Planet Vegas arrives in Wine Country
by Staff Writer Sue
Aging lounge lizard Bobby Baker plays host to an
evening of song, dance and Las Vegas history in ‘Planet
Vegas,’ playing in Napa and St.
Vegas, it’s a whole ‘nother planet.
Aliens, quickie weddings, Howard Hughes, teaming herds of
conventioneers and all-you-can-eat buffets.
“Planet Vegas,” an original musical written and directed by
Valley resident and former Las Vegas chorus dancer Bonnie Zimmerman,
is now playing in Napa at Dreamweaver’s Theater, to be followed by a
return engagement at the Tucker Farm Center north of St.
St. Helena resident and former Las Vegas impersonator Robert
Battaile wrote several original songs for the show, which is
performed by Napa Valley Community Theatre.
According to Zimmerman, “Planet Vegas” is a musical expose
that takes an irreverent look at America’s “ultimate theme park.” It
is based on the remembrances of aging lounge lizard Bobby Baker,
played by Bob Kresko, who serves as the evening’s
The play follows the history of Las Vegas, beginning with
early brothel days, the Pair-O-Dice Club and nuclear bomb testing of
the 1950s, the Rat Pack days of the 60s, right up to the current
time, including tourists in purple warm-up suits, sandals and socks,
and fanny packs worn on the stomach.
“Which way to the dollar buffet? ... You’ll find hard-working
servers with nets in their hair ... Formica counters and stainless
steel stretching for miles …”
Eager tourists in Las Vegas search out the
nearest dollar buffet and slot
The strong vocals of Shauna Marshall, in the dual role of
club singer Sugar and burlesque performer Sophie Tucker, leaves the
audience wanting to hear her perform more solos. R.J. Snead does a
stunning rendition of “I’ve Gotta Be Me” as Sammy Davis
“Dizzie Fingers,” a piano tune by Lee Berace, Liberace’s twin
sister (played by Carolyn Long in a bright blue fright wig) is
another crowd pleaser. Her hilarious facial expressions leave the
audience in stitches.
“Planet Vegas” also contains many familiar tunes from
Broadway shows, including “Gotta Have a Gimmick” from “Gypsy” and
“Dance 10, Looks 3” from “A Chorus Line.”
The show takes on a somber tone when it visits Las Vegas of
1957. “Go gather up your friends, put on a real show. Drive to the
desert, watch the eerie glow.” Atomic bomb testing took place only
40 miles from Las Vegas. Women dressed as mannequins are scattered
about the Nevada test site.
This portion of the show is a complete change of pace and
mood, an important reminder of the serious history of the desert
‘Hey, big spender, spend a little time with
“Planet Vegas” ends with a heart-wrenching version of "My
Way" by Kresko and an ensemble performance of "Viva Las
Audience members sit at tables designed to resemble casino
tables, with decks of cards, poker chips, dice and play
And just like Las Vegas itself, this musical is not
appropriate for children. The 8-year-old boy in the audience at a
recent performance had plenty to ogle at, what with all the scantily
Performances will take place at Dreamweavers Theater on Imola
Avenue in Napa Sept. 13 at 7 p.m., Sept. 14 and 15 at 8 p.m. and
Sept. 16 at 4 p.m. The show then moves to the Tucker Farm Center on
Highway 29 Sept. 20 at 7 p.m., Sept. 21 and 22 at 8 p.m. and Sept.
23 at 4 p.m. Tickets are available at the door, at the Calistoga
Bookstore, at Guttenberg Printing in St. Helena or by calling Napa
Valley Community Theater at 942-4979.