BWW Review: Everyone is a Winner with VEGAS BABY in Kansas City

Steve Wilson |

Marin Preston as LiberaceKansas City audiences are fortunate to be highly entertained with a Vegas style show, including magicians, entertainers suspended above the stage, a Liberace impersonator, and the phenomenal Heartland Men’s Chorus as they present Vegas Baby at the Folly Theater in Kansas City. Anthony T. Edwards appears as the guest conductor of the Kansas City premiere gay men’s chorus. Edwards is the Resident Music Director for Starlight TheatreThe Coterie, and The Unicorn Theatre.

Act I Vegas of Yesterday, began the chorus singing “Route 66” which included a solo performance by Steven Jeffrey Karlin. The second number brought a solo from Mark A. Lechner with “Luck Be a Lady Tonight” from Guys and Dolls.

The third song brought to the stage the first special guest of the evening as the chorus sang “That Old Black Magic. The song truly brought magic to the stage in the form of professional magicians Lance Rich and David Sandy. The audience was mystified at the illusions and humor they brought to the stage.

Several fantastic songs by the chorus followed the two magicians before the second guest Martin Preston appeared on stage wearing a rhinestone studded, fur accented, long-flowing white coat, and suit to match. Preston has spent the last 24 years re-creating the glamour and music of the late Liberace. Amazing is the only way to describe his performance as he mimics Liberace in appearance, voice, humorous quips, and stroking of the ivory keys.

Elvis Presley played Las Vegas many times before his premature death in 1977 at Graceland, his Memphis home. The Heartland Men’s Chorus paid tribute to the “King of Rock and Roll” with a medley which included “Jailhouse Rock,” “Don’t Be Cruel” with a solo by Todd Jordan Green, “Blue Suede Shoes,” and “Love Me Tender” arranged by Anthony Edwards.

Special guest Quixotic performed during several of the songs in both acts, with aerial acrobatics that push the limits of athletic artistry. The feats they performed above the stage were as fantastic as the blending of the voices of the chorus.

Act II, Vegas of Today, opened with a humorous rendition of “The Boy from Ipanema,” which included a solo by Randy Hite. Rich and Sandy returned to the stage to fascinate the audience with feats of illusion that boggled the mind. What kind of Vegas show would it be without Elton JohnTom Lancaster performed a wonderful solo of “Sir Elton,” followed by John Edmonds superb performance of “Viva Las Vegas.”

Vegas Baby continues at the Folly Theater on Sunday June 15 at 4 p.m. Call 816-931-3338 to purchase tickets for the final performance.