Review Of Showstoppers



Updated 05/02/2015

Showstoppers

By Chuck Rounds

"Showstoppers" is playing at the Encore Theater inside the Wynn/Encore Resort & Casino. The show is conceived and written by Steve Wynn, himself, and offers a plethora of "showstopping" numbers. There is a large cast of dancers and singers, supported by a full orchestra. All of the elements seem to be in place for an excellent night of theater, (and indeed, there are some great moments,) but sadly, the production falls short in many, many areas.

The dancers are great. The singers are superb. The orchestra is wonderful. The material that they are performing is solid and tested. The stage, lights, sound, etc. is all top notch. The concept is good. How could this possibly fall short? ...well, I'll tell you.

Everyone that has any background in musical theater will have an opinion on what the best showstopping numbers are...it is interesting to see both the choices that were made as well as the omissions that seemed obvious. And knowing that no one is going to completely agree on the choices...we have to accept (for the most part) and move forward. However, with that said, another oddity is that nothing past the 1970's was chosen...surely that has been one worthy showstopping number from the past forty years...

The real problem with the production is with all of the connective tissue in the show. The transitions are random, forced, and inconsistent. Sometimes we get background on the show we are about to see. Sometimes they are live, and sometimes they're taped. Sometimes we get to hear about growing up in the Midwest. The only real consistency with the transitions is the feeling that we are trapped in an extended commercial for the Wynn property. Every chance that anyone has either in a spoken transition or in a voiceover: "Wynn resort," or "Wynn Theater" is always mentioned...over and over. It became a running joke...especially because we in the audience KNOW that we are in the Wynn Theater inside the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas. Please stop preaching to us...we're already here!

And the orchestra...it is wonderful that there is live music. Again, however, it feels as if it is forced down our throat. (There is truly nothing subtle about this show.) The orchestra stand takes up fully half of the stage...often to the point that it seems as if the dancers are being crowded off the boards. The orchestra has really been made the main character of this production...huge and always there. Their placement and use overshadows both the dancers and the singers. I love having an orchestra, but have they missed the point?

Dancers! Lots of them...the big finish kickline has dancers kicking in the wings...not a great look. Other than that (and being jammed up by the orchestra) the dancers are all top notch.

This show should have been a tremendous smash...but it's not. All of the elements are there, but bad choices, bad writing, lack of dynamics, and lack of subtleties plague this production. Knowing that Steve Wynn conceived and wrote the show, it just makes me think...well, he builds great hotels.