“Nothing is ever so broken that it can’t be fixed”. Those words of wisdom from my mother were quite helpful for this once-clumsy child. They also hold true for live entertainment, where a wave of negative initial reviews can cripple a show right out of the gate. LE REVE, for instance, suffered such an awful opening response that it was immediately shut down and retooled. The reimagined concept led to many consecutive years of “Best Show” awards and fifteen years of success.
BurlesQ at Alexis Park Resort seems to be following a similar path. Launched in late 2020 when everyone was sporting hazmat suits and carrying pocket-sized Lysol, the classic-style burlesque production overcame bad buzz to make a solid name for itself. BurlesQ might not have been high art, but ticket sales were strong enough to keep the cast onstage during the worst of times.
Audiences continued to return as the work-in-progress made course corrections. When this writer reached out to show producer Pete Housley for plans to write my own review, he respectfully requested that I hold off until alterations had been completed. “We’re making some big changes behind the scenes”, he told me. It’s not often that an entertainment writer gets that kind of request, but when it comes to someone as gutsy as Housley, it was easy to agree. After all, if it wasn’t for his brash nature, BurlesQ wouldn’t even exist.
As Pete told me, BurlesQ was born out of idea…an image that became the graphic arts for a show. He then built the production around that image. Probably not your typical recipe for show creation, but I’m no expert in that process. Mix in the challenges of a world in flux, and launching an intimate burlesque revue surely bordered on madness. But that’s the way the CEO of the Admit VIP entertainment company operates. “I don’t give up on something. I make it work”.
The distinctive approach of BurlesQ is its nod to classic revues of the 1920s. Think Moulin Rouge, Crazy Horse Paris, or Folies Bergere, with seductive yet glamorous costumes, showgirl headpieces, and pasties. Music, dancing, humor, and titillation are the cornerstones of the classic striptease, and that’s what BurlesQ is all about. Staging and direction are by Cari Byers, who was part of the long-running Folies Bergere at Tropicana. The cast includes lovely ladies with names like JuJu Bea, La Luna, Maxine Gun Kelly, Mickey Blue Eyes, Stella Sterling, and Tricky Tatania.
The production was fortunate enough to recruit the talents of Sean E. Cooper, longtime host of FANTASY at Luxor. Recipient of numerous awards for his comedy. impersonations, and hosting abilities, Cooper brings rip-roaring moments of laughter to the stage. Variety acts add excitement as well. The one-year anniversary performance was highlighted by death-defying crossbow stunts by Mr. and Mrs. G. that caused this writer to cover the eyes.
There are plenty of tantalizing productions in Las Vegas to choose from, and each offers a unique angle on the art of burlesque. But when one of them works this hard at being the best, it certainly warrants consideration for your entertainment dollars. Congratulations to the cast and crew of BurlesQ for their efforts. We’ll see you at the second-anniversary party…and probably a few times in between.
BurlesQ performs at Alexis Park Resort on E. Harmon Avenue every Thursday through Sunday at 9:30 pm. Tickets start at $49.5 plus taxes/fees and can be ordered here. Audience members must be 21 years of age or older. Cocktail service is available in the showroom.