Luxe Life Blog
Jubilee! turns 30 after 18 million guests, 500,000 pairs of tights
Editor’s Note: One of today’s guest columnists is showgirl Katie James of Jubilee! at Bally’s Las Vegas while Robin Leach takes his well-deserved annual vacation to Europe (follow him on his travels at twitter.com/robin_leach). Every day, a new column, plus you never know what Robin will dig up in the wine country north of Rome, so please check back daily.
By Katie James
I know that a lady is never supposed to reveal her age, but did you know that on July 30, the showgirl is turning 30? The Jubilee! showgirl, to be exact. This pearl anniversary means that Jubilee! at Bally’s Las Vegas is the longest-running show on the Las Vegas Strip and the last true showgirl production of its kind in North America.
For those of you who haven’t seen Jubilee!, it is unlike any show you’ve ever witnessed. The elaborate, retro-glam extravaganza features lavish costumes, dazzling scenery, world-renowned specialty acts, dynamic music, graceful pageantry and, of course, gorgeous showgirls wearing our trademark bright red lipstick.
Many people ask me what the qualifications are for being a Jubilee! showgirl. Well, for starters, you need to be tall -- the shortest girl in our show is 5’8.” And male dancers need to be at least 6 feet tall. The 85 showgirls and male dancers who make up our cast are selected via casting calls held throughout the country several times a year. But what I really think sets us apart is our ability to wear the world-renowned headdress, which can weigh as much as 22 pounds.
One of the most astounding parts of the show is the size and scope of our stage, which is half the size of a football field and 15 stories. Jubilee! features 100 sets and backdrops, 100,000 light bulbs and more than 125 miles of wiring. Additionally, 4,200 pounds of dry ice are used every week to create the smoke effects, and 10 pounds of explosives are used nightly in the 50 pyrotechnic effects.
The show is set in seven acts featuring original songs, dances and productions, such as “The Sinking of the Titanic” (where 5,000 gallons of recycled water cascade across the stage during the “iceberg” scene) and “The Destruction of the Temple by Samson.” The finale, which includes the famous Red Feather Fan number with the songs “In the Still of the Night,” “Night and Day,” “Begin the Beguine” and “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes,” has remained a show-stopper for the 30-year run.
Another reason I love being a part of Jubilee! is our costumes, many of which were designed by Pete Menefee. More than 1,000 costumes are worn during the show, and 18 people work in wardrobe every night keeping our costumes in excellent shape. The rhinestones used on the costumes are silver-plated Austrian Swarovski crystals, the highest-quality rhinestone in the world. There was a worldwide shortage of rhinestones in 1981 because they were all being used to create the original Jubilee! costumes.
I am truly honored to be a part of Las Vegas history and invite you to witness the mesmerizing special effects and pageantry of Jubilee! nightly at 7:30 and 10:30 (Jubilee! is dark on Fridays). Tickets can be purchased at the Bally’s box office for $57.50 to $117.50.
Over the past 30 years, Jubilee! showgirls have performed in 18,720 shows, entertained more than 18 million guests and gone through more than 500,000 pairs of tights. Here’s to 30 more years of couture, rhinestones and feathers!
Tomorrow, VegasDeLuxe.com welcomes Flamingo headliner comedian Vinnie Favorito and Will Roberts, a cartoonist and one of the cowboys in Viva Elvis at Aria. Guest columnists this year include Holly Madison, Donny Osmond, cast members of Absinthe and Jersey Boys, Chefs Julian Serrano and Charlie Palmer, plus other surprises, including nightlife analysis by Jesse Waits and Jack Colton.
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.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
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Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.