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Turning 50 This Year? Celebrate Free At The Lido

January 13, 1996

PARIS (AP) _ Best-known for its long-legged beauties strutting about in scanty costumes of sequins and feathers, the Lido reaches the half-century mark this year and is out to prove that life begins at 50.

Eager to draw a hipper audience from Paris and its suburbs, the famed Champs-Elysees cabaret is giving free tickets to anyone celebrating a 50th birthday this year.

``We want to attract more French people and at the same time, get rid of our image as middle-aged entertainment for the middle class,″ said Lido spokeswoman Sandrine Hecht.

Hecht said between 30 percent and 40 percent of the Lido’s audience are foreigners, with Italians leading the pack. Germans place second, far ahead of North Americans.

The promotions also are aimed at drumming up business as France’s deep economic slump continues to plague live entertainment.

The Lido is banking on an upturn, having spent $14 million last year on a major facelift, including extensive interior renovations.

The Lido show, including a half-bottle of champagne but not dinner, costs a steep $102, but Hecht said customers will get more for their money in 1996.

The new review, ``C’est Magique″ has a high-tech, all-American feel.

Lead dancers Kate Vanderliet and Steve Gogh hail from California, while special effects and lighting are the brainchild of Marilyn Loewe, best-known for her contributions to Michael Jackson’s stage performances.

The Lido’s Blue Bell girls are as sexy as ever, but wear contemporary costumes better adapted to the bouncing turbulence of rap, funk and pop music.

``They used to wear up to 35 pounds of feathers and could only walk on stage, whereas now they’re actually dancing,″ Hecht said.

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