I take absolutely no joy in writing this review. I wanted to LOVE Marilyn the Musical at the Paris Hotel and Casino Las Vegas.
Unfortunately, despite an exceptionally talented and enthusiastic 5* cast, this show is a disaster…
Firrstly, the stage is simply too big for this scale of show. With what looks like $0 spent on set and lighting design, even the most tender show stopping moments are lost in this vacuous space. Those bloody curtains!
This is a travesty as the cast are divine, hugely talented and work their arses off to deliver this familiar new score. MARILYN mostly looks like a dress rehearsal in someone else’s theatre before the set has loaded in.
I’m told they’re still tweaking the show, but, I can’t review a show I haven’t seen. This is the performance I was asked to attend.
Marilyn should be a hit. How could it go wrong? The story is iconic. However, the overwhelming size of the Paris Theater matched with the intimacy of this story (and production) leaves this stage and my soul empty.
Despite the best efforts of a terrific cast, a hard working ensemble with some delightful choreography and one killer 11 o’clock number from Star Ruby Lewis – this show is catastrophically let down by some of the worst staging and lighting I’ve had the torture to endure in my 25 year theatre career. Gutted.
I think it’s time Vegas gave up on musicals. Visitors don’t want them on the Strip, the Smith Centre gets world class tours for locals who do – and this type of cheap Broadway copycat gives the entire genre a bad name.
Here’s our HD audio / video review at Marilyn via YouTube:
Acclaimed Broadway actress and singer Ruby Lewis stars as Marilyn. She is magical in places.
The show features 15 ‘original’ numbers using familiar themes from Broadway classics like ‘The Heat Is On In Saigon’ and even Scar’s big number from the Lion King.
A cynical ploy aimed at those who know no better. This type of plagiarism would be enough to close the show on opening night in London or NYC! Thank God this is Vegas where ‘rules’ seemingly don’t matter.
You also get the hits including “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” “My Heart Belongs to Daddy,” and “Happy Birthday, Mr. President.”
Sadly at times, especially towards the end, this show goes from ‘passionate’ to screamy.
Ruby steals the show as Marilyn but is let down by appalling production and hideously lazy lighting throughout. Interestingly I stayed for the show in the same theatre after – INFERNO, which uses the same stage and lighting rig. Their lighting was magnificent – DOH! I therefore can only blame the creatives.
This theatre is equip with some of the best technology in show business, yet, we get 90 minutes of the same curtain opening and closing 600 times. Infuriating. Watching furniture being pushed on and off by hand was laughably embarrassing in 2018.
An insult to the legacy of a global star and legend.
Ruby has wonderful co-stars including Brittney Bertier as her younger self – Norma Jeane, Frank Lawson as Charlie, the brilliant Travis Cloer as Milton Greene, Christopher Showerman as Joe DiMaggio and Chanel Edwards-Frederick as the fabulous Ella Fitzgerald.
I won’t waste more time on this other than to say there are some wonderful ensemble numbers which if they had been framed correctly with fab lighting they would have looked enormous. Instead, without a proscenium arch, they all looked lost in this enormous space cluttered by the band sat on stage to fill the gaps.
The LED wall was magnificent but remained unused through most of the show to my amazement. Again, in 2018 this could have been the saviour of this production.
(I’m available for consultation if the producers want me to pop by. This is all basic stuff.)
The endless wheeling on and off of set took me back to village hall productions in 1982 – unforgivable at this level of show business.
Finally the band sounded great. However, PLEASE do not light them through the entire show, sat there bored. It’s hugely distracting and ruins what could be, in a different theatre, a very good show.
Shame. On Broadway or in the West End this would close within 3 months. Lets see how long it lasts in the ‘entertainment capital of the world’.
Review by Alex Belfield for Celebrity Radio 26th May 2018.