I had the chance to see the highly anticipated opening of Britney Spears' "Piece Of Me" at Planet Hollywood here in Las Vegas. A few thoughts based on my thirty years in entertainment:
• Her dancers are very good.
• When a review begins with praise for the dancers, not the star - well, you do the math...
• How is her singing? She sounds JUST like the records. And you know what I mean when I say that.
• The choreography is good, but the choreographers clearly watched rehearsals from the center of the audience only. Warning - if you plan on seeing the show, make sure your seats are dead center. If you're on the sides of the audience, you get left out. Britney rarely addresses house left or right.
• To be perfectly frank, Britney is an attractive girl. But considering how much dancing she's been given to do alongside her dancers, she pales in comparison. She doesn't hold her own. The choreographers didn't do her any favors by putting her in that position. She moves well; but having her attempt to keep up with A-list dancers doesn't work. Or put another way - she needs to work harder to keep up. And right now, she's not doing that.
• The costumes are interesting but seem like re-hashed or discarded Madonna tour ideas. It's not clear why or what the reasoning is behind what the dancers are wearing other than "it looks cool."
• The lighting and video screens are utilized well. Some creative things are done incorporating the lights, scenic and techno elements. It's not necessarily a coherent thread from beginning to end, but there are some visually interesting things going on.
I'd give credit to the creative team but a full list of those names aren't readily available to folks like me. No programs were handed out, and nothing on a website that I've seen. A search of the internet reveals that Antony Ginandjar is one of the co-choreographers. There may be another choreographer, but I got tired of googling the internet. Note to producers - you're paying what you surely feel is a credible creative team for what should be a world-class production. Show some pride in hiring those folks and list there names somewhere.
In the end, if you are a big Britney fan - you'll enjoy.
If you are looking for the intersection of creativity, talent and star power, I suggest a cocktail before you enter the theater at Planet Hollywood.
UPDATE: More detailed than my thoughts above, it seems the New York Times and I agree on just about everything. Check out the review there.