Saturday, April 29, 2023

SIX: The Musical

One of the great things about a Vegas trip is all the opportunity for surprises. Not bad surprises, like the bell desk lost your luggage or you just checked in and there’s a used prophylactic in your sheets.Good surprises, like a jackpot, or a delicious new drink, or finding out that random restaurant you decided to try has the best food ever.

On my most recent trip to Vegas, I got to experience one of those good surprises when we decided to check out SIX: The Musical during its limited residency at the Venetian. (An aside: I think that I’m a little more tapped into the theater scene than the average straight American male. This is due to a rather diverse resume that includes a non-zero amount of time working backstage in professional theater.  So I still hear stuff from friends in the entertainment industry.  But this show was not on my radar at all.)


Part of the reason for this is that SIX: The Musical is a relatively new show.  Conceived in 2017 for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, SIX quickly made its way stateside, where it had an unfortunately-timed Broadway debut in March of 2020.  Once it was able to actually open, it was a smash hit. In the 21/22 Broadway season, it received multiple awards, including the Tony Award for Best Original Score.The “SIX: Live on Opening Night” album also debuted at #1 on the Billboard cast album charts.  While the show plays on Broadway, there are also two touring productions traveling the US right now.

But didn’t know any of this when we sat down to see the show.

The premise is a sort of time-bending pop concert, where the six wives of Henry VIII are having a competition to see who was the most wronged by him, and who, therefore, should lead the “band.” The band is an all-woman four-piece rock/pop band who back up the six all-female cast members. Each queen gets a chance to say and sing her piece, arguing why each “she” was hurt the most by her marriage to Henry VIII.

To keep things interesting, the show creators gave each queen a “Queenspiration,” or a real pop star or two that their historical character and song style is modeled after.  For instance, Catherine of Aragon is styled after Beyonce and Shakira, while Jane Seymour is styled after Adele and Sia.  All of the music is modern styled, like Hamilton. You won’t find any lyres or harpsichords here. Unlike Hamilton, the costumes are also modern, but still manage to evoke Renaissance era England.

Damn, Jane! I want to see more!

The result is a unique and entertaining show that moves along on at a decent clip. The Broadway production is only 80 minutes long, so the Venetian production didn’t have to remove anything to accommodate Vegas audiences (or more accurately, casino bosses who would prefer show patrons be out of the theater and gambling.)

I found SIX: The Musical to be immensely entertaining. The performers are all extremely talented, and have gorgeous voices that compliment their “Queenspirations” and ensure that each of the songs have their own distinct sound. There were enough great tunes that we found ourselves streaming the soundtrack in the car next day. It’s also a funny show; especially Anne Boleyn repeatedly asking all the other wives how they could have possibly had it as bad as her when they have their necks intact.

During the remainder of its Vegas run, SIX: The Musical will be at the Palazzo Theater.  It’s a large, well kept theater. There is no drink service during the show, but there is a bar in the theater lobby.  Note that the exit for most patrons forces you through a single staircase, so it’s a little slow getting back out.

Things might get a little funky...

The Audience Fuckery Factor for SIX: The Musical is virtually zero. There’s some calls out to the audience for cheers or to get on your feet like you’re at an actual concert. No one in the audience is getting picked on or called onstage.

Performances are Tuesday through Sunday, up until May 7, 2023.  Tickets start at $78.

Wednesday, April 12, 2023


My heart just got all achey-breaky.

This next review is one that I’ve been hanging on to for some time.  Listeners with excellent memories might recall that back in spring of 2022, when I submitted my first review to be read on the show, we figured out that my wife and I were at a show the previous week that Mark was also at. I’m kind of in awe at how much has changed since then. I started as a regular contributor, then I attended my first Vegas Vacation, then we all started hanging out together on the many trips I’ve taken to Vegas since, and then Keren got tired of reading my reviews on the show, and so now here we are recording together. So today, let’s talk about the first time Mark and I hung out in the same room, even though we didn’t know it at the time. Let’s talk about X-Country.

Okay, so let’s get this out of the way. I like women. If women choose to be naked in front of me, I like that, too. As I type these words out onto the screen, it occurs to me that I probably cannot review this show without coming across like a dirty old man. But in the words of Popeye the Sailor, “I yam what I yam.”  So if you share or even merely tolerate my indulgences, then keep listening.

I'm rooting for your team, miss.

