The nostalgic, party-inducing I Love the ’90s Tour has been one of the most successful cross-country productions of the last three years, selling out arenas left and right with an addictive mix of favorite acts from that memorable decade performing their pop, rock, R&B and hip-hop hits. When it came time to produce a Vegas version of the show, installed recently at the Paris Theater on the Strip, one of the tour’s biggest acts couldn’t wait to jump onboard and help bring the music and fun to the Strip.
Salt-N-Pepa are legit rap icons. Cheryl James (Salt), Sandra Denton (Pepa) and Deidra Roper (DJ Spinderella) are the energetic anchors of Salt-N-Papa’s I Love the ’90s: The Vegas Show at the Paris Theater, and as you can tell from this quick conversation, they’re already in love with Las Vegas. You can see their show until Dec. 3, at which point the production goes dark until Jan. 16.
What was it like when you first stepped onstage to kick off this unique concert residency show?
James: It was wild because that (first night) I went from this stage to the stage at Drai’s (Nightclub at the Cromwell), which was insane. I love that club. It’s the coolest club I’ve ever seen in my life. I stayed out and it’s like a unicorn sighting if I stay out.
Roper: We were pretty anxious leading up to the first shows. Stress levels were high. But once we got onstage it got … worse. (Laughs.) Just kidding. That’s when the hands went up and then as we progressed we felt so much more comfortable.
Denton: I just love Vegas and I feel like I’m very Vegas. I’ve lived in New York and L.A. but I feel like this is it, this is the spot for me. And how better to celebrate than with our own residency?
You and the other producers have really added to the production for this Vegas version.
James: We had to make sure it was fabulous because our name is on the thing. I watched the show from the side and this is a show I definitely would want to see, and I am Miss Broadway. I’m that chick. I’m checking out the production all the time and I think it’s fabulous, from the dancers to the DJs to the music.
Different acts will be rotating in and out of the show. Who are you looking forward to performing with?
James: Terry (Ellis) from En Vogue just texted me the other day and she can’t wait to get here.
Denton: Naughty By Nature. That’s gonna be insane when they come.
How do you decide which Salt-N-Pepa hits and personal favorites work their way into the show?
James: You’re always gonna get people who are disappointed if you didn’t do their song. “None of Your Business” is one of Pep’s faves and if we don’t do that, people get upset. But what a great problem to have, so many hits that people get mad if we don’t do them all.
Roper: “I’ll Take Your Man.” We play that. That’s one of my favorites.
James: Yeah, we call that one our ratchet classic.
Have you had a chance yet to explore Las Vegas a bit, to go beyond the Strip?
Roper: I haven’t. There’s always something coming up and everything is a priority. I’m waiting for that day when I can chill and just go to the supermarket.
Denton: I got to drive around and it’s so pretty. Getting off the Strip is so amazing because I’m a mountain person. I need that view and Vegas gives me that. You can look down any street and see that.
James: I’m looking forward to it because we’ve been doing so much. We’ve been developing and designing this show as well as the [upcoming] tour with New Kids on the Block. We’re going to Australia. We’re also doing our TV show called “Ladies Night.” I feel like we’re busier now than we have been in our whole career, which is insane and incredible. But this Vegas show is our main priority. We have to make this hot because we’re three women bringing hip-hop to Vegas for the first time as a residency and that is groundbreaking.