Friday, April 7, 2017 | 2 a.m.
Ricky Martin wasted no time making his Park Theater debut Wednesday night. Wearing a golden tuxedo jacket while unleashing the first strains of “Livin’ La Vida Loca,” the Strip’s newest resident star was lowered on a platform from the ceiling onto his custom stage, which allowed him to get ridiculously close to his audience for the next hour and 40 minutes.
Then, after two more danceable hits in “This Is Good” and “Shake Your Bon-Bon,” Martin slipped immediately into a Vegas-fied portion of the show, singing a sultry Sinatra mix of “Luck Be A Lady” and “The Lady is a Tramp.” The next setup, all black and white with rolling platforms and leather-clad dancers, recalled Jailhouse Rock. Clearly, Martin is embracing his new home.
Backed by 16 athletic dancers, a hot nine-piece band with a particularly sizzling horn section and the guidance of director Jamie King — who’s also responsible for Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson ONE and two of Martin’s previous touring productions — Ricky Martin: All In made more than a splashy arrival on the Strip. With seemingly infinite energy driven by the peerless charisma of its star, this show is built for the Las Vegas audience of right now.
Martin breezed through an incredible amount of choreography while reeling off hits and ballads like “She’s All I Ever Had” and “Nobody Wants to be Lonely,” the latter a duet with a video version of Christina Aguilera. But the biggest response came during the second half of the show’s barrage of Spanish language songs, most notably the reggaeton-charged “Vente Pa’ Ca,” also a video duet, this time with Colombian singer Maluma.
It was impossible to take an accurate gauge of crowd reaction on opening night as this first show will likely be the smallest crowd to see All In. That’s because the two GA pits inside the circular-track stage were empty, and the balcony wasn’t used, either. Once the production makes full use of the theater, it’s not crazy to think Martin’s audiences will reach into the 6,000 range.
The show was capped with a free-for-all performance of “The Cup of Life (La Copa de la Vida),” recalling Martin’s legendary 1999 performance of the song at the 41st Grammy Awards. That was the moment he became an international superstar, and his all-out performance style hasn’t changed at all.
Ricky Martin: All In returns to the Park Theater at the Monte Carlo April 7, 8, 11, 14 and 15; it’s back June 23-July 2 and again in September.