Jubilee – Classic Las Vegas

When visiting Las Vegas, it’s easy to notice all that’s new in the ever-changing city…yet it’s important to remember that there are some things about Las Vegas that never change. They call it “Classic Las Vegas”, and Diane Palm (yes, that’s her real name) is one of them. Diane is the company manager for the Jubilee at Bally’s Las Vegas.

The last of the classical Las Vegas show girl revues, Jubilee opened in 1981 as an original show that was directed & conceived by the legendary Donn Arden. Donn Arden also directed & conceived the many editions of the Lido de Paris show at the Stardust Casino starting in 1958, which was imported from Paris, France the first of the classic, iconic showgirl shows brought to Las Vegas.

As time goes by in Las Vegas, classic hotels implode; new larger hotels and casinos take their location; and the strip becomes more dazzling and continues to expand south on Las Vegas Blvd, and new entertainers arrive in town hoping to get their name in lights.

But the Jubilee with it now legendary sets like the sinking Titanic and Samson and Delilah are still there for the nostalgic visitor(s). Jubilee’s music and lyrics by Cole Porter like the classics “Begin the Beguine” and “Just One of Those Things” remain unchanged. The girls are more beautiful than ever and the costumes are even most lavish than decades ago. When you think of the iconic symbols of Las Vegas like the Elvis Presley, Liberace, Bugsy and the Rat Pack, most can only be found today in black and white photos adorning the walls of still standing hotels like the Riviera and of course, Bally’s. Yet the most iconic Las Vegas symbol of all…the Las Vegas showgirl still performs 6 nights/week with glistening costumes and timeless musical scores performed with such precision and professionalism that it wakes up your senses, lifts your spirit, and sends you back to the days when Vegas was Vegas.

Top 100 Entertainment challenges anyone visiting Las Vegas to put Jubilee as your one must-see show ticket to purchase. It’s ok to catch a Lady Gaga concert or enjoy the latest Cirque Du Soleil performance, but if you haven’t seen Jubilee, you haven’t seen Vegas.

And Diane Palm is at center stage of Classic Las Vegas? Her dream was to become a Broadway entertainer, but on her way to NY, she was first hired as a dancer in the Lido de Paris show at the Stardust and from there…Jubilee. Back then the company manger was Fluff LeCoque who was hired by Donn Arden himself. Fluff stayed on as company manager until last year when she stepped down at the age of 89 years young. And Diane Palm who had been Fluff’s assistant manager was given the reins.

Diane continues to manage the show with the same high expectations that Donn Arden set forth so many decades ago. Holding two auditions every year…auditions that require participation by every existing cast member and several invitees from around the USA. These tall and talented showgirls, and dancers (men and women) must be consummate professionals. You might envision a madhouse back stage where 85 cast members shuffling 1000+ costumes….including 58 girls that make between 7-10 costume changes for every show. Yet, the backstage is actually quite orderly…with every performer on their mark, every costume ready for the next number, every song, light, set perfectly timed and executed. They don’t create shows like this anymore….the stage itself…with an elevated lift that holds 100,000 pounds is unique to Jubilee.

Whether you catch the 7:30pm or the 10:30 performance, you will enjoy a celebration of Classic Las Vegas, a tribute to the female form, and some of the most timeless musical scores and dancing choreography ever compiled.  And quietly, behind the scenes of the last standing bastion of real Las Vegas is Diane Palm, a legend herself, who quiet and humbly makes certain that the show you see is the show that your father or even grandfather saw.

When we asked Diane about her legacy in the historic Jubilee, she meekly states that she is so proud to be associated with Jubilee….that it’s not about her…but about the show. Yet the show, in Top 100’s humble opinion, is the people. And while the Cole Porter’s genius certainly has its place in history. Today’s Jubilee is the sum total of the performers, the crew, Diane Palm, and, of course, the audience. And while the performers and those behind the scenes and in the seats demonstrate great pride and respect for the show, Jubilee must have the same reverence for those keep the legend alive in 2013.

May the Las Vegas show girl live forever in Las Vegas. When you visit Las Vegas, celebrate its historic past and it’s spectacular present. See Jubilee, join the millions that have been entertained by a genre that can only be seen in Las Vegas….and keep the legendary Jubilee alive (and kicking).

John and Claire Chmela
Top 100 Entertainment

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