Backstage at “ShowStoppers” in Las Vegas

Glamorous costumes, dazzling scenery and a talented, high-energy cast – that’s what you can expect at ShowStoppers. The Wynn Las Vegas’ musical spectacular features a full orchestra, a cast of 66 vibrant singers and dancers, and 31 musical numbers hand-picked by Steve Wynn and reinvented for the show. The entire performance is entertaining, vibrant, clever and surprisingly funny, all while still maintaining the elegance true to the Wynn Resorts.

Conceived and written by Wynn, ShowStoppers debuted last year and was voted “Best Show in 2014” by VegasChatter. The musical numbers are all from 1935-1974 and include: “One,” from A Chorus Line, “Razzle Dazzle” and “Cell Block Tango” from Chicago, and “Willkommen” from Cabaret. Apart from the music, what makes this show most exciting is the unexpectedness of each act, which transitions from scenes that resemble the grandness and exquisiteness of the Gatsby era, to others that are sexy, risqué and demanding.

ShowStoppers Director Philip Wm. McKinley, who directed the five-time Tony nominated Broadway musical The Boy From Oz starring Hugh Jackman, as well as Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark on Broadway, says the show sets itself apart from others on the Las Vegas strip. “The full orchestra presents a new sound that the audience isn’t used to,” he says. “And the dancers in the show are athletes because they also sing, which releases another energy that not only comes from the body, but the voice as well.”

ShowStoppers 1

LuxeInACity had a special opportunity to meet McKinley at the Wynn Las Vegas and talk about how ShowStoppers got started. He and Wynn first met in 1971 and were re-introduced at a birthday celebration for Wynn’s wife, Andrea. At the party, Wynn gave Andrea a gift that became the inspiration behind ShowStoppers – a company of musicians, singers and dancers who created a sense of excitement and joy among the guests. After seeing the guests’ reaction and enthusiasm for the performers, Wynn wanted to give the same gift to everyone at the Wynn Resorts.

Lunch with Philip

In June 2014, Wynn met with McKinley to discuss his idea and then assembled an all-star and award-winning creative team for the show, including choreography by three-time Emmy Award- winner Marguerite Derricks; musical direction by Emmy Award-winner David Loeb, and restaging and choreography of “One” by actress, theatrical director and original A Chorus Line performer, Baayork Lee. The team auditioned more than 700 dancers and 400 singers, and designed costumes and headdresses customized for each performer. In just six months, ShowStoppers debuted at the Wynn on December 20, 2014.

How did it all happen so quickly? “I’ve never not had a show open when it was supposed to,” says McKinley. “The team is just so phenomenal and collaborative, and they made it possible.”

Wynn was involved throughout the entire process and continues to see the show each week. “He truly honors what they do,” says McKinley.

Costume 2

McKinley also took LuxeInACity on an exclusive backstage tour of ShowStoppers to see the casts’ costumes and headdresses. The dresses were even more stunning up close, and surprisingly heavy – about 20 – 30 pounds each! McKinley also had us check out the Swarovski crystals on the costumes, which he says they choose over other cuts because they are multi-faceted and catch the light better to create various colors under the stage lights.

Costume 3

The ShowStoppers costumes were all designed by Suzy Benzinger, recently the head costume designer for the Oscar Award-winning film, Blue Jasmine. Her Broadway and national tours include Annie, A Chorus Line, Movin’ Out, Saturday Night Fever, Ain’t Broadway Grand, Miss Saigon, Gypsy, La Cage aux Folles, and Dreamgirls.

Costume 4

Costumes 1

ShowStoppers performs at the Wynn Las Vegas Tuesday – Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with a second performance at 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Tickets can be purchased through the Wynn Ticket Office, by calling 702-770-9966 or visiting wynnlasvegas.com.

ShowStoppers photos provided by Wynn Photography Services.

Veena Bissram

Veena's two biggest passions are writing and traveling, but after living in Strasbourg, France, she acquired a third passion – food.Veena combined her three passions to create FoodAvecFlair.com, her own food website where she now writes about the meals that make an impression on her. She is also a freelance writer who previously wrote for Mashable. Follow Veena @FoodAvecFlair.