Friday, Oct. 24, 2008 | 11:19 a.m.
Four times a night and seven times a week, amidst eye-popping pyrotechnics, the sexy Sirens have fought off the pirates- and won! The 18-minute battle has always ended with the beauty outstripping the brawn and sinking their ship!
It won’t be any different tomorrow (Saturday), when the outdoor TI show celebrates its fifth anniversary! Except that TV’s 90210 star, AnnaLynne McCord, will guest as a celebrity Siren and perform in the show’s finale dressed in the costume of Sirens’ lead seductress, “Sin.”
In reaching the milestone as the Strip’s most-watched outdoor show, executives at the resort have revealed the cast has been signed to renewed contracts through to at least August of next year –- but they expect it to run even longer!
Back in 2003, coinciding with the sexy re-branding of the former Treasure Island complex into TI, the sexy Sirens have become a must-see attraction that’s attracted more than 10 million people. It was created by my friend, Emmy Award-winner Kenny Ortega, director of the box-office bonanza High School Musical movies. Sirens is a nightly battle of wits with extraordinary stunts, heart-stopping high dives, jaw-dropping pyrotechnics and eye-opening special effects.
“It requires a tremendous amount of talent and skill from the singers and dancers who have explosions going off all around them, and are diving off of high platforms as the ship is sinking,” said Ortega. He admits he took the Greek mythology of Homer's Odyssey as the show’s foundation, recreating it as a mini-updated pop opera with a musical score from songwriter Emilio Estefan. It wound up depicting a 17th-century clash between beautiful tempting ‘”Sirens” and the band of renegade Pirates who always “lost!” Kenny, who was the choreographer for Dirty Dancing and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off has also created dance routines for Michael Jackson, Madonna and Shakira.
Earlier this week, to salute the cast’s 96 consecutive months of shows, TI officials renamed the Buccaneer Bvld. street leading into the resort Sirens Cove Blvd. Tomorrow night, with AnnaLynne McCord, the cast will celebrate its official anniversary with a never-before-seen production, adding new sizzling dance numbers and silk acts. Then AnnaLynne will host the cast’s celebration at the designer Christian Audigier’s nightclub overlooking their lagoon.
The Sirens have also gone on to become one of the country's hot touring performance acts, singing the national anthem before sold-out crowds at games for the Chargers, Browns, Clippers, Lakers, Diamondbacks, Padres and others. They have also performed at such high-profile events as the Super Bowl in Jacksonville, at the Tennis Channel Open semifinals and performing at NASCAR’s Neon Garage during Nextel Cup weekend. Some of the Siren seductresses have appeared in such movies as The Hot Chick, Orange County, 10,000 Miles to Graceland, Like Mike and Charlie’s Angels II. Some of the pec-powered pirates have appeared in such movies as Miss Congeniality 2 and Lucky You.
I talked with lead pirate girl “Sin,” who has been played by Stacey Kane since the beginning. She won her audition after a local couple she was babysitting for encouraged her to try out for the show! She told me even after five years, she’s still loving it.
“I’m still pursuing avenues of acting but as of now I’m very happy being a Siren,” she said. Here’s the rest of our conversation:
RL: Changes have been made over the five years but do they still keep changing and tweaking and adding?
Sin: A little bit here and there. We kind of fine-tune the show how we want it to be and we’ve added more choreography over the previous years. But as of now we’re pretty happy with how it is. We run seven days a week, four times a night and it’s every 90 minutes for the nearly 20-minute show. We have a break between each show and then we come out and do it again. But we all work five days a week. Everyone gets two days off, so everyone knows different characters in the show so we are all able to have days off.
I think it’s brought different crowds to TI, which is what was intended when we changed the show. I think we have a younger crowd and we still have families come because they’re interested in seeing a show, and its still kid-friendly. I think we’ve opened up our horizons to other genres to younger crowds and we still have our return customers as well. Definitely an all-ages show
RL: You must have a specific highlight from the five years?
S: We also makeup a promotional group that does outside events, and recently we got to perform at the Playboy Mansion, which was pretty much one of the best moments that I’ve had working in the show. We got to meet Hugh Hefner and a few celebrities, which was a lot of fun. We got to perform there, meet some playmates so that was a big highlight.
RL: Has anybody from the audience ever dived in the water during your show?
S: We did have somebody recently. It’s very, very rare. About two months ago, someone tried to get brave and jumped in to join the pirates in the battle scene! That was a dangerous, stupid move but luckily for him we had one of our pirates in there and he fished him out. It sure made for an interesting show.
RL: You perform year-round so wintertime the weather is down at 40 degrees and summertime the temperature is at 100 so hot or cold you’re performing?
S: That’s right! It’s the most challenging part of the show: the weather. If the winds reach above 15 miles per hour, the show has to be called off because of the fireworks and the sinking ship. We can’t set off the fireworks in the wind or let the ship leave the safety of the harbor in strong gusts. Sometimes we’ll get a couple days lost out of the month, but most of the time we’ll really try to push the show and if the winds are going in a certain direction we’ll cut some of the pyro or some of the effects and still run it. So it’s not all that often. We don’t want to disappoint the people out there waiting for 45 minutes at a time. So we really try to push to deliver and in the event that we can’t we really try to make up for it. Often times we’ll go down and do meet and greets with fans and take pictures and sign autographs so that there is something for the people who have been standing outside for 45 minutes.
RL: What is it about the show that gets your energy up as you go to work after five years?
S: The energy of the show, and the getting to play a pirate every night is a lot of fun and it’s just such an intense show, especially the second half you know that’s when we do all the singing and the summoning of the storm and that’s when it is a very powerful, fun and intense moment. That’s what I like to do, that’s what makes me on love it every night and being able to have the freedom to kind of tweak your performance and have fun with it. It’s a new show every single night.
We’re all on a very fast high for the final 10 minutes of the show. You really get lost in the moments of the battle and the audience reaction is so gracious. They really enjoy the show, and sometimes when we’re downstairs meeting with family, people will come up to us and tell us how great the show. It’s nice to be appreciated when we’re up there dealing with all the weather situations.
RL: The show is set for an indefinite run, so in a sense is this a show that will never end for you? When do gorgeous pirate girls get too old and it has to come to an end?
S: It’s really hard to leave. It’s one of those jobs where we work with great people and you don’t want to leave. You want to hold on as long as you can. Sin will keep on sinning every night for as long as possible! “
You know my love of the ‘behind the scenes’ fun facts – so here’s what I learned about Sirens of TI:
*The Sirens of TI cast has performed 4,749 shows, for more than 10.7 million people.
*Total show run-time is 1,664 hours.
*Sirens’ Cove contains approximately 1.5 million gallons of reverse-osmosis filtered reclaimed hotel gray-water. Mostly 12 feet deep, with a 30-foot deep tilt deck pit, and an 18-feet deep high-dive stunt pit.
*The Pirates Bull Ship is 88 feet long and weighs approximately 135,000 pounds.
*The Pirates’ Bull Ship, moving back and forth to show, has traveled more than 307 miles and has sunk more than 36 miles.
*The Sirens’ Cove contains two independent hydraulic systems that have the capability of creating 1,200 HP combined with over 1,000 gallons of biodegradable hydraulic fluid in their reservoirs and field piping.
*86 individual pyrotechnic pieces are shot per show; over 408,000 total pieces of pyrotechnics shot thus far.
* The Flame effects consume seven gallons of liquid propane per show; over 33,250 gallons total thus far.
*The lighting system consists of 60 automated lighting fixtures, in addition to hundreds of static lighting fixtures.
*Sirens’ Cove contains a 40,000-plus watt sound system with speakers located throughout.