By Sandy Zimmerman
(Photos by Sandy Zimmerman)
I was thrilled to be able to take a tour backstage to experience the “Jubilee!” spectacular production show the way very few people can. Ballys offers a special day tour that allows the public to learn the secrets of what happens behind the scenes. Our beautiful tall “Bluebell Dancer” guide, Laura Priester acknowledged, “Working backstage with everything going on is like a delicate puzzle, almost like another show backstage.”
With hundreds of people working on their different parts, you can imagine all of the activity during the performance. There are 28 dancing nudes, 22 Bluebell dancers, 18 male dancers, three principal female dancers, three principal male dancers, six male chorus singers, five female chorus singers, a stage crew of 48, technicians, wardrobe department of 26, specialty acts, props, sets weighing up to four tons (8,000 pounds), special effects, company manager, assistant company manager, and probably even more!
Split- second timing is required for all of these people to do their tasks. Each has to know where he/she can and cannot walk, and only go certain places.
It used to be worse when animals were in the show. Laura dances in 11 numbers, her quickest change is only 30 seconds and the longest 3 minutes! Everybody does this repeatedly for two shows a night, six nights a week, 52 weeks a year! You can see why “Jubilee!” has been so successful in producing their show for so long.
As an entertainment reviewer for 28 years, I can appreciate a spectacular production show. Today “Jubilee!” epitomizes the PIZZAZZ, class and flair of what a production show should be like.
“Jubilee!” is the model for others to follow. We walked up the steps and stood on the main stage, the Jubilee Theater is one of the most technically complicated and advanced theaters in the United States.
Its stage is 72′ wide, half the size of a football field. The depth, from the basement to the top of the roof, is 150′ or 15 stories. The “Sinking of the Titanic”, “Samson and Delilah”, and “Jubilee’s” other amazing sequences are “brought to life” with 11 elevators used to move heavy, large set pieces from the basement to the stage. These elevators descend 20′ below and 25′ above the stage level in around 30 seconds.
Although the shapely showgirls and dancers seem to be only wearing a few colorful feathers and dazzling rhinestones, their costumes are heavy! Everybody looked up when Laura pointed to large open bags hanging from the ceiling, “Inside each bag is a feathered headdress weighing 20 pounds, lowered down and placed on each girl’s head.”
We could see some of the feathers hanging out of the bags. Delilah’s crown, the largest jeweled headpiece in the show, is two feet tall and covered with 20 pounds of rhinestones. Imagine having to dance, walk down a staircase, and perform different tasks while wearing all of these! That is not all they have to wear.
Some of the jewelry sets weigh 20 pounds as well as the wigs, fans, and whatever else is needed for their numbers. Laura feels she has to make her performance special every night because there is always a new audience.
The “Jubilee!” spectacular production show appears at 7:30 and 10:30 P. M., nightly except Fridays. You can also “Meet and Greet a Showgirl” to ask questions, receive a signed “Jubilee!” program, complimentary drink, early seating, and have your picture taken with her. Take the “Backstage Tour” on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, at
For information about Bally’s “Jubilee!” production show or the tours, call 967-4567. Bally’s Resort, 3655 Las Vegas Boulevard, South. www.ballys.com