Bean adds razzle-dazzle to Vegas show
Ten things you must do if you’re travelling to Las Vegas
United Airlines offers flights between Bermuda and Las Vegas for under $600.
For those considering a trip to Sin City, here’s Eric Bean, Jr’s top ten list of what to do while there.
1. Visit Lake Mead and the Hoover Hover Dam.
2. Take in a Cirque du Soleil show: My favourites are Michael Jackson ONE at Mandalay Bay, KÀ at MGM Grand and The Beatles: Love at Mirage.
3. Try your luck with bingo at South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa — large cash prizes and a LOT of fun.
4. Indulge your taste buds with Asian-inspired burgers at Bachi Burger.
5. Have an evening of romance with Le Rêve — The Dream at Wynn hotel; they offer a deluxe package with champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries for two!
6. The Dream Girls of Vegas, a topless female revue show at House ShowClub.
7. Experience the amazing voices of Véronic, a vocal concert produced by Céline Dion at Bally’s Hotel & Casino.
8. Divas Las Vegas is a great way to top off a night of fun and ‘camp’.
9. Get a bird’s-eye view of the Vegas Strip on the High Roller, the largest observation wheel on the West Coast.
10. See Jubilee! at Bally’s Hotel & Casino and experience the beauty and classic elegance of the Las Vegas showgirl.
— Heather Wood
Jubilee is over-the-top even for Las Vegas, the entertainment capital it’s called home for 30-odd years.
It’s full of feathers and sequins, elaborate sets and dance numbers, showboys and topless girls — a professional dancer’s dream, according to Eric Bean, Jr.
The Bermudian dancer and choreographer is now with the iconic show, which was created by Donn Arden in 1981 and modernised by Frank Gatson, Jr.
The cast’s elaborate costumes were designed by Bob Mackie and Pete Menefee and the stage at Bally’s Hotel & Casino is half the size of an American football field. It’s 15 storeys tall from the bottom of the orchestra pit to the roof and three double-decker elevators have a 100,000lb lift capacity each.
“It’s kind of awesome to be a part of it because the show is a Las Vegas staple,” said Mr Bean, 29. “Everybody knows what Jubilee is. It’s a very large goal of dancers everywhere to be part of it.”
He moved to Nevada a year-and-a-half ago, having previously toured the world with the renowned Koresh Dance Company.
He felt he’d stretched himself as much as he could with the Philadelphia-based organisation. Las Vegas was his ticket to the type of dancing he now wanted to do.
“I moved basically because I started to feel I needed a change of dance environment,” Mr Bean said. “I’d been working in Philadelphia for the last few years and doing contemporary concert dance but my range is so much more — I’m interested in concert, in commercial, in Broadway. I wanted to move to Vegas, to the West Coast, so I could try and get in that world.”
Famed choreographer and producer Mr Arden used fantastic dance numbers and elaborate sets and costumes to tell his version of the sinking of the Titanic and the Bible’s Samson and Delilah.
Mr Gatson, creative director for Beyonce, modernised the show this year.
Approximately 70 dancers shimmy their way across the huge stage, Mr Bean said.
“It’s the oldest showgirl show on the Vegas strip and, I think, the oldest in the United States,” he added. “It’s quite a large production number.”
Mr Bean, who is one of the production’s showboys, is on the stage for about half of its 90-minute run.
“Probably about 100 guys auditioned at the time I did — there were double the amount of ladies; it was a little crazy — and they [held other auditions] in New York and LA,” he said.
“I got a callback but I didn’t get offered a position in the show. But I was approached later and [Mr Gatson] said he enjoyed watching me work and asked me to assist the creative team with choreography and the creative process.
“So to not only be a dancer but to be part of the creative staff and involved with Frank Gatson, who is involved with Beyonce and was involved with Michael Jackson, that is mind-blowing to me.”
Mr Bean said he had a “lot of fun” working behind-the-scenes and was also able to teach at a few places including the renowned Las Vegas Academy and University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Although later offered a performance spot with Jubilee, he had to turn it down because of commitments he’d made here for the summer.
Aside from the work with his own charity, Jaricco Dance, he’d agreed to choreograph pieces for Troika Bermuda’s Beauty and the Beast and the annual emancipation celebrations. He’d also arranged to serve as creative director for the Bermuda Glee project and had committed to work with United Dance Productions and DanceSations.
And then he got another call.
“They said there’s another audition in July. I checked my schedule and [coincidentally, I was to] be back in the States the day before. I did very well in the audition and a week or two after they offered me a place. It’s been a lot of fun so far.
“I feel it’s helping me develop as an artist. My goal is to move from just performing to being a choreographer, a creative director for large performance numbers such as Cirque du Soleil.”
Jubilee runs six days a week in the Jubilee Theater at Bally’s Las Vegas — Sundays through Wednesdays at 7pm and 10pm, Thursdays at 7pm and Saturdays at 10pm. Tickets range from $62.50 to $122.50 and can be purchased online at ticketmaster.com, at any Las Vegas Caesars Entertainment box office or by calling (702) 777-2782 and (855) 234-7469.
For more on Mr Bean, visit jariccodance.com and ebjdance.com.
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