by Terri D?Richards
What do you get when you put together: a virtual who?s who of pop divas throughout the decades, 6 male back-up dancers and a jaw-dropping collection of Diva-esque couture, all presided over by Joan Rivers? ? Can we talk?!
Frank Marino?s ?Divas? stirs these ingredients together with a little twist. The spot-on impersonators with all the right looks and moves, wearing to-die-for costumes are all female impersonators extraordinaire! Specially created background tracks weave in live recordings from legends such as Madonna, Lady GaGa, Tina Turner, Dolly Parton, Janet Jackson, Celine Dion and Diana Ross, just to name a few, making for a near seamless juxtaposition between the ?Divas? show performers and their real-life counterparts.
Audience members oftentimes appear to forget the gender-bending aspect of the show, as they become so caught up in these highly polished performances by their favorite female vocal legends. Keeping the proceedings light and fluid, Joan Rivers (AKA Frank Marino) provides snappy, sometimes risqu? comedic monologues, and also manages the incredible feat of executing a new costume change between every show stopping number ? each Bob Mackie gown more wise-crack worthy and over-the-top than the next.
The self-proclaimed Queen of the Las Vegas Strip, Marino has spent over 25 years as a headliner in Las Vegas, many of those as star of ?An Evening at La Cage?. He is also an accomplished author, newscaster, columnist, spokesperson and, as he refers to himself, America?s favorite male actress. His first book, ?His Majesty, the Queen,? was an immediate bestseller. Audiences may also recognize him from the film ?Miss Congeniality 2,? co-starring alongside Sandra Bullock, his award-winning guest starring role in the hit Off-Broadway play ?Tony n? Tina?s Wedding, or his appearance on the E! network?s ?Fashion Police?.
Marino?s other Sin City accolades include: 2 stars bearing his name in the sidewalk on the Las Vegas Walk of Fame, a Key to the City and his own namesake street, Frank Marino Drive. With his experience and reputation preceding him, Marino knows how to make sure his presentation of ?Divas? delivers nightly by channeling true Diva star power, magnetism and energy, all via the unique vehicle of female impersonators. The show strives to present a true homage to music?s most unforgettable legends, as opposed to a campy drag-fest (well, okay?there is one campy, albeit hilarious, set piece).
The show ends with a performance of the La Cage classic, ?What makes a man a man?? ? a question that ?Divas? may not necessarily answer completely, but certainly leaves audiences with much to consider.