Members of the Las Vegas company of De La Guarda are hoping theatregoers will forego the slots tonight and instead spend their dollars at Glo, a club on East Tropicana that is hosting a one-night benefit for Martin Bygraves. Proceeds from the Aug. 13 benefit will help the family of De La Guarda cast member Bygraves pay medical bills and relocation costs resulting from the July 29 incident in which he was struck by a hit-and-run driver.
According to show spokespersons at the Karpel Group, Bygraves remains in "critical but stable condition at a local trauma center." His family has relocated from London to Las Vegas to stay with him.
The Aug. 13 benefit at Glo will feature members of Blue Man Group and Uberschall, improv comedy from The Second City, resident DJ Javier Alba and singer-songwriter Peter Stuart. Admission to the club, at 1650 East Tropicana, is free, but donations are greatly wished for.
Those who wish to donate to the Bygraves fund can also send checks (payable to Martin Bygraves account number 8482757302) at Wells Fargo Bank, 3555 South Jones Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 89103.
* Three days before the Off-Broadway De La Guarda reached its third anniversary, the aerial, physical and fantastical show added a new segment that's being advertised as "Higher, Louder, Wetter."
According to a production spokesperson, the six-minute bit ends the evening with "a very new, high-flying segment" and with "new music, new lights, new thrills for the audience." The rest of the show remains as is, with no sequences deleted to make room for the addition.
De La Guarda turned three years old at the Daryl Roth Theatre June 16. The performance piece, created in Argentina, started previews June 11, 1998, and, more than 1,200 performances later, remains a draw for hip downtown crowds who don't mind being lifted into the air, splashed with water and being generally made part of the overall spectacle.
The show has certainly meant beginner's luck for its home, Off-Broadway being the first and still-only production to be done there. Producer Roth announced her plans to convert the landmarked American Savings Bank at 20 Union Square East into a 499-seat, Off-Broadway theatre in fall 1997. But she halted construction when she was approached by the producers of De La Guarda, who were searching for a space wherein the unique show could unfold. The empty, spacious bank seemed just right.
Roth said at the time that the theatre is currently little more than a large, open area, measuring 50 by 100 feet, bordered by large windows, and with a marble floor underfoot. There are no fixed seats, but that's no problem. The audience for Guarda is required to stand while they watch the performers lower themselves down by rope and cable. Performances take place entirely in the air. There is music, but no words. Roth described the piece's nature as being along the lines of the Cirque du Soleil, Stomp, and Blue Man Group. Up to 499 people can attend the show each night. Meanwhile, the venue also boasts a 99-eat space "Little Theatre."
Producer Roth produced Jane Anderson's Defying Gravity at The American Place Theatre. Her other credits include How I Learned to Drive, Old Wicked Songs, and Three Tall Women.
De La Guarda can now be added to the growing group of popular shows that have added or changed sequences during their runs. Fosse, which closes this month, has occasionally tailored its musical numbers to suit such guest performers as Ben Vereen; a few months ago, Les Miserables shaved 15 minutes off its running time to save union costs and tighten up the show; and Blue Man Group has tinkered with its format (as well as creating a new show for its Las Vegas mounting.
For information on De La Guarda, call (212) 239-6200.
— By David Lefkowitz