Monday, Jan. 14, 2013 | 7:50 p.m.
On and off the stage, “Pin Up” is taking shape.
The new show laden with classic dance numbers at the Stratosphere has a starting date: Feb. 25, with an 11 p.m. gala opening and red-carpet walk after Frankie Moreno’s show at 8 p.m. Ticket prices are set at $49.99, $59.99 for VIP seats (absent fees). The schedule for this show based on classic calendar models is 10:30 p.m. weeknights (dark Tuesdays and Wednesdays). Tickets are on sale at the Stratosphere box office at 800-998-6937 or at the hotel website beginning Tuesday morning.
The show stars 2011 Playboy Playmate of the Year Claire Sinclair, introducing a rotation of five dancers (four gals and a guy) performing a series of numbers boosted by a live, six-piece band featuring a horn section. The show is a nostalgic trip to the classic images of the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s. The theme borrows from famous calendar visages, which come to life in the scenes played out onstage at the recently refurbished Stratosphere Showroom.
Many of the scenes fittingly hearken to the era of Bettie Page, as Sinclair was recently a model and a spokeswoman for that company. There will be some magic intertwined in the show, too, with Las Vegas illusion designer Tim Clothier recruited to construct magic props and set pieces.
In a release to be issued this week, the show is described as “a fast-paced, swingin’ production that will transport audiences to a modern version of a vintage era when red lips, corsets and garter stockings grace the most beautiful of women.”
Much of the music for “Pin Up” is tailored specifically for the show and written by Moreno, listed as a co-producer of the production. Moreno arrived at the original sketch for the stage show in the spring of 2012, and the concept has been tweaked and modified over time by Stratosphere executives Drew DiCostanzo, Chris Townsend and Matt Mascali.
As is the case for Moreno’s show, the attempt is to create a throwback vibe in the showroom without performing a rote impersonation production. And, also similar to the Moreno show, the Stratosphere is fully bankrolling “Pin Up,” having cleared out “Bite” on Halloween after an eight-year run to make room for the new project.
But one holdover from “Bite” is a featured performer in “Pin Up.” Autumn Madill, a former vocalist for the toothy, adult, bump-and-grind experience, was chosen from more than 40 singers to audition in person and 70 to reply to the casting call. Madill also portrayed Lady Gaga in another since-defunct Strat show, “American Superstars.”
The show’s choreographer is Lacey Schwimmer, most famous for her professional contributions to “Dancing With the Stars,” both the TV show and the live production at Tropicana. Schwimmer appeared with Moreno in his feverish performance on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” in October. She choreographed the number, set to Moreno's “Tangerine Honey” and Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Wild Child.” Schwimmer danced with former "DWTS" contestant Kyle Massey during the live broadcast, an appearance that reached 14 million viewers.
At the center of all this creative and financial investment is Sinclair, at age 21 doubtless one of the youngest individuals to ever star in an open-ended production on the Strip.
“It’s been incredibly surreal,” Sinclair said in a phone interview Sunday. “I think the magnitude of what is going on will hit me the second I step onstage.”
That moment is rapidly approaching. The show bows after less than a month of formal rehearsals, and Sinclair has performed only in promotional videos for the hotel. The real work begins this week.
“Fortunately, there is some really adorable choreography from Lacey,” Sinclair said. “She has been great to work with. Let’s face it, my strongest skill is not dancing, it’s posing and moving for the camera. What we’re doing is taking pictures and making them poses, molding them into dance numbers, if that makes sense.”
But Sinclair is no novice to live performance. She was twice a guest star in the artistically appealing “Crazy Horse Paris” at MGM Grand in 2010 and 2011.
“If it weren’t for ‘Crazy Horse,’ there’s no way I would be doing this show’ ” she said. Unlike “Crazy Horse,” which closed in the fall at MGM Grand, “Pin Up” is not topless (“Bite” also was topless, for that matter). The new show is billed to be classy, sexy, fun and — probably most important — timeless.
“This type of entertainment never goes out of style,” Sinclair said. “It’s a show that can be durable and can be seen in five years and still be appreciated. It’s a classic and vintage show, not something that is trendy that just hits on a moment in time. I’m so excited about it.”
Sounds like a person eager to bring the calendar to life.