Wednesday, April 27, 2016 | 2 p.m.
When Lisa Marie Smith first saw “For The Record: Baz” at Light in Mandalay Bay last June, she gazed at the stage and said, “I am going to be in that show.”
She is now in that show.
The primary singer in “Pin Up” at the Stratosphere since joining the show in August 2013, Smith has taken an offer from the new version of “Baz” to open in June at Palazzo Theater.
“Baz: Star Crossed Love” draws from the Baz Luhrmann films “The Great Gatsby,” “Romeo + Juliet,” “Moulin Rouge” and “Strictly Ballroom.” The production closed in August when Cirque du Soleil, a partner in the production in its Theatrical Division, sold Light and got out of the nightclub business.
After a lengthy tour of Las Vegas venues, the show has landed at Palazzo Theater, which is being redesigned for a 360-degree theatrical experience in the venue that most recently was home to “Frank: The Man, The Music."
In this return of “Baz,” Smith is the onstage swing — she is asked to cover the three lead female roles of Juliet, Daisy and Star. Her final night at “Pin Up” is May 16.
Smith is the first Las Vegas cast member to be announced in the show, which will bring a predominantly Los Angeles troupe to its first six-month run at Palazzo. In such a swing role, there is opportunity for growth inside a production.
And Smith says growth is the reason for leaving a solid gig in “Pin Up,” a rather rare Las Vegas production in that it is produced and funded by its host hotel.
The show’s star remains 2011 Playboy Playmate of the Year Claire Sinclair. No permanent replacement for Smith has yet been announced; the show’s current swing is the uber-talented Savannah Smith.
“I wanted to grow artistically and grow in my career,” Lisa Marie Smith said today in a phone conversation. “I have had a great opportunity in ‘Pin Up’ to develop a name in the community, and also grow as a singer, and I am very grateful for that.”
The singer in “Pin Up” is required to carry a heavy load, singing 12 full production numbers five nights a week. The vocal durability and dexterity has allowed Smith to take on a role in a show that borrows from contemporary classics, “When Doves Cry” “Lady Marmalade” and “Back to Black” among them.
Smith is a graduate of Las Vegas Academy and Boston Conservatory, where she earned a degree in musical theater.
“I looked at the options, and I knew I had to move on,” Smith said. “I wanted to continue to use my education and really explore musical theater in a different type of show.”
Smith auditioned for “Pin Up” after a tour on the Holland America line and performed years ago in the Bevertainer program at the Rio. She also was a cast member in “Tony N’ Tina’s Wedding” playing the pregnant Connie when the show was staged at Planet Hollywood.
To further fortify Smith’s Las Vegas connection to the “Baz” production, the show’s casting agency is led by Barbara Lauren, who five years ago also cast Smith in “Tony N’ Tina’s.”
“Not everyone gets to choose where they want to work, but I’m lucky to work in Las Vegas,” Smith said. “My family is here. I would choose to live here regardless of whether the work was here. This is my home.”
It is virtually impossible to be anywhere in Las Vegas and miss the Stratosphere. It towers 1,149 feet above Las Vegas and is the tallest observation tower in the United States. The casino itself is 55,784 square feet and contains 950 slot machines, 120 game tables and 2,427 hotel rooms.
Of the hotel's 2,427 rooms, 909 were recently remodeled into Stratosphere Select rooms.
The Stratosphere is mostly known for its rides at the top of the tower. The Big Shot, located at the 113th floor, torpedoes riders up 160 feet using compressed air. X-Scream is a teeter-totter perched at the top of the observation deck — if that wasn't scary enough, the coaster arm flings the riders out 27 feet over the edge of the tower. Guests looking for something more sedate can just hang around the 107th floor and simply look at the scenery.
With top accommodations, first-rate entertainment, high-end shopping and a slew of acclaimed chefs, the Palazzo has positioned itself as one of the most luxurious resorts on the Strip.
More than 3,000 all-suite rooms start at 740 square feet and are decorated in a modern, yet classic, Italian style. Each room features a sleeping area, with a king or two queens, and a sunken living room area with floor to ceiling windows.
A cathedral ceiling tops the Palazzo casino, while a second 80-foot dome brings natural light to the property's lobby. The 105,000 square foot casino features more than 2,000 slots and 80 table games but lacks the stale smell of cigarettes, as the property is LEED certified with smoking off limits in most of the Palazzo — including 50 percent of the casino floor.
Dining at the Palazzo is among the best of the Strip, starting with Wolfgang Puck's CUT. Chef Simon To serves up authentic Chinese cuisine at Zine, while Sushisamba combines Brazilian and Peruvian flavors with Japanese techniques. At LAVO, club-goers can dine on Mediterranean dishes before heading upstairs to the bath house-inspired nightclub.