The Modern Ziegfeld: Hallelujah Hollywood!

Former Ziegfeld Girls visit with the Copa Girls

When the prominent architect Martin Stern designed The MGM Grand Hotel for MGM’s new owner Kirk Kerkorian, its scale, oppulent decor, and grandiose entry befitted the Hollywood that defined the hotel's theme. Inside, Stern developed and refined the interior labyrinth of the self-contained resort micro-city with craftily designed and interconnected casinos, restaurants, and shops, and the enormous showrooms and theaters that Las Vegas headliners and burlesque extravaganzas now required.

It was a different Las Vegas, a different show from Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra crooning in the Copa Room and slipping into the casino for some after-the-show relaxation at the tables. The showroom of the MGM Grand, appropriately named the Ziegfeld Room, was, like the Lido showroom at the Stardust, designed for and by Donn Arden.

The Ziegfeld Room was the largest stage in the world with the largest backstage area in the world. Arden was to stage his biggest extravaganza yet, his 3 million-dollar tribute to classic MGM Hollywood musicals Hallelujah Hollywood! the show, which opened in 1974, ran until 1980, and included the magicians Siegfried and Roy, who had also starred in Arden’s later Lido shows at the Stardust. The costumes were designed by Ray Aghayan and Bob Mackie. Its flamboyant finale was a tribute to the Ziegfeld Follies, featuring The Grand Stairway and The Great Ziegfeld Walk.

“Florenz Ziegfeld in his wildest dreams,” wrote one reviewer, “could not have conceived anything as grand and glorious.” “To sum it up,” a review in Playboy wrote, "Hallelujah Hollywood! is everything old Hollywood has come to represent—glitter, gaudiness, glamour—turned out with that special perversity only Vegas can provide.”

The show was comprised of over a 700 costumes, at least three costume changes for each cast member for each number.