A few reasons T&A is OK

Photo By David Robert

Rated 4.0

Picking up my tickets to Perfect 10 at the Golden Phoenix, I felt like I was 16 and asking a drugstore cashier for condoms—I was that embarrassed. I told my friends, “I have to see that Adrian Zmed show for work.” Like they might judge me for actually choosing to go for entertainment reasons.

Tickets in hand, my date and I took a large booth near the front of the half empty showroom. I immediately noticed lots of women in the audience, many of them middle-aged or older. Weird, I thought, assuming this would be nothing but a glorified strip show. Were they just big Zmed fans?

The Zmed-factor was an issue for me. I’m as big a Grease 2 fan as the next guy, but let’s face it, aside from that, TJ Hooker and Bachelor Party, he hasn’t exactly been a Hollywood tour de force. What’s he done lately?

Well, apparently, a lot. His production company, Outside the Box, has several reality shows in the works. He’s appeared on Broadway in tons of shows including Evita, Grease and Chicago. It was during Chicago that Zmed ruined his knee. While recuperating in Los Angeles, he met Nanette Barbera, the producer of Perfect 10. The rest is history.

The show’s description, “a tribute to the ladies of rock ‘n’ roll,” doesn’t do it justice. The show does honor 10 women who changed the music industry: Donna Summer, Janet Jackson, Cher, Madonna, Paula Abdul, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Shania Twain, Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears (I would argue those last two), through vocal performances and some kick-ass dance routines. But it really honors women in general.

The costumes are stunning. With something like 60 wardrobe changes, the 10 female stars demonstrate why these kinds of shows work. They are beautiful, energetic, athletic, creative, gifted dancers and singers with tons of enthusiasm and even more heart. Yes, they are scantily clad, often in see-through bras and ass-less chaps, but that’s beside the point.

My date and I clapped extra hard to make up for the emptiness in the showroom. We wanted the cast to know their hard work paid off. Routines include a brilliant adagio, a male-female ballet duet performed by July Reddicks and, by turns, David Contreras and Israel Garcia. It involves three white sheets hanging from the ceiling and some extremely difficult feats of balance, lifting and spinning. I felt some pride, actually, when I discovered the muscle-bound female, Reddicks, is from Reno. Exceptional singing performances come from Annika Starander, a Swiss import, and Lyssa Baker of Washington, D.C., who can even make Britney Spears sound good. Some of the show’s music was so funky I danced in my seat.

I could have done without the TV screens showing music videos and old Adrian Zmed flicks—especially when the DVD player’s blue “pause” display appeared on the screen. There were also terrible sound problems, including microphones being cued while performers were backstage changing. Although, it was Jimmy the Sound Guy’s first night—we’ll forgive him this time.

Swallow your fear. March bravely up to the box office at the Golden Phoenix, and say proudly to the cashier, “A ticket to Perfect 10, please.” You won’t be sorry.