Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014 | 3:02 p.m.
It’s not much of a secret: I don’t like or often acknowledge “tribute” shows. They are often cheap, bottom-rung productions, and there’s nothing like the real thing.
However, Jason Tenner’s variety show “Purple Reign” that opened at D Las Vegas over the weekend is not only an exception to my rule for zero to limited coverage, but it also stands very well on its own as a sassy and fun production certain to entertain fans of the super-talented, diminutive Minneapolis singer-songwriter and musician and those who may have never heard of HRH.
Plus, Jason’s show has two secret weapons that raise the sexy heat and fun factors. First, her royal hotness of dance Jennifer Romas who slinks, slithers, slides spills and splits her sultry self all over the stage and the magical musicians in a never-ending variety of eye-popping moves in curvy costumes and lustful and lacy lingerie.
In a black bra, stockings and a suspender belt wielding a riding crop, she can make one shiver in the desert heat. You have to see her to bathe in her sizzling-ness. Who knew that Jennifer also could balance en pointe as a ballerina, too?
Secondly, the amazing antics of cool-as-a-cucumber Kendrick Harmon partnering as the fabulous foil and assistant to Drew James brilliantly performing as self-absorbed Morris Day of The Time. Bespoke-suited Kendrick also has to be seen to be believed with his dance moves and split-second timing to Drew’s agility and ability.
Our thanks to contributing photographer Tom Donoghue, who captured all the power and the passion of the performances. His gallery of goodies proves that a great photo is worth a thousand words.
The night, however, belongs to Jason, who is uncannily brilliant as Prince in “Purple Reign.” He has Prince’s moves down to a T and just like the superstar himself is nonstop energy. The audience loved him as much as the superstar himself. Jason zips in and out of as many outfits as his muse jewel Jennifer; his includes an eyebrow-raising set of lacy see-through tights torn from the pages of Victoria’s Secret!
Jason’s unyielding vitality and verve is pure dynamism; if Nevada’s energy ever fails and the Strip neon blacks out, just plug Jason in as a power source. He is electrifying and the height of cool in bantering with the audience and his stage mates.
The two great guitarists, a dynamic drummer and a kingly keyboardist are as tight as could be belting out pounding pulses of power to make for a heat wave of psychedelic disco electronica.
It all adds up to a thoroughly enjoyable night of entertainment: a great mix of magical music, solid singing, happy humor with Prince and Morris Day & The Time impersonations, plus, a stunning, sassy and sexy dancing queen.
“Purple Reign” is an unforgettable, seat-jumping production that should run for a long time for enthusiastic audiences trekking from out of town and all over the Valley to enjoy the fun. Don’t bring the kids, though, because the prominent sexual lyrics smack you in the nose during the infectious sing- and dance-alongs.
“Purple Reign” is far more a variety than tribute show, but Jason has done Prince proud and deserves praise independent of the star’s success. If that unpronounceable “love” symbol Prince Rogers Nelson used after he dubbed himself The Purple One means “too big to name,” then Jason and his crew deserve to be right there on top with him.
“Purple Reign” is a diamonds-and-pearls experience. Go crazy and see “Purple Reign”!
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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The D Las Vegas is the new revved-up name for a longtime downtown Las Vegas hotel, Fitzgeralds, which had been in operation since 1987.
Owner Derek Stevens rebranded and refurbished the hotel in fall 2012 to give it a motor city theme, using the nickname of his beloved city, Detroit, for the name of the new hotel. He also brought in two restaurant favorites from Detroit: American Coney Island and Joe Vicari's Andiamo Italian Steakhouse.
The property features 638 remodeled contemporary rooms and suites. The unique two-level casino included slots and table games. Dancing dealers are featured on the first floor. And the second floor transports guests back in time to old-school Vegas with its Vintage Casino.
The casino also features the LONGBAR, the longest bar in Nevada, where sports fans can watch games on big screen TVs. Outside on Fremont Street, D Bar invites guests and passerby alike to enjoy refreshing frozen libations and specialty cocktails as talented, trickster bartenders send bottles and glasses flying through the air.
The Showroom at the D features the interactive comedy show, "Marriage Can Be Murder," where guests can be part of the mystery.