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“Striptease The Show” Opens in Vegas; Features the The Star of John Stagliano’s Fashionistas

from – Two new shows held media-night press parties on the same night last week. Is it 2006 again?

Not quite. One was for perennial magician Dirk Arthur, downsized to the 100-seat O’Shea’s. The other was a modest toast of beers in the Sahara’s NASCAR Cafe for yet another topless show.

But make no mistake, “Striptease The Show” was indeed an upbeat celebration. It’s a respectable new contender, and that is always good news in a year when performers are hungry for any investment, any new job.

“It’s a tight situation for all of us,” says the show’s choreographer, Enrique Lugo, noting the year’s loss of dancer jobs in “Criss Angel: Believe” and the Rio’s Masquerade Show in the Sky.

If Dirk Arthur represents the constant churn of the Strip — lower-tier titles that come, go and jump from place to place — then “Striptease” is a symbol of an odder trend: a wave of new players entering the market when all logic would tell them to stay home.

The “Striptease” party was an encouraging blend of old and new faces. It’s an entry point for a new team of producers. Jim and Ann Marie Hayek’s Las Vegas-based Pure Talent Agency, which staffs topless clubs with touring, or “featured,” dancers, teamed with Alberto and Gabriel Kabrit, who stage adult entertainment expos in Mexico.

“We have staying power. We’re funded,” Jim Hayek says. “I look at Vegas very differently at this point. I don’t come in with stars in my eyes. We know it’s a growing process,” one with a six-month path to break even.

The familiar faces included Lugo, who danced and starred in “Fashionistas.” That oddball show could now symbolize the high-flying 2000s. It never made money, but was funded as a dream project from the once-deep pockets of porn mogul John Stagliano.

In contrast to Stagliano’s perfectionist fussing, “Striptease” was choreographed in two weeks, and “I put it on the stage in three days,” Lugo says. His new bosses know “we’re working hard to make something good.”

You don’t have to tell Jenny Romas about “the roller coaster ride” of recent times. Last year, the freakish makeup acrobatics of Mario & Jenny went national on “America’s Got Talent.” It got them as far as three months at Las Vegas Rocks on Fremont Street.

Now, with her face human again, Romas was for a time dancing in “Burlesque — The Show” at the Westin and then racing to “Striptease” at the Sahara. But she is upbeat, “thrilled to be me again,” in what may be “my last hurrah” of her athletic dancing years.

When new money hooks up with the experience and dependability of the local talent pool, there may be reason to celebrate after all.


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