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MAGIC MIKE LIVE

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Hard Rock Hotel

4455 Paradise Rd.

Las Vegas, NV 89169

800-745-3000

website

$49-139

Wed-Sun 7:30 & 10pm

Adult

A

AT A GLANCE

What is it?

A male strip show (but more than that) based on the hit "Magic Mike" movies with Channing Tatum.

Where is it?

In a former Body English nightclub at The Hard Rock Hotel, just off The Strip.

Is it worth the cost?

If you want a little more out of your bump and grind show than just bump and grind, then yes.

Why should I see this show?

Because you appreciate the fine art of dance and... kidding, because the guys are hot.

What else do I need to know?

The show was produced by Channing Tatum and he plays a role in it, sort of.

What's the bottom line?

The guys are hot, the dancing is incredible, the host is a lot of fun, and the audience is crazy.

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FULL REVIEW

Sex - or at least the illusion of it - sells in Vegas and nowhere is that more evident than at a male strip show. You've got the Chippendales and the Thunder From Down Under as the biggest examples where impossibly good looking men sell the fantasy (construction worker, cop, fireman, etc.) of the perfect guy who will be the perfect lover to women who seem to lose their minds over the possibility of it all. Never mind that it's pandering of the basest sort and that the shows themselves are little more than bump and grind excuses for hot guys to take off their clothes. That's not to say that they aren't entertaining in their way but if you're looking for substance, you should probably look elsewhere.

That's what makes Magic Mike Live such a refreshing change of pace. Yes, the guys are hot and yes they take off their clothes but there's a lot more to this show, which actually manages to elevate the entire genre into something bigger, more ambitious, and ultimately more rewarding.

Channing Tatum produced the show and has given it a story line that is sort of a funhouse mirror version of the movies he starred in. For the live version we start with a bevy of bros in the usual strip club fantasy gear (navy man, police officer, fireman) and a grotesque host that loves using the word "moist" as he tries to pump up the energy of the women in the audience. He picks on the wrong woman, Lindsey, who gets treated so badly that she summons the power of an imaginary unicorn friend she had as a kid to put a stop to the proceedings.

And before you roll your eyes, the unicorn is voiced by Channing Tatum so we can forgive the silliness of the whole thing.

Lindsey takes over and turns the show from a misogynistic beefcake parade into one where the guys are more than just their muscles and the women are treated like queens. A waiter - Mike - is brought up on stage and he gets educated on how to be the perfect guy, learning the soul, the intelligence, the passion, and other good qualities from the other men in the cast.

And this is where the biggest welcome change of pace can be found. These guys are not just hot they are all fantastic dancers. From hip hop to contemporary to jazz to a bit of ballroom they are impressive to watch and not because of how good looking they are. Well, that doesn't hurt but watching these guys working through some amazing choreography is the real wow factor here. At one point they show even more (get your mind out of the gutter) as several take the stage to form a full band - guitars, keyboards, drums, and vocals - as they serenade a few lucky women.

It all builds to a finale where Mike finally takes everything he learns and does an incredibly erotic dance with a female partner (that we think is an audience member at first) in a rainfall on stage. It's beautiful and breathtaking in addition to being downright sexy.

Okay, the actual finale is all the guys onstage dancing to "Pony" by Ginuwine - you thought it would be something else?

So yeah, don't get me wrong - there are plenty of times where barely clothed guys are shaking their wares in the faces of very appreciative audience members and a few will get pulled up on stage to work out their exhibitionist tendencies. But when those moments happen it's a little less salacious, especially when the hostess Lindsey makes the guys give said women edifying compliments while they are flexing their pecs.

All male strip shows are for women but they are usually done from the perspective of what men think women want as opposed to what they actually want. Magic Mike Live manages to turn that on its head and present the first male strip show for women.

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