It’s been quite the week for news coming out of Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. We were first alerted
that Fluff LeCoque
, long-time Las Vegas company manager for Donn Arden’s Jubilee
, had died at the age of 92. Only two days later did news arrive from Caesar’s Entertainment
that the long-running show, 34 years strong, is going to close after the new year; the final curtain is set for February 11th.
“Bally’s Las Vegas is proud that millions of guests from around the world have experienced this thrilling Las Vegas classic for more than 34 years,” said Bally’s Las Vegas President David Hoenemeyer. “We are looking forward to revealing some exciting new developments in our entertainment lineup at Bally’s in the coming months.”
Thousands of performers and crew members from around the world have been weighing in on social media, expressing their sadness and admiration for both their mentor Fluff LeCoque and the spectacle which was, in essence, a second family to many of them.
“There will never be another show, cast, crew, wardrobe, or family like that of Jubilee,” says Pamela Perich-Schumacher (former Short Nude, 2003-2005).
“The show may not go on, but the memories will.”
A 2014 cast photo from Jubilee! shows the immense scale of this legendary production. (courtesy Shai Yammanee)
JUBILEE! TO CLOSE – ABOUT THE CAST
The cast consisted of nearly 70 singers and dancers, and for most of the 34 years, it also included some of the best specialty acts in the world. Behind the scenes nearly 100 stagehands, crew, and wardrobe personnel operate the sets, sound and lights, and costume departments.
“Jubilee created ‘nearly famous’ stars in their own right and made dreams come true for me and so many others! The opulence and beauty of Jubilee was like no other,” says Shannon Hardin (former line captain and principal singer, 1994-2009). “I am heart broken that this has come to an end and that generations to come will only hear stories of an amazing show of days gone by.”
Although other shows on the Las Vegas Strip include the iconic showgirl, Jubilee is umatched because of its sheer number of performers on stage. The classically trained dancers were hand-picked for their elegance and training through a comprehensive audition process, often attended by hundreds of hopefulls performers.
The grandeur of the Jubilee! stage (photo: Jerry Metellus)
“The talent in Jubilee! is the best in the world,” says Chris Nelson (former entertainment director, 2000-20007). “I can remember dancers auditioning three years in a row, and telling us they have been taking dance classes each year as they continue to grow. They chased the dream of being in Jubilee!, as one might chase Broadway or the Rockettes.”
Once picked, and before their first step on the massive stage, they would go through a lengthy, late-night rehearsal schedule. Opening night for each new contract, featuring newly-hired dancers, was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. And with that, the stage was set for a spectacle unrivaled for more than 30 years.
“Jubliee was the show to get into. Not just for singers and dancers, but for specialty acts as well,” says Alex Karvounis*
(half of juggling act Doubble Troubble, Jubilee! 2005-2007
). “There was nothing like it. When that curtain rose each night, we knew we were part of something special.”
Jubilee! at Bally’s Las Vegas (Photo: Jerry Metellus)
Read more about Fluff LeCoque, the long-time company manager here.
* COVER PHOTO courtesy Justin Madden (former Jubilee! dancer)