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This KPCC voice helped launch the last showgirl act in Vegas




"Jubilee," the last of the showgirl shows in Vegas, was revamped recently, but closes Feb 11 after almost 35 years in constant production.
Bally's
Original "Jubilee" program from 1981.
courtesy Rita Pardue
Original cast of "Jubilee" including KPCC's Rita Pardue. The hardhats are because the set had to be rebuilt after a fire.
courtesy Rita Pardue
Fluff LeCocque, longtime company manager of "Jubilee"
Fluff LeCocque


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For years, Vegas meant showgirls — topless or scantily clad dancers in outrageous costumes with ostrich feathers and sequins. But one by one the shows died out. Now there's only one left, and it closes next Thursday, February 11th.

"Jubilee!" at Bally's has been running for almost 35 years.

Watch a 1980s TV report on "Jubilee"

One of the singers in the original cast was a woman whose voice all KPCC listeners know well: KPCC production manager Rita Pardue. She's the warm voice you hear on many of the underwriting and other spots you hear on the air every day.

Here she is today:

Rita Pardue is production manager at KPCC.
Rita Pardue is production manager at KPCC.
Becca Murray

And here she is in 1981, backstage:

Bree Burgess, KPCC's Rita Pardue, Melody Fontana, and Gaye Snyder backstage at
Bree Burgess, KPCC's Rita Pardue, Melody Fontana, and Gaye Snyder backstage at "Jubilee" in 1981.
courtesy Rita Pardue

And in one of the fabulous costumes the show was known for. Rita says this one, from "Gold Diggers," weighed 40 pounds.

KPCC's Rita Pardue in the Gold Diggers costume from
KPCC's Rita Pardue in the Gold Diggers costume from "Jubilee."
Dani Brownlee

First things first. She wasn't topless in the show. "I always say," Rita says, "singers wore the most clothes!"

Rita was hired by the show's famed production manager, Fluff LeCocque, after a bad audition in Boston.

"There I was ... all the other singers were bobbing up, and I'm bobbing down. And when they're bobbing down, I'm bobbing up. Two weeks later, Fluff sent me a letter thanking me for auditioning, but I didn't make it," Rita says.

Rita wrote her back, thanking her for the opportunity and saying her next step was to take dance lessons: "Two weeks later, I got a telegram from Fluff saying, 'You're hired.'"

One of the performers had been named Miss Universe, so LeCocque filled her spot with Rita.

Rita will be reuniting with many of her former cast members, plus designer Bob Mackie, next Thursday at the last performance.  For many more memories of Rita's life in Vegas performing "Jubilee," listen to the audio.

This story has been updated.