Put Your Chips on "Viva Las Vegas"…Winner at MMT By John Dwyer
"Viva Las Vegas" at Music Mountain Theater is a joy. Great local performers singing classic well-known and some not so well known Vegas tunes. It is well staged, choreographed and sung. And, it is especially well put together for a revue. It flows very well. Kudos to Louis Palena for constructing such a good show that seamlessly goes by. That feat is not easy. "Viva Las Vegas" was a musical revue concept that was set to be a show a couple of seasons ago, but covid hit. It’s time has come. With past revues done here often it was a revue celebrating a time in song, ie. A 60’s or 70’s revue. With the idea a Vegas show, it has given the revue more structure and a stronger thruline.
There are special effects and glitter and fireworks. Costume designer Jordan Brennan pulled out all the stops. There is probably a sequin shortage in the area as so many men and women in the show are shining brightly …literally. Plumes, headwear…the whole nine yards are on display. You do feel like you are seeing a show on the strip. Songbirds, chanteuses and lounge singers are all here, along with the dancing boys and girls that bring talent and Vegas Vavoom to the numbers.
The performers are Jordan Brennan, Rhett Commodaro, Jennifer Fischer, Jaimie Geddes, Molly Higgins, McAfee Madding, Alison McMullen, Louis Palena, Emma Sneddon, Kira Sneddon. It is a wonderful ensemble show with no one off the stage for very long. A whirlwind of song and dance.
Starting off with the song “When You Say Vegas,” from the Broadway show “Honeymoon in Vegas.” Palena and ensemble dish it up in true Vegas style, producing a jackpot of smiles right off. The first act has medleys based on luck, legends and the casino. It features classics like “Mack the Knife.” The second act has medley tributes to Tom Jones, Burt Bacharach and Wayne Newton and a
“secret guest” ending that tops off the night in true Vegas style. Commodoro has a perfect crooner voice. So smooth and warm. Case in point, Frank “Swoonatra”’s “Come Fly with Me. “ He also shines with Tom Jones’s “It’s Not Unusual. “ Commodoro and Fischer have a lovely duet of Bacharach’s “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” as a dancer (Molly Higgins) beautifully tells the story visually in a see-thru raincoat over her Vegas costume. Fischer has an extraordinary voice and acting ability. Having raved about her previously in “The Little Mermaid,” “The Last Five Years” and “Matilda” …she scores a home run everytime she sings. Loved her version of Rosemary Clooney’s “Hey, Mambo!”
Louis Palena is known for his vocals and his ease on stage. He knows how to create that special Vegas chemistry between singer and audience. “Masquerade,” “That’s Amore,” “What’s New Pussycat” all clicked. Jordan Brennan was delightful in “Just a Gigolo.” Loved “I Gotcha” with Jaime Geddes and McAfee Madding and Brennan. Geddes scored again with Peggy Lee’s “Fever.” Alison McMullen has been exceptionally busy of late. She was seen in the last show, Blithe Spirit and gave an incredible acting performance. Here the talented McMullen scores with Bacharach’s “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again” and “Fly Me to the Moon. “ Kudos to Emma and Kira Sneddon who round out the ensemble and provide some incredible backup singing and dancing.
This show has so much going on…all of it good. The odds are on the house. The front of house if you are lucky enough to be in the audience and enjoy this Vegas show. You can bet on it.
You can get tickets at https://www.showclix.com/event/viva-las-vegas-2023
The show runs through May 21st
Photos by John Dwyer