Interview: Katy Perry Talks PLAY Las Vegas Residency, Broadway & More

PLAY returns to Resorts World Las Vegas tonight, March 2.

By: Mar. 02, 2022
Interview: Katy Perry Talks PLAY Las Vegas Residency, Broadway & More

Katy Perry is ready to PLAY!

Since its opening in December, Perry's Las Vegas residency PLAY has earned rave reviews from sold-out audiences. The larger-than-life spectacle concert includes Perry's smash hit singles, such as "Firework" and "Teenage Dream," plus the recently-released "When I'm Gone," a new dance-track collaboration with GRAMMY-nominated producer/dance artist Alesso.

Tonight, Perry will return to the stage at Resorts World in Las Vegas for another leg of show dates throughout the month of March. Due to the show's success, tickets for performances throughout the summer are now on sale. More information on PLAY show dates can be found here.

BroadwayWorld caught up with Katy Perry to discuss PLAY, her new music, and the possibility of Perry ever appearing on Broadway.

'PLAY' opened in Las Vegas this past December. How is Las Vegas treating you so far?

I am having a fantastic time. I've always dreamed of having this moment in Vegas. I really wanted to make a splash and I feel like it definitely has. I'm going to just keep on giving it my best and I think the show will even evolve in the two years that we're there.

Especially as the world starts to open up again, Vegas is such an exciting place to be right now. It has what everyone needs.

Yes, it's a revenge spot. You revenge eat, you drink, you revenge dance, you revenge shop.

You had been saying that you had been wanting to do a Vegas residency for a while. Do you remember your first time going to Vegas and what your first impressions were?

Well, I live in Los Angeles and I'm from Santa Barbara, so my parents didn't take us on vacations per se, but they threw us in the car to go visit grandma in Vegas. So I grew up going to Vegas and being dropped off at the basement of the Excalibur. My grandma worked in Vegas. My dad worked in Vegas. My parents met in Vegas. My aunt was a top showgirl Vegas. I think all those things really seeped into my subconscious and helped me go, "Okay, one day I'm going to go there. One day, I'm going to put my fingerprints on that."

It was such a chill bump moment when I realized that I was performing at the same hotel ... My grandma and my aunt performed at the star Stardust and the Stardust was torn down and Resorts World what was made. When I realized the kind of symmetry of that, I was like, "Ooh, this is really serendipitous." Who would have thought, 30 plus years later.

Your new show PLAY is huge and larger than life. But it's only playing in Las Vegas, not touring anywhere. So did that have any effect on the show as you're creating it?

We thought, "Okay, well, let's just create set pieces that are for this theater and don't have to fit in everything or transform in some particular way to be on some truck or whatever. So let's just create it like that." Literally, I don't think there's a way to put this big toilet on a truck and not have to rebuild it from scratch. But that's fun and also that creates an exclusivity that it's kind of like, "Well, I'm going to go to Vegas now. I'm gonna make a whole little weekend out of it. I'm going to have a couple of nice meals going to see a great show." You know, it's like a destination show, which is fantastic.

I love how theatrical your shows always are, they're like mini-musicals. When you're building these worlds around your shows, how do you go about creating them?

Well I think it kind of comes in tandem with the music, a lot of times the visual of what it possibly could be. I'm just like in a full fantasy a lot of times when I'm writing. So I think that, you know, Walt Disney is one of my biggest heroes. I'm a huge Disney fan and card-holding Club 33 member, the whole bit. I just love a little bit of escapism and honestly, if you want to be psychological about it, I wasn't too keen on my upbringing. I kind of imagined my own other reality, and now I'm able to execute it through these moments. I think it's fun. I like a lot of modern stuff, but I do think there's a way to make everything in the kitchen sink look gorgeous and fun.

Did you have any specific inspirations for PLAY?

There was a few things that happened. So during COVID, I was introducing some of my favorite movies to my nieces who are five and seven. Some of my favorite movies were "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" and "Pee-wee's playhouse" or "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure", just Pee-Wee anything. So I saw those movies and I was like, "Oh my God." Once we landed on the idea for PLAY, it was actually one of my team members from Square Division, his name is Ashley, he was like, "What if you were a doll?" He just blurted that out. And then we were like, "Oh, we can go down with this real hard." So we thought it out to like the craziest degree and our WhatsApp group is the most insane like chain of ideas and dreams and approvals and renderings of the dumbest stuff. Video content that just makes you laugh out loud ... We really leaned into this idea and went all the way. So where I was going to go back to is, I think subliminally, those two movies really had an influence. Also just like the texture and the feel of Toontown at Disneyland, which it's all very like soft and curved and bubbly and shiny. There's not one sharp corner at Toontown.

This did get me thinking, could we ever see Katy Perry on Broadway or in a formal musical?

Oh my God, I have so much respect for those people that do those eight shows a week. We only do three shows a week and that still is allowing me to have balance and be a mother and eventually take my daughter to preschool and then mommy goes off to work. But you know, as far as that world is, every time I go to New York, I see a show. I just saw American Utopia. You know, I saw Hamilton, I saw Dear Evan Hansen. I saw Beetlejuice, like that was my thing before COVID. It was insane. The commentary, the writing on that was like, "How are you just killing it with every single line?" I love it. So I always see a show when I'm there. I do like being in the audience.

Now would I write and create a show? Most definitely. That's probably going to be in my future. Not my near future, but I have the thought and the dream to probably do some stuff like that. Will I star in it? Oh, I don't know. But if it's coming from my brain, it will definitely be interesting.

You dropped your new single "When I'm Gone" with Alesso on the opening night of PLAY. What was it like releasing the track and then getting to perform it on that same night?

Well, I knew that we were going to put it out, so we had been planning it and actually I had this song pretty much ready for a year. I was like, "I'm not ready to put anything out until I go back to Vegas." I wanna pump up the jams again for the kids. We knew we had it, so we created some part of the show around it. It's fun. It's like a real dance song. It's sexy. And I usually don't do a whole lot of those. I do more like the empowerment, inspiring flare, but you know, every once in a while, it's fun to remind people that I'm that bitch. I've been through many things, but I also could be that bitch.

Is this song part of a larger project with a new album era starting or is it just a standalone single?

We'll see. People are enjoying it, so that's always good to see. I've always wanted to do a dance record. A dance record and an acoustic record are things that are left inside of my bones ready and waiting to come out.

Watch Perry perform a mashup of "When I'm Gone" and "Walking On Air" at PLAY in Las Vegas here:

Photo by John Shearer