ROXANNA BONILLA-GIANNINI IS CREATING A HEAT WAVE
By Esther Lynn
A lot of celebrities can be seen on the beaches of the French Riviera. In Las Vegas, a lot of celebrity tribute artists can be seen on the stages of the Riviera Hotel & Casino.
Upstairs, the hotel‘s long-running "An Evening at La Cage" features Xeroxes of Joan Rivers, Cher, Celine Dion, Judy Garland, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, Reba McEntire, Bette Midler, Liza Minnelli, Dolly Parton, Diana Ross and Britney Spears, while in the casino-level Le Bistro Theatre, Neil Diamond look-alike/sound-alike, Jay White, and Frank Sinatra tribute artist, Kevin Cavenagh, perform. It might be said that there are more "headliners" working on stages at the Riviera than anywhere else in Las Vegas. Now another show business legend joins the hotel’s star-studded lineup.
Although the desert can get quite chilly during November and December, on Fridays and Saturdays, the Le Bistro will be heating up as Roxanna Bonilla-Giannini pays homage to the legendary Marilyn Monroe.
Born in Costa Rica, to an Italian mother and a French/Spanish father, this Marilyn look-alike really does believe that there is no business like show business. Roxanna started young, appearing in school plays at the age of nine. By the time she was 13, she was touring the United States and Mexico, starring as Snow White in the acclaimed "Disney On Parade." Roles in popular TV series, including The Blue Knight, All In the Family, Starsky and Hutch, Rhoda, Ironside, Police Story and Police Woman followed, as did movie work. Roxanna appeared in a number of American and foreign films, among them "Nine to Five" and "Shark’s Treasure." Theater projects include "Charley’s Aunt," "Waltz of the Toreadors," and her own productions of "Nostalgie - Growing Up With the Movies" and "An Evening With Marilyn Monroe - 1962."
In her "An Evening With Marilyn" at the Riviera (condensed from its longer running time in previous venues, to a one-hour "casino length"), Roxanna incorporates more than three dozen slides (many featuring rare photos from the life of one of the world‘s most famous blondes), multiple costume changes, dancing, dialogue and music, offering plenty of goodies for both the eyes and ears. Most of the songs used in this one-woman tribute are associated with Marilyn‘s roles in films, while others are some that fans wish she might have sung. All the numbers play a part in telling the story of Marilyn’s short, turbulent life.
Opening with Hooray For Hollywood, There’s No Business Like Show Business, I Wanna Be Loved By You, Girl From Little Rock, I’m Gonna File My Claim, River of No Return, Happy Birthday (Mr. President), Every Baby Needs a Da Da Daddy, My Heart Belongs to Daddy, Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friends and Bye Bye Baby are also included in this moving portrait.
Roxanna has performed her loving tribute in many prestigious venues, among them, the Cinegrill in Hollywood, Bonaventure Hotel and Coconut Grove in Los Angeles, the Del Coronado in San Diego, and the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Reviewers have been generous in their praise of Roxanna’s work. Stephen Foster, of 4 Front magazine, wrote, "She shimmered in the spotlight, looked amazingly like the late diva... ’An Evening with Marilyn’ is a class act!" Edge magazine declared, "Marilyn Monroe lives," while Entertainment Today called her show, "First-rate cabaret." "Extraordinary" and "Magic" are also words that have been used in describing this talented young lady. Respected drama coach and founder of the famed Actor‘s Studio, Lee Strasberg, called Roxanna Bonilla-Giannini "Passionate, sensitive and subtle," while Jane Fonda and Dolly Parton, her "Nine to Five" co-stars, deemed her a "Wonderful and sensitive talent" and stated she made them cry. It has long been suggested that Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Apparently, so do ladies.
ROXANNA BONILLA-GIANNINI in "AN EVENING WITH MARILYN"
Riviera’s Le Bistro Theatre
Fridays and Saturdays, 7 p.m.
$29.95 General Seating, $39.95 VIP Seating, plus applicable taxes
For reservations, call (702) 794-9433