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Set Design for Folies Bergeres

Set Design for Folies Bergeres

Set Design for Folies Bergeres

Assistant of Charles Lisanby
Ca. 1980

Pencil on Paper
37 x 26 in.; 94 x 66 cm.

Gift of Charles Lisanby 

This drawing, done by one of Charles’ assistants, depicts a rather ambitious set that he designed for the Las Vegas iteration of the famous Folies Bergeres. Modeled after the French revue of the same name, the Las Vegas Folies Bergere opened at the Tropicana Resort in 1959. Mirroring the style of variety shows like The Garry Moore Show or those at Radio City Music Hall—for which Charles had previously designed sets—the Folies Bergere quickly became one of the most popular venues in Las Vegas. In fact the show, which centered on intricate song-and-dance routines by its celebrated showgirls, produced several award-winning musical numbers and became known for its innovation and ambition. The ever-changing and growing production became a true Las Vegas entertainment legend, attracting stars like Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Recognizing that Charles’ designs, like this set featuring a translucent Versailles as the backdrop, were as ambitious as the rest of the show, the Tropicana were eager to work with him. In fact, they commissioned him to do design sets for various programs, including but not limited to the Folies Bergere, throughout the 1980s and 90s.