BWW Previews: RIBBON OF LIFE - THE SHOW MUST GO ON at The Foundry At SLS Las Vegas

BWW Previews: RIBBON OF LIFE - THE SHOW MUST GO ON at The Foundry At SLS Las Vegas

On July 11, 1987, performers and crews from the Las Vegas Strip came together to debut "Golden Rainbow" at the Ziegfeld Theatre at Bally's to benefit those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. The 32nd annual show, Ribbon of Life "The Show Must Go On" will be presented at The Foundry at SLS Las Vegas on June 24.

Golden Rainbow has developed into a nonprofit organization co-founded by Bree Burgess and Peter Todd to provide housing and financial assistance to people living with HIV/AIDS in Southern Nevada. The name of the production was changed to Ribbon of Life and continues as its annual fundraiser.

This year, "The Show Must Go On," will feature talented performers from almost every major show on and off the Strip which numbers about 30. The variety production will include music and dance numbers influenced by classic Broadway musicals and the British Invasion (The Beatles, Adele, and Queen) for the one-time-only performance. Shows such as "BAZ - A Musical Tour de Force," "Marilyn the Musical," Opium, Human Nature, Chippendales, Absinthe, and most of the Cirque du Soleil shows add to the excitement of the most significant event to date for Golden Rainbow.

The Ribbon of Life after party immediately following the show will continue the fun in The Sayers Club at The SLS. Attendees will mix and mingle with all of the show performers and see additional acts and performances.

People from the entertainment industry joined the organization in its goal to help provide housing for people with AIDS at a time when fear of the disease was prevalent. Executive Director of Golden Rainbow Gary Costa has been working with the AIDS population since the 1980s.

As Costa explained, "one of the most tragic stories, in the beginning, was when a fellow performer was forced to live and eventually die in his family's garage."

He moved to Las Vegas five years ago and was honored to become the executive director for the organization. Along with the transformation of the production, the goals of the organization have been adjusted.

"The entertainment culture has changed," he said. "When shows for Golden Rainbow were first offered, there were big productions such as Jubilee with showgirls, costumes, and spectacle. Cirque shows were not even in Las Vegas yet. The productions reflected that element."

Many clients are living longer so providing short-term housing has now morphed into finding more permanent placement. In the last few years, over 20 shows have closed, and people including entertainers, backstage techs, backup performers, musicians, and support staff have lost their jobs. Affordable housing is also decreasing creating more challenges for Golden Rainbow. Project Neon demolished over eight apartment complexes owned and maintained by the organization with finding replacement properties difficult. Funds raised by the show either in ticket sales or silent auction will help in keeping HIV/AIDS clients housed and living in dignity.

Ribbon of Life "The Show Must Go On" will be held at The Foundry at SLS Las Vegas on June 24. The Red Carpet Reception and Silent Auction begins at 11 a.m. and show time is 1 p.m. VIP level Ribbon of Life, general admission, and after-party tickets are available for purchase by clicking here. Visit goldenrainbow.org/ribbonoflife for more info.

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From This Author Debbie Hall

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