Diamond and Sinatra (among others) with a poise, voice and stage presence worthy of his own spot in the big city.
Dirtadian leads the way in Vegas, though none of the Gaslight cast are weak links, and each shine in their own moments throughout the night with a solo or duet.
While the six performers steal most of the limelight, the backing band truly comes alive to cover B.B. King.
Leading the band is musical director and bassist Derek Norman. Sly Slipetski, who entertains on the keys for the music hall’s murder mystery, returns to the piano for the “Star Studded Spectacular,” and impresses with his rendition of Elton John’s “Rocketman” and a dazzling Liberace cover. Allan Barrett hammers on the drums all night long, while Mike Serras provides guitar riffs and Carlos Chavez blasts on the trumpet.
Rounding out the band are Brian Hicks and Denise McCreary on tenor and baritone saxophone, respectively. More than horn players, Hicks and McCreary take center stage together during the first act. A delightful surprise.
While the eastside Gaslight Theatre is known for its elaborate, hand-painted backgrounds during its melodramatic performances, the music hall stage features beautiful, dynamic colored lighting and ambience to match each performance. When the notes are high, the lights shine. When the music is soft and mellow, you can feel the calm in the air.
The cast and band jump right into Vegas when the show starts, and different performers will occasionally add a bit of insight into the famous figures they’re portraying, or a bit of Vegas history—adding a pleasant break to the rolling performances.
The “Viva Las Vegas, A Star Studded Spectacular” runs at The Gaslight Music Hall, 13005 N. Oracle Road, through Nov. 21. More information can be found online at gaslightmusichall.com or over the phone at 529-1000.