Sunday, July 21, 2013 | 4:39 p.m.
Editor’s Note: While Robin Leach takes his traditional summer vacation under the Tuscan sun and along The Amalfi Coast in Italy, many of our Strip personalities have stepped forward in his absence to pen their own words of wisdom. We continue today with singer and dancer Maren Wade, who has an insider’s savage commentary on the closures of several Strip theater productions in recent weeks.
Since show closings have been the latest trend in Las Vegas, here’s a guide on how to close a show in 10 days for all aspiring producers out there.
First make sure you have the right team of people around you. Pick someone with a prison record or who is bipolar. If you can bring on someone with multiple personalities, the sky is the limit!
What is the No. 1 rule of business? Keep costs down. Here are some effective ways to do this: Advertising is completely overrated. Why should you spend money to make money? Your show should be Vegas’ best kept secret, so secret that no one knows about it.
Talent? Who needs talent? It’s cheaper to get people fresh off the street, preferably ones who have never performed before. Throw on a costume. Pop in a karaoke track, but don’t let them know which one; surprise them! Then watch raw artistry and improvisation come to life.
Enlist your cast, what few you may have left, to become investors in your production. Forget the traditional investment disclosures, contracts, red tape and legal mumbo jumbo. There is a much simpler way to achieve this. When payday comes around, stiff ’em.
If you’re an overachiever, stiff the workman’s comp premiums, as well. When your dancers are saddled with medical bills from having been dropped on the job, you can sit back and relax because, let’s be honest, that’s really what you meant when you said, “Break a leg.”
It’s important to take some “me” amid the chaos. Make sure to take long walks on the beach. Indulge yourself with fancy dinners and cars, but, most importantly, whatever you do, make sure you post it all on Facebook.
Once your show has closed and your cast is owed back pay, offer them the set pieces as payment. Tell them these oddball scraps of junk will cover their arrears, when in reality it saves you the cost of trash collection. It’s a win-win situation.
Finally, if your performers start threatening legal action, bear in mind that the best defense is a good offense — blame it all on them.
Now, despite all of this invaluable advice, I have seen too many producers in Las Vegas stubbornly adhere to the complete opposite. These hapless fools run the risk of developing favorable reputations (which, frankly, just makes everyone else look bad), producing prosperous shows (like making money is something to be proud of, particularly in Las Vegas), turning thousands of unsuspecting tourists into satisfied audiences (now there’s a waste of a perfectly good opportunity to exploit the masses) and earning the loyalty of their casts and crews (those shameless brown nosers).
To these rebellious souls, I can only wish them that most virulent of theater curses: “Good luck!”
Maren Wade’s Las Vegas credits include “iCandy: the Show” at Planet Hollywood, “Broadway Celebration” and “Dancing Queen” at New York-New York, “Show in the Sky” at The Rio, “Terry Bradshaw: America’s Favorite Dumb Blonde — A Life in Four Quarters” at The Mirage and “Fantasy” at the Luxor. Of the six shows, “Fantasy” is still playing.
Check out our other guest column today from Sean Dunn of The Act Nightclub at the Palazzo and on Monday chef Akira Back (who this week opens Kumi at Mandalay Bay), Angela Stabile and Meeka of “X Burlesque” at the Flamingo and Robert Nash of “Raack N Roll” at The D Hotel.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.
Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
Catering to the young and modern crowd, Planet Hollywood is a one-stop shop for entertainment with its massive shopping mall, slew of restaurants, spacious casino and clubs.
The ambiance of the casino is retro-chic meets high-tech with black granite floors throughout and colorful LED lights throughout the space. The theme carries into the 100,000 square-foot casino with 250 flat screens topping off slot machines. The casino is also home to 87 tables, a sports book and a poker room.
There's also the Miracle Mile Shops, one Vegas' largest malls, with 140 stores including BCBG Max Azaria, bebe, Urban Outfitters and The Discovery Channel Store.
Following an afternoon of shopping, guests can satisfy their appetites at one of the gourmet restaurants in Planet Hollywood, like the non-traditional approach to steakhouses at Strip House or check out the exotic Far East motif at KOI restaurant and lounge. And if guests are still looking for more, they can spend the after hours at Privé, Triq or Krave nightclubs.
Perhaps one of the resorts biggest attractions came in March with the addition of "Peepshow." The naughty twist on the story of Little Bo Peep is modern-day spin on the run-of-the-mill Vegas topless review. The "Peepshow" stage has seen visiting celebs like Scary Spice Mel B, "Dancing with the Stars" Kelly Monaco and Playboy's Holly Madison.
Carnival lasts all year at the Rio. With a float occasionally passing overhead and dropping beads while feathered dancers fire up the gamblers below, the Rio tries to keep its 120,000-square foot casino jumping with excitement. Special Brazilian mixed-drinks are also served throughout the casino. The hotel suites tend to be larger than similar priced rooms on the Strip and many offer excellent views with floor to ceiling windows.
The Rio offers some quality shows like "Penn & Teller" and "Chippendales." Many come to the Rio for the nightlife at the VooDoo Lounge, located on the 51st floor, or McFadden's Irish Pub on the casino level.
Others come for a bit relaxation at the Rio Spa or pool area and still others come to shop at the hotel's 60,000 square feet of shops. In each of these endeavors, the Rio attempts to make the experience a bit more fun and spontaneous.
The Rio also offers guests a variety of dining choices from all-American food at the All-American Bar & Grille to Gaylord India Restaurant for something a little spicier and even Carnival World Buffet for the indecisive.