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November 23, 2014

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Tara Palsha of ‘Vegas! The Show’ leaving the Strip to roll the dice in New York

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Justin M. Bowen

Tara Palsha and Tom Lowe perform during the opening of “Vegas! The Show” at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood.

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Tara Palsha attends Recycled Percussion's opening night at The Quad in Las Vegas on Thursday, March 14, 2013.

'Vegas! The Show' First Anniversary

Launch slideshow »

Opening Night: 'Vegas! The Show'

Dancer Moteece Mask shown during the opening of Launch slideshow »

It’s a story that would make a great musical: A gal from Pennsylvania, armed only with a pair of suitcases and a dream, traipsing off to New York to try to make it big on Broadway.

Wait. It already is a musical. That would be “42nd Street.”

But it also is the story of Tara Palsha, the plucky dancer from Pittsburgh who is tossing caution to the wind and taking a shot at the Big Apple.

Of course, on this path to NYC, Palsha took something of a detour.

Through Las Vegas.

For 11 years.

But one of the most dynamic and accomplished dancers in VegasVille is leaving, at the end of this month, for parts uncharted in New York City. Palsha arrived here in 2003, winning a part in “Jubilee!” at Bally’s and spending 12 months learning something new:

How to be a showgirl.

“Before I came to Las Vegas, I had just graduated from college and went to stay with my mom for a few months to figure out my life plan,” Palsha says. “Then I saw that reality show, ‘Nearly Famous,’ about ‘Jubilee!,’ and that inspired me to try out.

“Once I got to Las Vegas, I thought it was the coolest thing ever, to be a kid from Pittsburgh working with these women I’d seen on TV.”

Having earned a bachelor’s degree in dance performance from Kent State, Palsha has lived a lifetime since. She has bounded around productions of all ilk in Las Vegas: “Bite” at Stratosphere, “Fantasy” at Luxor, “Peepshow” at Planet Hollywood, the Rick Thomas magic revue at V Theater at Miracle Mile Shops and finally “Vegas! The Show” at Saxe Theater at Miracle Mile Shops.

That last production, the signature show of David Saxe Productions, helped propel Palsha into the spotlight. She was promoted to principal dancer soon after the production opened in 2010, donning costumes ranging from a “Red Hots” one-piece swimsuit to a gleaming green dress to a show-closing showgirl costume reminiscent of her days in “Jubilee!”

Palsha also took up singing about two years ago, developing a latent talent passed on to her by her mother, Rene Carnevali, who is a trained opera singer. An extremely under-the-radar debut one night at the Dispensary on Tropicana and Eastern led to a brief stint with the original version of BBR and appearances in Jim Caruso’s “Cast Party” at the Smith Center.

It was widely expected, at least among Palsha’s friends and castmates at “Vegas! The Show,” that she would eventually be featured as a singer in that production. But before a number for her was developed, Palsha went off and met one Scott Moats while she was on a Caribbean cruise during a stint with Sin City Comedy Club (which employs dancers between comedy sets).

The two met in March 2013, and by the end of the year — New Year’s Eve, specifically — they became engaged. Moats is one of these fellas who looks like he just walked off the pages of a fashion magazine. There is a reason for that, as he is an international model. And that world is centered largely in New York, so Palsha is heading back east.

“I’m taking two suitcases, literally, and that is it,” Palsha says. “Maybe if I’m ambitious, I’ll pack a couple of boxes. But it is going to be a new life for me, totally.”

Palsha’s plan is simple: Answer casting calls for musicals “on- and off- and in-between Broadway,” as she says.

“Hopefully I can get work as a singer-dancer or a dancer-singer,” she says. “I’m more of a dancer, of course. But they don’t know that.”

What awaits in this new adventure? Palsha laughs before answering.

“I raise that question to myself all the time heading to a land where nobody knows me.”

But those who do know her know that the dancing redhead is a real keeper. From the Strip to 42nd Street, Tara Palsha will always be that.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at Twitter.com/JohnnyKats. Also, follow “Kats With the Dish” at Twitter.com/KatsWiththeDish.

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