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Bada Bing Dinner Theater in Las Vegas

Bada Bing Dinner Theater in Las Vegas

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America's love affair with The Sopranos, The Godfather, Goodfellas, and a host of equally thrilling mobster tales can be satisfied vicariously by spending an evening at "Ba-Da-Bing", the interactive dinner musical at the Orleans Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The show is a clever marriage between Gustav Mauler's Italian eatery, Sazio's, and the Ba-Da-Bing repertoire company of wise guys and slick chicks. The occasion is a surprise birthday party for Mr. Big, the Godfather of Las Vegas, and as his guests, audience members get to join one of the families. Mike Hughes, general manager, stage manager, and Mr. Big's Bookie, explained that they have been performing for three years. They've been at Sazio's one year and have become so popular that instead of five nights, they are now running seven nights a week.

Certainly, the food plays a major role in the gangster comedy's success. There is a three-course dinner beginning with a crisp, freshly tossed Caesar salad and homemade bread. Black and white helium balloons and stars float above tables reserved for: the Pizza Family, the Antipasto Family, the Pepperoni Family, and so on. The dialogue may be tongue in cheek but the atmosphere is authentic down to the spats, the big rocks, and the pistol packin' mamas. The show's publicist, Bobbie Katz, explains that Ba-Da-Bing is the only interactive musical in Las Vegas. It is more intimate than Tony and Tina's wedding. And thanks to Gustav Mauler's cuisine, the food is far better than most catered dinners.

Even Lisa, our waitress, was Jersey through and through, her voice, resonating with Sopranos inflections. "Okay, tonight we got the Chicken Marsala with garlic mashed potatoes, the Meat Lasagna, the Grilled Ribeye Steak with Whiskey Peppercorn Sauce, and the Salmon with Honey Basil Sauce. There's homemade Tiramisu for dessert so save room. And, everybody gets a glass a champagne to toast Mr. Big, the godfather of Las Vegas. Drinks are extra."

As we ordered our entrée actors and actresses looking like they came out of a vintage Godfather epic roamed the private dining room, dubbing one man at each table Don for the night. Others were enlisted to participate in one of the sketches. Frankie Marone, or Moron as he's often called, played by Ted Davey is Mr. Big's former right-hand man. Frankie is hosting the boss's surprise party "so's he can get back in the Don's good graces." His former girlfriend, Chickie Parmesan, played by Carrie SaLoutos, happens to be Mr. Big's favorite entertainer. Her version of "Santa Baby" brings back the warm, sultry sounds of Eartha Kitt.

Pepper Vega, played by Karin Denise, is a well trained singer/comedienne. Her timing is sharp and her personality vivid enough to be memorable. Her husband, Johnny Vega, Mr. Big's favorite comic, played by Ted Wallek, keeps the show zipping along with fast paced banter, jokes, and colorful tiffs with Pepper.

During the main course, Frankie Marone sings a smooth rendition of "Mack The Knife", tells everyone that the Lasagna's never got along with the Pizzas, and the Spaghettis never got along with anybody! He invites all the Don's to stand up while goombas holding machine guns flank a life-sized cutout of Warren Beatty from "Bonnie and Clyde". The keyboardist, Michael Dowe, takes his cues from the action, lending a sense of authenticity and drama.

I had the Salmon with Honey Basil Sauce, and much to Gustav Mauler's credit, the fish was fresh, flaky and moist. The sauce was tangy with a hint of sweetness. My new family members at the Antipasto table were very pleased with their entrées. Beer, wine and alcoholic beverages are extra.

"So it all started with the BadAssio Brothers", Frankie tells the crowd who are well into their main courses. "I need some help up here." He scans the diners and walks over to a beautiful, young woman who he coaxes and cajoles up on stage.

"Your name?"

"Yvonne."

"So, Yvonne, Where are you from?"

"Russia. I'm here celebrating my divorce!"

The guests are now in full party mode; they cheer and applaud. Eventually they discover that Yvonne is not just an accidental tourist, she is a long-legged, professional dancer who adds more spice to an already hot line-up. Between dinner and dessert guests find themselves singing and dancing the Tarantella.

Homemade Tiramisu is served and champagne is poured as the long anticipated moment arrives—Mr. Big, the Godfather of Las Vegas makes his grand entrance. Mr. Big, who is sometimes played by Ben Morgan, the show's producer, or by a guest, is thrilled with the party. There is more tongue-in-cheek mobster humor, vaudevillian jokes and singing. Love is in the air.

After the show, guests can take pictures and chat with the actors.

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Linda Lane, Jetsetters Magazine Correspondent – Read Jetsetters Magazine at www.jetsettersmagazine.com To book travel visit Jetstreams.com at www.jetstreams.com and for Beach Resorts visit Beach Booker at www.beachbooker.com


About the Author

Linda Lane, Jetsetters Magazine Correspondent. Join the Travel Writers Network in the logo at www.jetsettersmagazine.com Leave your email next to the logo for FREE e travel newsletter.

Linda Lane