By Robin Leach
Expect the bow ties and cuffs to fly and adult-male revue dancers to flex their muscles as a rivalry heats up between Chippendales at the Rio and the new Men of the Strip.
The Chippendales hosting gig must have bitten big with 98 Degrees singer and founder Jeff Timmons. Now that the boy band’s successful summer “Package Tour” with Boyz II Men and New Kids on the Block has wrapped, Jeff has returned home to Las Vegas and is launching his own rival male revue.
Jeff will announce shortly that his Men of the Strip crew — dressed in silver-and-white ties and black collars — will start a national fall tour before taking up a Las Vegas residency. Jeff says that he took his ideas to Chippendales producers, who said that their successful residency at the Rio didn’t need updating and thus nixed them. That decision left Jeff free to compete.
“They were happy the way it was,” Jeff said. “So we decided to launch a new male revue our way. I wanted to make it younger, hipper, with super-sexy 20-something dudes showing their personalities while dancing their asses off. The more youthful approach and extra production elements would take the ‘Magic Mike’ look to the next level.” The nine hunks include two other Las Vegas residents: former college football star Chris Boudreaux and stage performer Kyle Efthemes. Former UFC fighter Mike Foland, who has ushered and hosted at Chippendales, is one of Jeff’s partners in the project with Emmy Award-winning choreographer Glenn Douglas Packard, who has produced shows for Pink and Ricky Martin and worked with Jeff when he hosted at Chippendales. Glenn also is credited with the most recent revamped Chippendales show.
Jeff, who calls himself the “quarterback ringleader” of the troupe, will use his 98 Degrees tour bus for Men of the Strip tour dates in 40 cities across the U.S. and Canada, drumming up buzz this fall before returning to Las Vegas full time. The tour also will be filmed as a behind-the-scenes reality TV docu-series.
“It will show the macho men being put through a boot camp of training and rehearsals,” Jeff said. “The show will let viewers learn about each of the guys. They are strippers but also total rock stars, and we’ll take an irreverent tone to share their lives.
“Seeing Donnie [Wahlberg] and Jordan [Knight] from New Kids rip off their shirts and engage in stage histrionics that drive thousands of women nuts every night made me realize that we had to have younger, sexier guys performing and doing the same thing. I had the stereotypical male stripper thought in my mind, and my wife, Amanda, convinced me that it would be a good idea.”
Wednesday, August 28, 2013