New In Vegas: Blanc de Blanc
What The Fizz? Vegas Gets Its First Pour of ‘Blanc de Blanc’
By Stacey Gualandi
Mark Twain once said, “Too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right,” and production mastermind Scott Maidment couldn’t agree more. As founder of Australia’s award-winning theater company Strut & Fret, Maidment is the brains behind Blanc de Blanc, a Champagne-inspired, cabaret-meets-circus that is intoxicating audiences world-wide.
In just 2 years, Blanc de Blanc has fermented its status as an international hit, from Sydney to London, and is about to make its debut at the SLS Las Vegas on Aug. 16.
“It’s a long time in the making,” says Maidment of Blanc de Blanc’s success and its migration to the United States: Sin City wasn’t on his radar until people began telling him to share the show stateside (he’s already had calls to bring Blanc de Blanc to Miami, Chicago, San Francisco and even Singapore!), but with so much Brut-force support, he’s now ready to pop the cork on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip.
“We’ve been doing a 3 year out-of-town try out,” says Maidment. “I think this is actually our 17th city that we’ve played in. The show is kind of changed and developed for [each city]. We’re changing and developing it even more for Vegas.”
The Strip’s version of Blanc de Blanc serves a vintage blend of world-class cabaret, acrobatic and eccentric performers for an only-in-Vegas-style spectacle. A select number of VIP seats at the Foundry, where guests will be able to watch the show from inside hot tubs, will be offered for those “thirsting for a truly immersive experience.”
“I enjoy a good drink,” he says on a call from Australia. “I think that’s one of the things about Vegas, as well: People don’t mind having an evening with a glass in their hand. It doesn’t mean that it needs to get out of control, but it will definitely help you lose your inhibitions. It’s the same with this show.”
Maidment says his creativity was originally inspired by the classic performers who could control an audience like Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin. Maidment was a performer himself, once riding in a unicycle show and then touring Shakespeare for 8 years before turning to large-scale event productions.
“I know people who can do this better than me, and I started employing them rather than being part of the show myself,” he says.
Strut & Fret has been producing hundreds of shows and festivals in 30 countries for over 20 years, including LIMBO and Cantina. Maidment’s unique theatrical work even caught the attention of Madonna, who tapped him to produce her Rebel Heart Tour in 2015, which dovetailed into directing entertainment for her birthday parties in both the Hamptons and Morocco.
“She’s creating and doing these amazing things, but then on the day that she has her birthday, she wants you to do something for her. That’s kind of cool,” says Maidment.
Now, Maidment is bubbling over with pride for Blanc de Blanc, and with only days left before christening the Las Vegas launch, he’s ready to toast a whole new audience.
(Save me a hot tub OK?)
DELUXE VERSION MAGAZINE: What is the show exactly?
SCOTT MAIDMENT: Blanc de Blanc starts in a world that makes you feel like you’re in a Parisian cabaret and by the end of it, you feel like you’re drunk in a crazy nightclub. It takes you on a journey that is a bit like drinking a bottle of Champagne. The first sip that you have, you feel quite sophisticated; but by the end of the bottle, you’re a little bit trashy…a little bit giddy and ready to party on.
DVM: Where did the name come from?
MAIDMENT: The sound of those two words together sounded like fun. Translated, it’s “white and white” and I kind of took the inspiration from a white-faced clown. There’s nothing like that in the show, but [if you] imagine that some clowns were drinking a bottle of Champagne, that’s where it started.
DVM: Do you feel pressure to push the envelope with every new production?
MAIDMENT: Yes, it is about pushing the limits. We want to push the limits on stage, but also for the audience. [Every seat’s a good seat] and that’s why we’re putting so much energy into creating different seating arrangements for the audience because it’s an experience that I’ve never heard of anywhere else in the world. And Vegas sounds like a good place to start.
DVM: How did you come to work with Madonna on tour?
MAIDMENT: I was doing a show called Cantina in London and she came to see the show. She came again, actually, 2 weeks later, and then Guy Richie came. I went back the next year with a different show and she turned up again. Then I just literally got a phone call one day saying “Madonna would like to meet you,” so I went to New York. She actually came when we premiered Blanc de Blanc in London, so I think she’s been to about four different shows of mine. It’s great having someone like that who really enjoyed the work and is a fan of it.
DVM: What did you learn from Madonna?
MAIDMENT: She is absolutely the single most focused and hardest working person I’ve ever met in the entertainment business. She would rehearse the shows before it goes on tour over a hundred times. It’s almost like an obsession… she literally leads the whole cast and crew on a journey of her singular vision. I think that’s one of the things that I both learned and admired from her…that [a show has] got to happen at no-cost-spared, [as in]: ‘This is my vision, and this is the way that we’re going to do it.’ And that singular focus is something that has been a great thing to see for me personally.
DVM: What did Madonna learn from you?
MAIDMENT: I think she’s inspired by my different creativity. I’ve created shows with her from the Hamptons, and last year, we were in the desert in Morocco doing something for her birthday. We had about 50 Bedouin women and musicians, about 50 horseback riders and huge fires in the middle of the desert. It really was a very special event.
DVM: Why is Blanc de Blanc such an international success?
MAIDMENT: I think it comes down to the fact that this style of entertainment is becoming more popular. As people stay at home and watch Netflix…when they go and see something live, they want it to be not like TV; they want it to be a truly live and, dare I say it, immersive experience. And that’s what our shows have always done. One of the things that doesn’t change is the up-close-and-personal experience that Blanc de Blanc gives. And I think that’s been one of its points of success because it’s not a show that happens way over there in the distance. It’s a show that happens in, above and around you.
DVM: Why is Las Vegas the perfect choice?
MAIDMENT: People are passionate about not only entertainment, but also passionate about the city and in this day and age, that’s kind of a really rare thing. Even though [Vegas] has all the lights and bells and whistles, I really feel it’s got a great sense of community.
For more information, please visit: www.blancvegas.com.
Tickets on sale now at: www.slslasvegas.com
Photos: Pamela Raith Photography and Daniel Boud