Fans and media converge for opening of Jeff Timmons’ revue at Hard Rock Live…
The ironies couldn’t be any clearer. A fledgling show, years in the making, hosts a gala event just a few doors down from the casino that failed them. The new performance space shares branding with a hotel that’s home to a competing production. Both shows are spearheaded by heartthrob celebs, but only one bothers to show his face…and lots more. After many false starts and obstacles galore, Men of the Strip has landed on the Strip.
Male revues are just like actual men. They come in all styles, attitudes, levels of sex appeal and price points (just kidding about the last one…sort of). As ticket buyers for an adult-themed show, it’s up to you to decide which one scratches your particular itch.
In the case of Magic Mike Live at Hard Rock Hotel, some fans of hunky productions are feeling cheated. My own review called it “delusional”, “fun-sucking” and “an overblown bomb”. Your very expensive ticket will get you inane blather from a shrill harpy “comedienne”, striptease dancers who neglect to actually strip, a so-called story line involving a waiter and a mystical unicorn (WTF?).
The real kick in the pants comes from an absentee star – actor Channing Tatum – whose only “appearance” in a show bearing his name is via an audio recording.
At Hard Rock Cafe’s live-music Strip venue (next to MGM Grand Hotel), things are quite the opposite. All the pretense, social lectures and broken promises of Magic Mike Live have been thrown out the window. In their place are seven talented singers/dancers/actors who sound good, look great and actually take their clothes off.
Fun-filled production numbers involve plenty of audience interaction, selfie ops (the show is camera-friendly) and tipping with cash (something forbidden in casino showrooms). Most of all, the celebrity attached to Men of the Strip is in the house…and a big part of the show.
Jeff Timmons, the ageless and ab-tastic founder of vocal group 98 Degrees, has been intent on launching the next generation of male revues ever since his stint at legendary Chippendales. Jeff and I sat down to chat several times in the months leading up to this weekend. It’s clear that his passion for the project is boundless. Fortunately, that enthusiasm comes through onstage and energizes the cast.
MOTS’s tightly-knit production rarely slows down to let you breathe. The troupe makes its first appearance from the rear, hidden under sleek black helmets and leather gear.
Walking in formation, they gather for a hard-edged sequence created by famed choreographer Glenn Douglas Packard (Michael Jackson, Pink, Whitney Houston). Packard, pictured below, is hands-on throughout the performance and also serves as emcee.
Next up, singer Colin Cahill briefly goes mellow with an acoustic version of Ne-Yo’s “Let Me Love You” that segues into a sultry chair number. Various takes on masculine fantasies follow, delivered with a lighthearted playfulness that MML doesn’t even strive to achieve.
Timmons was a crowd-pleaser at the show’s premiere on Friday. Not only did he debut a new song written especially for MOTS, but he got raw and sexy with an audience member in his own set-piece. Shredded to the max and tanned to perfection, Timmons tore off his shirt and flaunted a body that even Channing Tatum would envy.
Packed with die-hard 98 Degrees fans, the crowd went wild when band mate Justin Jeffre joined Timmons for their hit “Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)”. Other surprise guests are sure to follow, as the singer has promised to feature his celebrity friends when they’re in town.
“Come Play With Us” is Men of the Strip’s marketing slogan. Splashed on billboards around the city, the ads promise a night filled with music, muscle, sweat and laughs. MOTS delivers on those promises throughout the show and well into the evening. The guys hop up on the bar after the performance and guests are encouraged to party, pose for photos and indulge in drink specials.
The third-floor showroom offers amazing views of the Strip and boasts an outdoor balcony. Parking is available in the Showcase Mall garage behind the cafe for easy in/out access.
If a party atmosphere is what you’re looking for in a male revue, steer clear of Magic Mike Live. Make your way to Hard Rock Live for Men of the Strip…on the Strip.
Men of the Strip is currently slated for a six-performance run at Hard Rock Live (3771 S. Las Vegas Blvd), with additional dates likely to follow. Tickets start at $50 (plus taxes and fees). Click here for dates and to order tickets. Use code 20MOTS for a 20% discount.
Photos and Video: [Sammasseur]