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March 24, 2019

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Review + photos: At Orleans Arena, it’s Alvin, Simon … Theodore!

‘Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Musical’

Jacob Cohl

“Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Musical” on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015, at Orleans Arena.

‘Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Musical’

“Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Musical” on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015, at Orleans Arena. Launch slideshow »

Who knew these rodents could rock?

OK, so maybe Alvin and The Chipmunks didn’t exactly rock Wednesday night at Orleans Arena, but their “Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Musical" performances did provide kids of all ages a fun-filled night.

The Chipmunks — Alvin, Simon and Theodore — are fooled by record promoter Ian Hawke into performing for Rockapalooza, “the hippest gig in all of rock ’n’ roll” and a benefit concert that will save the site of the famous Woodstock concert from becoming a shopping mall.

Unknown to The Chipmunks, though, there are no plans for a mall; instead, Ian plans to keep all of the money raised for himself!

To promote the “charity” event, Ian has arranged for The Chipmunks to go on a concert tour of the U.S. At each stop, shenanigans are in tall order, along with The Chipmunks’ take on popular songs.

Early selections in the show included Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Good Time” and “I Love Rock ’n’ Roll” popularized by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts. (Sample Chipmunk lyric: “I love rock ’n’ roll, so feed me another acorn, baby!”)

The shenanigans begin at The Chipmunks’ first rehearsal, where they learn the studio they’re supposed to use has been double-booked.

All is not lost, however, as the other group at the studio is the effervescent The Chipettes — sisters Brittany, Jeanette and Eleanor — who will be the opening act for The Chipmunks on their tour.

After the rehearsals, it’s time to hit the road. But rather than the luxury transportation The Chipmunks think they’ll have for their cross-country trekking, Ian has arranged for a clunker of a bus to transport the two trios.

Not to worry, though: With The Chipmunks’ caretaker Dave Seville at the wheel of the bus and the magic of song, the groups know that they’ll be “Safe and Sound.”

(Step aside, Capital Cities, the lyrics to your 2014 hit are no good; instead, let’s try, “We can make this work, I can get us where we want to go, with plenty of time for our show. We could use some luck, as we travel from town to town. I know that we will be safe and sound.”)

You get the idea.

But, in all seriousness, my 6- and 8-year-old kids loved all of the songs, dancing and singing along to more than a dozen familiar tunes throughout the 90 minutes. They also loved the confetti cannon, fake snow (confetti again) and audience-participation “food fight” (using balls shot into the crowd using a Gatlin gun-style contraption).

Orleans Arena was the last stop on the current “Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Musical Tour,” and, perhaps not coincidentally, Las Vegas was a featured stop on the fictional tour, too.

Ian booked The Chipmunks for a Las Vegas showroom. There, dressed in their best replica Elvis outfits, The Chipmunks belted out a mean version of “Hound Dog.” So electric was their performance, though, The Chipmunks caused a blackout in Las Vegas.

The lights went out on their show, their bus broke down, and The Chipettes discovered that The Chipmunks and they were being had by Ian all in their fateful Las Vegas night.

Once again, though, with music as their cue, the gang decides to make the best of their situation, breaking into their version of One Direction’s “Story of My Life.”

Ultimately, the group arrives in Upstate New York for their performance. Professionals that they are, they deliver a rousing version of LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” (with a drummer recruited from the audience to fill in after Theodore fell ill from eating too many cheese balls before the show), then ending with a second performance of “Good Time.”

Cheese balls? Maybe. But The Chipmunks and The Chipettes kept the kids entertained throughout the evening. Who could ask for anything more?

Well, “the Las Vegas power company” did. It sent a bill to Dave demanding payment for repairing the power outage.


John Taylor is the Las Vegas Sun’s copy chief.

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