Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014 | 4:33 p.m.
Robin Leach is winding down from his annual summer vacation under the Tuscan sun in Italy, and many of our Strip personalities have stepped forward again in his absence to pen their own words of wisdom. As Robin gets ready to pick up pen, notepad and tape recorder to resume his Strip coverage, we continue today with “Rock of Ages” at the Venetian stars Mark Shunock, Becca Kotte, Tiffany Engen and Justin Mortelliti. Here’s Mark.
Any given night, with fake flashlight in hand, an ’80s mega sing-a-long breaks out inside our Rock of Ages Theater at the Venetian. Is this really happening? I catch myself grinning ear-to-ear looking out at our audience and realizing that it is.
I now have the opportunity — thank you, Robin — to write my second guest column for this legendary man, and it’s because of the success of the show that I am able to do so.
“Rock of Ages” has allowed me to be more than I could have ever imagined. I thought when I relocated to Las Vegas nearly two years ago that I would simply rock out and enjoy the ride. I had no idea that I would create something that would help me to become a better person, husband, actor and friend.
“Mondays Dark” simply started as a way to get a bunch of Strip performers together on a night off and help people in the process. In the nine short months it’s been in existence, little did I know that more than 30 Las Vegas-based charities would believe in the idea and want to be a part of it.
Little did I know that nearly every performer I meet in town wants to donate their time and talent to the show. It has in a way taken over our home, and I feel as though, through the success of “Rock of Ages,” “Mondays Dark” has spawned a new life for me.
I will always be devoted to my family at “Rock of Ages,” and I am fully aware that without my beloved home there, nothing else would be possible. What “Rock of Ages” has done for me, to be quite honest, changed my life.
It has offered me the opportunity to be a part of one of the longest-running shows in Broadway history. I think it’s in the Top 30 — not bad for an ’80s party. It has allowed me to re-create a role that I have dreamed of playing, and now has allowed me to help thousands of people in Las Vegas.
I’m proud of all of these things, but “Mondays Dark” holds a special place. My wife and I love the challenge of creating an exciting 90 minutes in which we help raise $10,000 for a Las Vegas-based charity each month. The tremendous support of the entertainment community makes this task that much easier.
A new tradition has started in Las Vegas. “Mondays Dark” is the third Monday of every month. You never know who you will see or perform, but one thing is for certain: You will help someone who desperately needs it.
Since beginning last November, “Mondays Dark” has raised money for Opportunity Village, AFAN, Nevada SPCA, St. Therese Center, Shine Foundation, Miracle League, NF Network, Rudy Foundation and Safe House, with the remaining months this year to benefit His Love Street NV, Munchies for the Military, The Healing Curve and NV Sheppard Rescue.
One hundred percent of ticket sales go directly to the charity each month. “Mondays Dark” is booked through the end of 2014 with a huge anniversary party in the works for December. A wait list is forming for dates in 2015. For more information, please visit MondaysDark.com. Please follow us on Twitter @Mondays_Dark and like us on Facebook.
Mark has just announced that the August edition of “Mondays Dark” will take place Monday, Aug. 18, at 8:30 p.m. at Vinyl in the Hard Rock Hotel. After the success of last month’s “Classic Vegas” night, 100 percent of the ticket proceeds from the August show will benefit His Love Street Nevada and will feature Earl Turner, Clint Holmes, Chadwick Johnson, Skye Dee Miles, Mary Wilson, Las Vegas Tenors, Lisa Mack and others to be announced, with the evening titled “Soul Funkdafied.”
“Rock of Ages” celebrated its 600th show at the Venetian last Friday.
Be sure to check out our other “Rock of Ages” guest columnists Tiffany Engen, Becca Kotte, and Justin Mortelliti. On Wednesday, we meet up with Jennifer Aleman, who runs the long-running topless show “Crazy Girls” at the Riviera, and Las Vegas singer Franky Perez.
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.
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Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
In the spirit of Venice, The Venetian is a little piece of romantic Italy right here in Las Vegas. The Venetian is an "all-suite" hotel, with rooms accented with plush linens and Italian marble. The 4,027 suites are divided into two towers: The 36-story Venetian Tower that offers guests a taste of luxurious Las Vegas and the Venezia suites, which guarantee 12 floors of high-end elegance. The top five floors are the hotel's highest level of luxury with its private access, concierge lounge, upgraded features and even a dedicated staff.
The flagship of Venetian nightlife is TAO, an ultra-hip nightclub located inside of TAO Asian Bistro. V Bar is The Venetian's super smooth ultra lounge, made by the owners of New York City's club Lotus and Los Angeles' super swank Sunset Room.
The Venetian features 19 restaurants including Thomas Keller's award-winning French restaurant Bouchon, Mario Batali's B&B Ristorante, Aquaknox for fresh seafood and the 42,000 square foot TAO Asian Bistro. There's also the food court inside the Canal Shoppes for those looking for a quick bite.
Guests can float along The Grand Canal Shops in an authentic Italian gondola ride and pass stores like Burberry and Kenneth Cole along the way. And if you haven't caught a real celeb, on the street in Vegas, you can head over to Madame Tussauds to check out a wax version.