FREE DEBBIE REYNOLDS EXHIBITION FROM THE NEON MUSEUM NOW OPEN IN LAS VEGAS’ CITY HALL
Display Part of The Neon Museum’s Cultural Event Series ‘Duck Duck Shed’
“The Persona. The Person: Debbie Reynolds in Las Vegas” is now open to the public inside City Hall’s Grand Gallery. A headlining event within The Neon Museum’s annual design and culture festival, Duck Duck Shed, the free exhibition features a look into Reynolds’ brilliant life in Las Vegas – with her exquisite gowns, costumes and memorabilia on display now through October 26.
In partnership with Reynolds’ son Todd Fisher and the Debbie Reynolds Estate, this is the first exhibition The Neon Museum has curated. The display honors Reynolds’ Las Vegas legacy from 1962-2014 spanning her time performing at the Riviera, Desert Inn and South Point to owning the Debbie Reynolds Hollywood Hotel. Her impact on the city is spotlighted with the display of costumes and memorabilia all tied to Las Vegas.
Highlights within the exhibition include:
- Oscar for Lifetime Achievement – Reynolds’ glowing Oscar statuette can be seen within the exhibition, showcasing the lifetime achievement award she won in 2014. She received the accolade at the annual Oscars ceremony and was honored for her achievement as an actor, singer and dancer, her efforts to preserve historical films and for her humanitarian work to fight the stigma of mental illness.
- Reynolds’ Last Performances – The outfit Reynolds’ dawned during her last performances at the South Point in Las Vegas can be viewed at City Hall. Concluding more than 50 years of performing in the city, the farewell shows took place in 2014 where she shined brightly in an elaborately beaded gold dress and jacket designed by costumier Jeff Billings. She was joined onstage by her daughter Carrie Fisher, son Todd and granddaughter Billie Lourd to entertain the packed house with banter and songs.
- Red-Beaded Tuxedo – After signing Las Vegas’ first million-dollar contract at the Riviera, Reynolds wore her famed, red-beaded tuxedo while headlining at the Strip property. The production at the Riviera was similar to the vaudeville tradition dating back to the 1880s, and the show mixed musical performance with comedy and dance. Reynolds flourished in this genre, and it allowed her to interact with the audience in many ways.
“We are thrilled to have worked with Todd to share the stories of Debbie Reynolds’ life and impact she had on Las Vegas,” said The Neon Museum’s executive director Aaron Berger. “She dazzled hundreds of thousands over the almost five decades performing in Las Vegas and shattered ceilings in entertainment – especially as a woman. This exhibition is meant to showcase not only her remarkable talents as a singer and actress, but also as a mother, wife, and businesswoman.”
Debbie’s son Todd Fisher said, “My mother’s legacy will continue to live on in Las Vegas with this exhibition that The Neon Museum has put together. The stage was her second home, and this display really gives visitors a look into her deep love of performing in the city, and some of the most iconic moments in her entertainment career.”
The exhibit is free for all ages to view in the Grand Gallery of City Hall. Exhibition hours are Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the exhibition will feature extended hours during Duck Duck Shed Friday and Saturday, October 6-7 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. The exhibit has been organized by The Neon Museum and made possible by a grant from the City of Las Vegas Centennial Commission, which is funded by the sales of the Las Vegas License Plate. Additional support was generously provided by South Point Hotel Casino & Spa.
About The Neon Museum’s ‘Duck Duck Shed’ Design and Culture Festival
Taking place October 4-7, Duck Duck Shed is a citywide cultural, design and entertainment festival celebrating the allure of Las Vegas’ past and present with behind-the-scenes tours, exclusive exhibitions, and thought-provoking discussions. In addition to the Debbie Reynolds’ exhibit, Duck Duck Shed will dive into decades of Las Vegas’ storied architectural character through a multitude of individual events. The four-day series will feature nationally renowned lecturers, access to historic artifacts and one-of-a-kind experiences recognizing Las Vegas’ iconic entertainment culture, including:
- Cirque du Soleil’s “O” Celebrates 25 years in Las Vegas: Enjoy a behind-the-scenes, on-stage experience with Cirque du Soleil’s ‘O,’ which will celebrate 25 years in Las Vegas this fall. Get insights into the “O” production and theatrics, hear from the technical and artistic crew who amaze audiences nightly, and see rare technical demonstrations.
