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July 29, 2014

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VINTAGE VEGAS:

Photos: Final bow for ‘Folies Bergere’

Image

Leila Navidi

Dancer Michelline Padilla waits for her cue at Tropicana’s Tiffany Theatre. “Les Folies Bergere” was first staged in Las Vegas in 1959. As of Saturday night, the show will have been performed 29,000 times.

"Folies Bergere" closes the curtain

The showgirls are reflected in a mirror during a performance of Folies Bergere at the Tiffany Theatre inside the Tropicana Monday, March 23, 2009. Folies Bergere's last show will be Saturday, March 28, 2009. Launch slideshow »

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It’s 6:15 Monday night backstage at the Tropicana’s Tiffany Theatre — the beginning of the final “Les Folies Bergere” workweek.

No one is here. The rooms are filled with rows of mannequin heads topped with ornate headdresses, racks of sequined costumes and jars of rhinestones.

Almost 50 years have passed since “Folies Bergere” staged its first performance at the Tropicana. Photo collages in the hallways backstage tell the story of everything that’s happened in between. In black-and-white, faded sepia and bright color, performers in ornate plumage are arm in arm, smiling widely for the camera, frozen in time.

At 6:45 the performers begin to trickle in. Showgirls enter the dressing room and begin applying makeup and gluing eyelashes. Showgirl Kim Denmark sits down at her mirrored station and drops her bags on the floor, looking at herself in the mirror.

She sighs. “It’s going to be a hard week. I can already tell.”

“Folies Bergere” will stage its last performance at the Tropicana on Saturday night.

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