Most Las Vegas locals (especially those of us who have been here for over a decade) have likely been to at least one Las Vegas show. For nearly 20 years, you couldn’t go anywhere on the Las Vegas Strip without seeing a “Chippendales” sign, digital billboard or bus wrap. The world-famous male revue has long been synonymous with Las Vegas, so it was crushing when the show had announced an end to its long residency at Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino.
The Return of the Chippendales
A few short weeks later, the show had fully plotted its return to its home stage with new acts and new faces (and one particular newly returned familiar face). We talked with Ryan Kelsey, the dance captain for “Chippendales,” and Chaun Williams, one of the few remaining hand-picked Chippendales left in the world (he’s also found some new fame as a result of his appearance on “FBoy Island”).
WT- How does it feel to be back home in the Rio?
Kelsey- It feels incredible to be back home, on our stage at the Rio. The last 17 months have been challenging for everyone, to say the least. However, knowing that we will be doing what we love doing, performing for an audience of screaming fans who are just as ready to have a wild night in Vegas as we are!
WT- Chaun, you started with “Chippendales” when you were 18; what’s changed since you first started?
Williams- There are new dance routines, new performers and a lot of new energy. I’ve changed a lot too—my look is completely different. We’ve got a new aerial silks routine that I’ll be doing. We had previously had a similar routine, and it’s something people don’t expect to see at our show.
WT- Is the show keeping any of the old numbers you used to perform? Like the classics?
Williams- Yes, we still are going to be doing the Heroes, Construction and Cowboy routines.
WT- How has the show changed in terms of health and safety guidelines?
Kelsey- The show is still just as wild as always, but, of course, we are following all safety protocols as designated by local legislation so that everyone can feel safe and have a great time! Whenever we are in the audience or an audience member is on stage, everyone will be masked up. And who better to make masks sexy than the Chippendales!!!??
WT- What did you miss most about the show?
Kelsey- I missed a lot of things but mostly seeing the audience lose their minds and just escape to a safe and fun space—and of course, I missed being onstage with brothers. Our cast is truly a brotherhood and to be back together again is like seeing your family again after a long time away!
WT- Chaun, how do you describe your show to friends and family back home?
Williams- I tell them it’s not what they expect. We aren’t like a male strip club; that’s not what Chippendales is—they think lap dances and dollar bills when they hear the name. They don’t realize we have dance routines and choreography; we’re a full-on stage production show.
WT- How do you think the audience experience will change?
Kelsey- Honestly, we have the best fans and audiences. I think it’s going to be an even wilder and crazier party as so many have been home just waiting to get away to Vegas and let loose. With our safety protocols, everyone will feel safe to enjoy the show. And remember, masks can be sexy! We will still be very interactive; we will follow all of the safety guidelines and protocols to ensure everyone has a great time!
WT- Have you had any interesting fan encounters, Chaun?
Williams- I was at the mall a little while ago, and this guy is staring at me, and I’m like, “why is this guy staring at me,” and he comes over and is like, “Are you Chaun from FBoy Island? My girlfriend and I have been watching the show!” It’s happened a few times now.
On the Original Male Revue
WT- Chippendales has been around forever; what do you think really sets you apart from other male revues?
Kelsey- I think the main thing that sets us apart is that we are the OG! We take pride in not only giving the audience hot and sexy men - we have always gone over and above with our show’s production values. We are always pushing the envelope and work hard to keep the show fresh and exciting by constantly changing with the times - from the music to the choreography. We are such a part of pop culture that it’s important to us to stay current and make sure we put on the best show.