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April 23, 2014

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Singer and dancer Maren Wade: How to close a Las Vegas show in 10 days

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Maren Wade.

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Maren Wade.

iCandy at Saxe Theater

iCandy at Saxe Theater in the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood on Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012. Launch slideshow »

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.

DAYS 1-2

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!

DAYS 3-4

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.

DAYS 5-8

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.”

DAYS 9-10

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.

CAUTION

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.

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