- First Look at Sphere’s Immersive New Show, “Postcard from Earth”: Be amongst the first to experience “Postcard from Earth,” the multi-sensory film created, produced and directed by Oscar-winner Darren Aronofsky at the brand-new Sphere on The Strip.
- Dinner with “Mouthpiece of the Mob” Oscar Goodman: It’s no secret former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman was also a formidable mob defense attorney for some of the biggest names in organized crime including Anthony “Tony the Ant” Spilotro, Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal, Jimmy Chagra, Natale Richichi, Nicky Scarfo, Vinny Ferrara, and many others. Join Goodman for a three-course dinner, specialty cocktail and wine pairing prepared by award-winning Chef Ben Jenkins as he tells the story of encountering his first-ever mob client.
- Experience Vegas History Through Food & Cocktails: Join Restaurateur Kim Owens, Chef Patrick Munster and food historian Sarah Lohman for a cocktail-style event at Main St. Provisions comparing the luxurious cuisine and cocktails of iconic Las Vegas restaurants past with reinterpretations from today.
- Las Vegas’ Impact on Urban Design with Christopher Hawthorne: Partake in a discussion with famed architectural critic and former Chief Design Officer for Los Angeles, Christopher Hawthorne, who will share insights into the renowned book “Learning From Las Vegas” and discuss its relevance on urban design today.
- The Evolution of Light in Las Vegas Casinos with the City’s Iconic Architects & Designers: Learn how Las Vegas evolved from “no natural light, no clocks and no birds” in the 1960s to a destination punctuated with sun-washed conservatories and spectacular glass walls flooding resorts with daylight. Join Gillian Wynn, Roger Thomas and Todd-Avery Lenahan to discuss the evolution of light in Las Vegas design and how light affects the visitor’s experience.
- Evolving Entertainment – How Vegas Designs Experiences: Las Vegas has long been at the forefront of entertainment innovation with developers competing to push the limits of experience design from our famous fountains and the world’s largest signs to elaborate swimming pools and immersive theatrical productions. Join renowned scholar and author Stefan Al to see the most creative and innovative examples of Las Vegas’ experience designs and how architects, designers, engineers and marketers joined forces to redefine entertainment boundaries.
- Lore of Downtown Vegas Walking Tour: Accompany local historian Richard Hooker on a walking tour of Fremont Street exploring casinos, neon signs, obscure objects and curious artifacts that have contributed to the past 100-plus years of Las Vegas’ history.
- Las Vegas Meets Hollywood: Take part in the debut of a new guided tour at The Neon Museum that features Las Vegas in popular films including “Casino,” “Queen of Diamonds,” “Viva Las Vegas,” “Back to the Future II” and many more.
- Explore Vegas’ Design Heritage with an Architect’s Tour of the Neon Boneyard: Led by Jaclyn Roth of Assemblage Studios, this walking tour will guide visitors through the Neon Boneyard, providing architecturally specific insights into the properties of yesterday and today, and the architects and designers who created them.
All programming is offered on an a la carte basis so attendees can attend the programs of their choice and that best meet their schedules. For full details on event programming and to sign up for any of the tours, exhibits or lectures, visit duckduckshed.com and follow @theneonmuseumlasvegas on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
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About The Neon Museum
Founded in 1996, The Neon Museum is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to collecting, preserving, studying, and exhibiting iconic Las Vegas signs for educational, historic, arts and cultural enrichment. In 2021, The Neon Museum achieved accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the highest national recognition bestowed to museums in the United States. On its 2.27-acre campus, The Neon Museum has an outdoor exhibition space known as the Neon Boneyard (“boneyard” is traditionally the name for an area where items no longer in use are stored); the North Gallery, home to the immersive audiovisual experience “Brilliant!” which uses technology to re-illuminate more than 40 non-operational signs; the Boulevard Gallery outdoor exhibit and event space; and its visitors’ center inside the former La Concha Motel lobby. The museum collection also includes nine restored signs installed as public art in downtown Las Vegas. Public education, outreach, research, and arts preservation represent a selection of the museum’s ongoing projects. For more information, including tour schedules and tickets, visit www.neonmuseum.org. Also follow @NeonMuseum on Facebook and Twitter and @theneonmuseumlasvegas on Instagram.