The Second Annual Las Vegas Showgirl Art Competition Exhibition opened at the Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas on November 10. On display in the East Gallery are the artwork from this year's competition, as well as showgirl costumes and accoutrements.
The Las Vegas Showgirl Art Competition was established by former showgirl Lou Anne Chessik who performed on Las Vegas stages from 1979 – 1991 in such productions as Hallelujah Hollywood, Jubilee!, Lido de Paris, and Enter the Night. Chessik founded the competition in 2007 as a way to preserve and commemorate the world of the showgirl and the elaborate costume productions that were once common in Las Vegas and Reno showrooms.
"It's its own world and it's all going away," Chessik says. She doubts productions of similar scope and proportion will ever return. "It's so expensive to even create shows like that now."
The showgirl tradition dates back to the 1869 Paris premier of the Folies Bergère. Showman Florenz Ziegfeld brought showgirls to the American stage in the 1910s and '20s, while producer Donn Arden introduced them to Las Vegas when he opened Lido de Paris at the Stardust in 1958.
Featured in the Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas exhibition are designer Bob Mackey's Blue Cage costume from the finale of Bally's Jubilee!, as well as costumes and accessories from Hello, Hollywood, Hello, performed at the MGM Grand Reno in 1978-89.
Sponsors of the Las Vegas show include Karen Burns Productions; Technology Exclusive; Escobar & Associates; Cindy Doumani; Denny Weddle & Associates; the Houssels Family Trust; Carolyn Sparks; and the Cast & Crew Reunion.