Purple Reign began at the small but then popular UNLV college club Tom & Jerry's in the summer of 1997. Front man Jason Tenner formed the group with high school band-mates Jason Underwood (bassist) and Brent Wheeler (guitarist) after dressing as Prince for a Halloween party at the Hard Rock Hotel-Casino the previous year. " People's reactions were crazy!" recalls Tenner. "They kept wanting pictures, asking where I was performing and how they could get tickets! It was wild!"
Already a working group with their 70's era funk and disco tribute show "The Mothership Connection", Tenner, Underwood and Wheeler were joined by keyboardist Greg Orr and drummer Micheal Paul. Soon after, the group began to experiment with Prince hits in their set. Those songs quickly became the most popular in the show and it wasn't long before the platforms, afro-wigs and bell bottoms were traded for high heels, eyeliner and spandex.
By 1998, Purple Reign could be seen in much larger venues such as the Railhead in Boulder Station, The Beach night club, Club Rio ( now Prince's club 3121 ) and has sharing billing with acts such as Destiny's Child, Reynaldo Ray of BET's Comic View and The Bar-kays. In 2001 Purple Reign became headliners of the mini showroom at the Boardwalk Casino, and according to a Nov. 2006 article in What's On magazine "almost singlehandedly" kept the property alive for years. While there, they expanded on their vision and theme using the classic film "Purple Rain" as inspiration , and incorporated the celebrity characters Morris Day and Jerome Benton of "The Time". The new show segment added a wildly entertaining and upbeat dimension that rings just as true to the original artists and character details that have made the show a success.
Upon the Boardwalks closing in Jan. of 2006 to make way for the new City Center Project, Purple Reign returned to larger venues at the Monte Carlo Brew Pub, The Chrome Showroom in the Santa Fe Station and The House of Blues at Mandalay Bay. 2006 also saw Purple Reign get a landslide 190 out of 200 votes and receive the award for best Tribute Artist Show by the Black Music Association of Las Vegas adding to their previous 2005 and 2006 honors of being voted in the top 3 visitors choice for best lounge act in the What's On Las Vegas Magazine. The LA Weekly also deemed the show among the "16 Things You Can't Afford To Miss In Vegas".
The current show cast consists of world class entertainers and musicians some of whom have played and toured with the likes of Ashanti & Enrique Iglesias and still others who have had radio hits as high as #13 on the Billboard charts. The members are: Chris Lukes - Drums, Darryl Fields - Bass, Bridgett Tenner - Percussion and Vocals, Michael ( Mico ) Lane - Keyboards & Musical Direction, Chris Lane - Guitar, Sythe Cameron - as Morris Day, Stephen Miller - as Jerome Benton, Adrienne Kramer - as Diamond "on the dancin feet", and Jason Tenner as Prince.
2008 will see more growth as the show has plans to add an "Appolonia" character, with supporting cast, and continue to expand their vision of paying tribute to one of the greatest artists of our time!