By Judy Thorburn
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Owner/Editor in Chief/writer - Las Vegas Round The Clock
Owner/Editor in Chief/writer - The Flick Chicks
Director of Communications - Nevada Film Alliance


Frank Marino Unveils Dazzling “Divas Las Vegas”

After months of preview performances, female impersonator, Frank Marino, aka The Queen of the Las Vegas Strip, and the Strip's longest running headliner, celebrated the Official Grand Opening of his show Divas Las Vegas at the Imperial Palace on Thursday evening, February 25. with a performance for the media and VIPs. Fellow entertainers spotted in the audience showing their support included Angelica Bridges (headlining Fantasy at the Luxor), Zowie Bowie's Chris Phillips, Australian singing sensation Human Nature, magician Murray Sawchuck and hypnotist Marc Savard among others.

Frank Marino
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

After the performance, Frank Marino was presented with his second star on the Las Vegas Walk of Stars by fellow Las Vegas entertainer, Tony Sacca. Marino is the first person to be honored with two stars on the famous Las Vegas boulevard. As a Las Vegas icon, Marino was also given a proclamation from Clark County.
Frank Marino
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn
Marino was headliner of An Evening at La Cage for 23 years at the Riviera until it closed last year. I enjoyed that show. It had great entertainment value and this, his new, updated incarnation is even better. For Divas Las Vegas, Marino once again is the headline star and host (actually hostess is more applicable since he appears in drag) first performing on stage with a hilarious Joan Rivers-inspired, comedy monologue. (I say inspired, because in response to the real Joan's much publicized protest, Marino no longer imitates her voice or uses her jokes). Later, in between acts, he returns to deliver additional hilarious, raunchy jokes, and tid bits, but not before changing into one of seventeen different and colorful gorgeous, or should I say “fabulous”, gowns designs by the legendary Bob Mackie.

Marino has brought along most of the cast of La Cage and made improvements including the addition of six hunky male dancers (instead of female showgirls) as back up to the supporting cast of seven amazing and talented lookalike female impersonators who perform lip syncing tributes to some of entertainments most beloved superstar divas. To be more current with the times, tributes to Lady Gaga and Beyonce also have been added.

The 75 minute, high energy show features Steven Wayne as Celine Dion and Cher, Joseph Santellano as Bette Midler and Shirley Bassey, Sammy Gonzales as Liza Minelli, Chris Woods as Whitney Houston and Diana Ross, Derrick Berry as Britney Spears and Lady Gaga, and Larry Edwards as Tina Turner and an overly voluptuous Beyonce (its a loving, but very funny parody, you have to see to believe). Kenneth Turner appears as Madonna and Dolly Parton, but it is his very powerful and effective take on “What Makes A Man” sung by Charles Asnavour that is certainly the showstopper.
Frank Marino and cast
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

Divas Las Vegas performers
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn
It is important for audiences to know that Divas Las Vegas is more than a drag show. It is clear that each performer is serious about what he does, putting their heart and soul into their tribute act. And, although they don't use their own voices, these female impersonators electrify the stage in dazzling costumes and wigs and convey the same look, mannerisms, and essence of the superstar divas.

Marino and his talented cast put on a fabulous show that is worth every penny of the ticket price. No matter what your sexual orientation, you are going to enjoy Divas Las Vegas. I, and my husband, had a great time. Now, if only I could borrow one of those beautiful gowns!

Frank Marino’s Divas Las Vegas is produced by SPI Entertainment CEO Adam Steck and VP Alex Schechter. Show times are six nights a week (Dark Fridays) at 10 p.m.


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