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The Lido is a cabaret and burlesque show establishment on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, France which opened in 1946, famous for its exotic shows, and where Elvis Presley gave an impromptu concert. Other famous names who have performed there include: Edith Piaf, Sylvie Vartan, Johnny Hallyday, Maurice Chevalier, Marlene Dietrich, Eartha Kitt, Josephine Baker, Kessler Twins, Elton John, Laurel & Hardy, Dalida, Shirley MacLaine, Mitzi Gaynor, Juliet Prowse and Noël Coward.
The Lido show is produced in editions. Each edition has its own particular theme and content but follow roughly the same time honored format.
The show opens with a "theme" production number featuring singers and dancers plus the famous "BLUEBELL' girls (the topless showgirls originally hand selected by Madame Bluebell).
Along with the company a few featured dancers, showgirls and lead singers may be added.
The Lido is known for its spectacular costumes featuring thousands of dollars in feathers and rhinestones, rich fabrics and top quality furs.
The opening production number welcomes the audience and sets the tone for the evening-it may also set the colour scheme for the show and will feature special effects and lighting.
Music may be original or a medley of current popular songs mixed with music from Broadway or Hollywood films-often the opening number is a potpourri of styles and performers may change costumes several times.
Between the production numbers specialty "vaudeville/cabaret" acts are featured (jugglers, acrobats. magicians etc.)
At least one of the 3 or 4 productions will feature water effects-another thing the lido is known for, as well as the stage itself which raises and lowers, changes back and forth into an ice rink or swimming pool and can feature elaborate set pieces which come up from below.
Production numbers over the years have featured exotic themes like ancient Egypt, Aztecs and in the current production (2014) "Bonheure" a Bollywood, Indian numbers features an elephant, show boys dressed as Ganesh the elephant god, dancing fountains and more!
The closing number often features a number called "Merci Beaucoup" (featured in the television show Shirley Mclaine at The Lido de Paris) and usually has some particularly spectacular costumes.
Editions of The Lido show used to change more frequently and for many years were exported to The Stardust Hotel in Las Vegas which has a special show room just for that show; now each edition may run for several years until the management feels it has run its course and a new production is called for-keep in mind millions of dollars go into these shows in costumes and production not to mention constant upkeep to keep the show looking its very best.
Despite its reputation as a tourist mecca many locals, business people and celebrities can be found at the Lido.
Among the last of its kind The Lido has a special place in the history of nightclubs and floorshows and continues a tradition of the "haughty but nice" opulent production shows originally started by The Follies Bergeres.
Numerous clips of several of the shows of the last 20 years and even full videos of all the production numbers from some editions are available on YouTube.
It is interesting that while many of the performers in the shows are French a large number come from the UK and many of the tall statuesque "showgirls" who may top 6 feet without heels may come from South Africa and the USA.
With the fall of the Soviet Union a new breed of showgirls is coming from the Ukraine as well as classically trained dancers from many former Soviet Republics.
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