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Las Vegas Spotlight: September 2008

Cinderella Story logo
Ashley Sutherland and Jason Nious
in Cinderella
(© Werner Du Plessis)
Who would have thought that Las Vegas of all places would give birth to something called the British National Theatre of America? Credit that international giant Cirque du Soleil, which has been bringing people from all over the world to the desert city for years now. The four founding members of the BNTA all met while working on Cirque's Beatles show, LOVE, and they are now launching their new theater company's first season with a production of Cinderella (September 2-10) at the Summerlin Theatre. The BNTA was created as a vehicle for theater with "a decidedly British accent," and accordingly this family-friendly modern-day Cinderella is done in the style of traditional British pantomime, with lots of silly slapstick, song and dance, and audience participation.

The Las Vegas Little Theatre opens its 2008-2009 season with a production of Ken Ludwig's backstage farce Moon Over Buffalo (September 12-28). The comedy is about a B-level theatrical couple, the Hays, who discover that they might have one last shot at achieving Hollywood fame, but first must survive all the hi-jinks unfolding behind-the-scenes at the lousy touring production of Cyrano that they're currently doing. John Ivanoff and Barbara King play George and Charlotte Hay, and Sarah O'Connell directs the door-slamming antics.

There won't be any such comic fun over at UNLV, where the Nevada Conservatory Theatre is kicking off its season with Shakespeare's tragedy King Lear (September 19-28). This version of the Bard's play about an aging royal descending into madness is a new adaptation by Michael Lugering, who has previously directed NCT productions of Private Lives and Doubt.

Later this month at the Onyx, the Cockroach Theatre presents Mac Wellman's 7 Blowjobs (September 19-October 4). Written, believe it or not, before Lewinskygate broke, this 1991 satire was Wellman's response to having his NEA funding threatened by Jesse Helms and other conservative Washington folk. The work isn't very plotty but does feature Wellman's signature linguistic flourishes. It follows the reactions of a Republican senator and his prudish staff when they receive a packet of photographs depicting the sex act referred to in the play's title.

Finally, September is a big month for big names in Vegas as headliners storm the Strip. Bob Dylan plays the Hard Rock Hotel on September 1, and Billy Bob Thornton and his band The Boxmasters will be there September 5. Jessica Simpson plays the Palms on September 18, and Janet Jackson is at the Mandalay Bay the next day. Looking for something more mellow? Then don't go to Orleans, where Alice Cooper takes his "Psycho Drama Tour" September 5-7. If you're interested in entertainment that's a little classier, Placido Domingo is singing at Planet Hollywood on September 15, and Tony Bennett is serenading the Vegas Hilton September 19-20. John Davidson, previously of Hollywood Squares but now a stage regular (he was on Broadway in State Fair in 1996), appears at the Suncoast September 12-14.

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