I’ve said before that for me, going to see shows in Vegas is more for my wife than me. However, since I’m the one who plans the trips, I’m often the one who chooses the shows. As a result we occasionally see a topless revue because I want to, damn it. My wife does not object to this.  There’s some tradition here. Vegas is where we let our freak flags fly.  Going back a few years to our first trip to Vegas as a couple, the first show we saw was “Fantasy” at the Luxor. (Note: It technically was “Brilliant!” at the Neon Museum earlier the same evening, but that kind of depends on how you define “show.”) So yeah, as a red-blooded straight male who loves Las Vegas, I’m kind of a connoisseur of these shows, or at least I’d love to be.  Since then, we’ve seen Fantasy three times, X Burlesque, BurlesQ (you have to pronounce the letter “Q” in their name because who the fuck knows?), Rouge, and now X Country.

Some words here about the change, the nature of Vegas, and regret: Like Mark, I consider myself a Vegas history buff. I never got to see any of the classic “showgirl” type shows; Mrs. Jaydubs and I kind of discovered Vegas as a couple just a little too late and Jubilee, the last true showgirl style show, had already closed.  Now Crazy Girls is gone (they say it will return with a new home, but that’s a song we’ve all heard before) along with X Rocks and Sexxy at Westgate. This has created a sense of urgency in me that has me treating topless shows like Pokemon: “Gotta See Em All!”

So if you’re still listening, and have never seen a topless show in Vegas and would like to, let me share more about the overall experience. First, just do it. I think most are reluctant to see a topless show because they’re worried about how they will be perceived. The audience is full of all kinds of people. Men, women, couples. Young people. Older people.  There’s more women and more couples in the audience than one might think at first, and the women cheer louder. It’s a hell of a lot of fun. Fantasy at the Luxor is probably my favorite. It has the nicest venue, the largest number of performers, and the most advanced choreography (which isn’t really that advanced, but hey, boobs!) I think it’s the longest running topless revue currently playing. We’ve seen it three times, and you can expect a review for Fantasy soon.

If it seems like I’m providing a lot of context and haven’t yet really reviewed X Country, you’re absolutely right. Because how much can you say about a show whose entire premise is young women dancing in nothing but boots and g-strings? And that is basically what you get with X-Country. It’s a fun, sexy show that got the Mrs and I warmed up for the evening. It served its purpose. We laughed, we cried, we got turned on, and we all learned a little something about ourselves along the way.

Just in case you’re starting to think I’m incapable of actually providing a critical review of this show:  There was a time that I thought there could be no such thing as a bad topless show, because hey boobs!  Check out episode 409, “Jennifer Grey Nose Job” formy review of BurlesQ (Why the FUCK do you pronounce the “Q” in their stupid ass name?!) to find out why that’s not necessarily true.

The good: I have to admit, I’m not a fan of country music. I know the lyrics to “Friends in Low Places” and I know that the Chattahoochie is a river in the south and not a nickname for my ex, but that’s about as far as my interest and knowledge of the country music scene goes. So I was a little worried that this show would be country-trashy, in a straw-chewing, cousin-fucking kind of way, rather than just Vegas-trashy in a paying-to-see-tits kind of way.  There are A LOT of different numbers in this show, and they quickly switch between the sub-genres of country songs to keep the energy going.  (What’s that line from The Blues Brothers? “We got both kinds, we got country and western.”)  I thought I might get bored after 80 minutes of country music, but the show managed to keep it fresh, and the boobs probably didn’t hurt either.  Still not a country music fan, though. The good news is that you don’t have to be one to enjoy the show.

Something for everyone: tits and ass!

There are five different performers, with a good mix between solo numbers, duos, and ensemble bits.  There was a variety of body-types between the performers, but zero variety in skin color, which I guess is consistent with the theme.  My wife is a dancer, (no, not that kind of dancer) and she informed me that at least three of the girls demonstrated that they have had some formal dance training. There’s an aerialist number that uses a silk web; it was pretty impressive how much she could do in such a small venue.

Comedian John Bizarre provides some laughs between numbers. We were seated right by the stage on stage right, and there was an occasional moment of terror when he looked our way as he was scanning for audience members to interact with.  Fortunately, he ended up picking on the four young guys opposite us who were legit farmers from Iowa. By the way, while our seats were close, I don’t recommend sitting to the side of the stage. There was a number in which I had a better view of the crew member holding up a set piece rather than the two girls writhing on the set piece.  Seats were decently comfortable, and ours had a small table between them for drinks.

X-Country performs nightly at Harrah’s at 10:00, and is dark Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  Tickets start at $60, and you should click through the link on the website or the show notes to get your tickets.