In Entertainment, Magazine, Music, News

By Patranya Bhoolsuwan

There’s a new reason to turn back the clock to 1999.

“Purple Reign, the Prince Tribute Show,” has a brand new residency at the V Theater inside the Miracle Miles Shops at Planet Hollywood Hotel & Casino. The first show was on March 19.

Jason Tenner, the creator and star of this long-running show, said the move has been bittersweet after a nearly 7-year run at the Tropicana Hotel & Casino, which recently shut down for good to make way for a new MLB ballpark. “I do miss the grandeur of the big stage,” Tenner said.

“We have a much smaller theater now, but at the same time, it’s also a lot more intimate. I can see the audience. I can see their eyes and their faces and really connect with them. It does remind me of the old days.”

The old days when Tenner created this show inside a small college club near UNLV. Now nearly 30 years later, “Purple Reign” has become the world’s #1 Prince Tribute Show (which included an appearance on “Late Night With David Letterman” in 2008). A show that celebrates the life and legacy of one of the most respected musical artists of this generation.

“I believe our show is bar none one of the best live shows I have seen in this town,” Tenner said. “It’s 100% live, and my band brings it every night. And what’s great about being at the V Theater now is that we have foot traffic inside the mall. Something that had been missing especially in the last years of the Trop. We now have a lot of walk-ups, and it’s great.”

At a recent Saturday night performance of “Purple Reign,” it was a packed house, and people lined up outside the V Theater more than an hour before the show started. Once inside, audience members were treated to a nonstop, high-energy show as Tenner entered the stage as the spot-on version of Prince.

“In my humble opinion, I think we put on a pretty engaging show, and we never fake it. We never have,” Tenner said. “I don’t like audio tracks because I will change up the arrangements and sometimes skip a verse or go to the bridge right away, and you can’t do that if you are locked into an auto recording.”

The band members do rock it out at every perfor- mance showcasing Prince’s greatest hits, including “When Doves Cry,” “Little Red Corvette,” “1999” and of course “Purple Rain.”

The show also has tribute acts including Morris Day and the Time (“Jungle Love”), familiar faces from the iconic award-winning film.

The band members of “Purple Reign” are musical director and lead guitarist D’Andre, Damon Bartlett on keyboards and Frank Gaston on drums.

Tenner told me he also has an understudy named Donny T, whom he hopes will take his spot in the show one day.

I asked him once he retires, what he will remember most about his years rocking the role of Prince. He said it’s all about the words and the music.

“Every single lyric to every single song. That’s what I will remember the most. That will never leave my head,” he said.

“Purple Reign” is currently the headlining show at the V Theater with performances Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 8:30 p.m. 3663 S. Las Vegas. Blvd., Suite 360. (702) 260-7200. vtheater.com.

 

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