Sands Style, US edition (Bethlehem)

Winter 2016


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Page 79 of 115

T he pical musical is pret straightforward: We sit down in a theater, face the stage and watch a linear narrative unfold atop a parade of great songs. BAZ – Star Crossed Love, which launched in July at The Palazzo Theatre, is definitely not your pical musical. In fact, its creators say it's not a musical at all. Rather, it's a genre-exploding mash-up of three love stories – jam-packed with song and dance – which puts audience members right in the middle of the action. It's part concert, part drama and part nightclub. In others words, it's a slick new take on cabaret. "We're our own thing," says talent scout-turned-producer Shane Scheel. The show has its origins in Los Angeles, where Scheel began staging monthly cabaret showcases in a 60-seat bar in East Hollywood. "I was kind of tired of hearing Broadway show tunes that people had in their audition books," he tells us. "I said, 'Hey, we should plan a night where everyone sings a song from a Tarantino film, and it's more of a theme night.'" His theater company, FOR THE RECORD, began to build shows around the films of famous directors known for injecting indelible music in their movies, including Martin Scorsese, 80s teen-comedy auteur John Hughes, and the Coen Brothers. "We started just layering in classic moments from movies with the soundtracks," says Scheel. "It was an interesting way to bring the music to the forefront and give it a little context in this cabaret world that we're trying to create." Scheel and co-creator/director Anderson Davis began kicking around ideas about how to make it bigger. Saturday nights turned into Thursday-Friday-Saturday. Their audience grew. They knocked down a wall and took over the space of an adjoining restaurant. Then they partnered with a West Hollywood bar owner and moved to an even bigger space. Most significantly, they found their muse in the intensely flamboyant films of Australian director Baz Luhrmann. Last summer, Cirque du Soleil reached out to FOR THE RECORD and offered to introduce their show to the Vegas market. "We had a couple of productions in Los Angeles to really understand it," Scheel says. "By the time we got to LIGHT Nightclub last year, we had a very honed show. But we didn't have the right venue. It needed something grander." The Palazzo Theatre – part traditional proscenium, next big thing Romance and tragedy play out through irresistible choreography and talented performers. 78 W I N T E R 2 016 / 17 |

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