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March 20, 2019

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The Stage Door Cabaret zooms in on popular Strip shows

Stage Door Cabaret

Lyndee Star

Cheryl Daro (left) and Marisa Matthews onstage at the Stage Door Cabaret show on July 11.

I spend a lot of time at The Space. The theater and arts complex just off the corner of Polaris and Harmon is the home of my podcast, All The Vegas, in which my co-host Mark Shunock and I interview entertainers and performers and Vegas personalities of all kinds.

But I’m also a regular at Mondays Dark, the riotous twice-monthly charitable variety show. Just this week, The Space welcomed a sellout crowd that sang and danced along to the music of Bruno Mars performed by venerable Vegas names like Rockie Brown, Lannie Counts, Lorena Peril and more, all while generating the customary $10,000 for a local nonprofit, in this case education organization Leaders In Training.

The Space isn’t just a community-driven performance hub, it’s becoming a home-away-from-home for local showbiz and creative types. Further boosting that development is the new Stage Door Cabaret series, which takes place in The Backspace, the venue’s intimate black box theater, and features the artists and crew of a single Strip production show taking the audience for a trip behind the curtain.

Click to enlarge photo

"Baz" castmates Anne Martinez (left) and Jaclyn McSpadden perform at the Stage Door Cabaret on July 11 at The Space.

The first edition was held on July 11 as a farewell to the great musical “Baz,” which closed at the Palazzo Theater late last month.

“The Stage Door Cabaret came about suddenly because of the closing of ‘Baz’ and ‘Marilyn’ at about the same time,” says Cheryl Daro, who performed in “Baz” and is co-founder of The Space. “We found out both these shows were closing and there was this moment of [feeling like] what are we going to do now? We felt like the energy was going to go down a bit in terms of our performer friends, that maybe morale was going to drop. We wanted to do something that would brighten those spirits and continue the mission statement of what we want The Space to be, a home for artists and entertainers and a place to create and feel safe.”

Like her husband Shunock, Daro is an accomplished performer and producer who somehow finds time to keep The Space and Mondays Dark running while balancing her own busy career. The Stage Door Cabaret is her passion project.

“It’s a place where the show’s cast can do whatever they want,” she says. “The audience gets behind-the-scenes storytelling from the show, something unexpected, something more loose and off-the-cuff, and we give the cast the freedom to create and a chance to think about something else than just the show they’re doing eight times a week.”

Daro and her fellow “Baz” supporting cast member Marisa Matthews hosted the first show and the hope is that each cast will present their own customized production each month in The Backspace. The next event is set for Aug. 30 at 9 p.m. from the cast of “Tony N’ Tina’s Wedding,” the long-running interactive musical that recently moved to the Buca di Beppo Italian restaurant at Bally’s. September’s show will come from “Vegas! The Show,” which runs at the Saxe Theater at Planet Hollywood.

“The Tony N’ Tina’s cast came up with the wonderful idea of doing their show as the rehearsal dinner for the wedding,” Daro says. “I don’t want to give away any secrets but the vibe will be completely different and the cast is super excited to do something really funny.”

Ultimately, the Stage Door Cabaret gives the audience another way to see a Vegas show they may already know and love and provides local entertainers with yet another outlet to show their stuff. It’s no surprise that The Space is adding another thoughtful layer to the Las Vegas showbiz landscape.

“I think it’s the right time in Las Vegas to get these amazing creative people together, and it’s so important for the culture of entertainment in Las Vegas,” Daro says.

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