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Old-School Vegas Show "Jubilee!" Will Be Revamped

January 6, 2014

AP Photo/Joe Cavaretta, File
AP Photo/Joe Cavaretta, File

Hannah Dreier, The Associated Press, January 6, 2014

LAS VEGAS (AP) — "Jubilee!", the campy Las Vegas show with elaborate sequined costumes, chorus boys and, of course, showgirls, will close on Jan. 30 for a complete makeover.

The show at Bally's Las Vegas hotel-casino is expected to reopen with a more contemporary feel in March, under the direction of Frank Gatson Jr.

The show opened in 1981 under the direction of choreographer Donn Arden, an old-school showman credited with helping invent the Las Vegas showgirl.

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Gatson Jr. claims responsibility for developing the hand gesture from Beyonce's "Single Ladies" music video. He was nominated for a Grammy last year for co-directing Beyoncé's "I am . Tour," and has won six MTV Video Music Awards for best choreography.

"It has been amazing getting to know the cast and crew of 'Jubilee!', who night after night bring the idea of an amazing Vegas show to life for thousands around the world to see," Gatson said in a statement. "I am excited to continue working with our existing cast and crew, as well as new singers and dancers I hope to find over the coming weeks, to modernize Donn Arden's masterpiece."

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The new "Jubilee!" will retain some of its campy costumes and sets, but the choreography and music will be redone. Bally's will hold auditions in the coming weeks for new cast members, with casting calls in New York City, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

The show, originally titled Hollywood Jubilee, is one of the last of the flamboyant showgirl reviews that were once wildly popular on the Strip. Bally's officials say it's the longest-running show in Las Vegas.

Its founding documents have become historical artifacts, with the original sketches for the show's more than 1,000 costumes now housed at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas library.

"Jubilee!" is expected to re-open in March with tickets starting at $65, a relative bargain on the Strip.


Hannah Dreier can be reached at

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