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By Debbie Hall

Theatrical concert explores the dark side of love

Love can be dark as director and visionary Baz Luhrmann demonstrated in his movies as the theatrical concert, “BAZ-Star Crossed Love” explores in music and dance. Based on his movies, “Moulin Rouge,” “Romeo + Juliet” and “The Great Gatsby” are seamlessly intertwined as the characters reach out in a quest for love. With an ensemble cast and backed by a live band and dancers; the eras of the Roaring 20s, 1990s (but speaking as in the times of Shakespeare) and 1900s intersect as vignettes, mash-up and musical moments.

The characters of the women include a courtesan and entertainer, young virginal girl and rich housewife. The characters of the men include a very wealthy businessman (who made his money illegally), depressed writer and impressionable teenager.

The nature of people is to be hopeful and the songs merge from contemporary play list to represent the era of the characters, adding to the moments of love and joy. The production fills the room capturing the senses of sight, sound and even touch. The characters, in costume, enter and exit each other’s world to show the more different it appears; the more it is really the same for the human experience.

While the movies are based on classic literature (with a modern feel); the combination of the three creates a story of its own as each character’s fate is played out.

romeo and juliet Timyra-Joi stars as Juliet in the production in her Las Vegas debut. Standing only five feet tall and 18 years old, she started singing at the age of 2 with voice lessons by the age of 5. In 2013, at the age of 15. She was one of 12 finalists of Christina Aguilera’s team on NBC’s “The Voice,” and recently got to play her dream role as Dorothy in “The Wiz.”

“I grew up in musical theater and my coach introduced me to Shakespeare, especially ‘Romeo + Juliet’ and musicals from back in the day,” she explained. “In my senior year in high school, we read many Shakespeare plays in the old English, but is so different when you have to act it out.” Timyra-Joi has also seen the Luhrmann movies of “Romeo + Juliet” and “The Great Gatsby” to help with her performance.

At such a young age, she has not experienced deep heartache but she credits her co-star, LJ Benet (Romeo) for working with her. “We have great chemistry and he was my first onstage kiss.” While she appreciates the depth of the characters’ love, Timyra-Joi doesn’t want anyone to be so desperately in love.

Timyra-Joi also admits that she had a different perception of Las Vegas when she first moved. She took a year off from school so she can focus on the show with a goal to complete her education and perform on Broadway.

Other cast members include Skye Scott as Gatsby and Payson Lewis is the Writer.

briana cuoco and kaley cuocaBriana Cuoco, who performs as the Courtesan, is the sister of actress Kaley Cuoco, best known for her role in “The Big Bang Theory.”

“BAZ – Star Crossed Love” performs 7 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday in the Palazzo Theatre. Tickets start at $59.50 and can be purchased at any box office at The Venetian or The Palazzo, at palazzo.com, or by calling 702.414.9000. Nevada residents receive a 30 percent discount or two tickets for $99 with a valid Nevada ID.

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