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November 19, 2018

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Going from ‘Peepshow’ to ‘peek-a-boo’: Juggling motherhood on the Strip


Leila Navidi

Dani Wylie, who is five months pregnant, sits with her partner Jason Martinez and their 22-month-old son Maxwell Martinez at their home in Henderson on Wednesday, May 8, 2013. Wylie is a dancer and the dance team captain in “Peepshow” at Planet Hollywood, and Martinez is a performer in “Jersey Boys” at Paris Las Vegas.

‘Peepshow’ Mom

Dani Wylie, who is five months pregnant, sits with her partner Jason Martinez and their 22-month-old son Maxwell Martinez at their home in Henderson on Wednesday, May 8, 2013. Wylie is a dancer and the dance team captain in Launch slideshow »

On most nights, you can find Dani Wylie on the Strip tempting audiences as a dancer in Planet Hollywood’s steamy burlesque production “Peepshow.”

At home on a sunny Wednesday afternoon, however, she’s far more “peek-a-boo” than “Peepshow” as she playfully chases her son Maxwell around the living room of the Henderson home she shares with his father and her partner of nine years, Jason Martinez.

The scene is typical for Wylie and Martinez, who performs in "Jersey Boys" as the loan shark Norm Waxman and fills other small roles in the Paris Las Vegas show. Both work full time at night on the Strip. The late hours, six-day weeks and differing schedules may seem at odds with the demands of conventional parenting, but the couple say the life of an entertainer in Las Vegas actually lends itself well to parenthood.

“It’s almost a little like we get to be stay-at-home parents, it works out so well because I get to spend every day with him,” Wylie says. “When we first moved here, I was worried about raising a family because of the juggling schedules and the late nights and the overall atmosphere in Las Vegas, but it’s actually been amazing. The schedule has been incredible.”

Maxwell, who will turn 2 in July, usually wakes up late with his parents around 10 a.m. He spends the day between them, with Wylie and Martinez taking turns watching him so they can both make time for the gym and take care of chores.

Maxwell has a nap in the afternoon and then usually goes to bed around 10 p.m. He sleeps 12 hours.

“We try to keep him up a little bit later so we can sleep in a little in the morning,” says Wylie, who is pregnant with a second child. "It’s going to get a little bit more difficult with the second baby, especially as (Maxwell) starts school, and we’ll be up earlier. He’ll have more of a schedule that we’ll have to be on.”

Martinez leaves earlier in the evening for work, while Wylie puts Maxwell to bed and waits for their regular baby sitter to arrive; Martinez gets home first to relieve the sitter, while Wylie doesn’t usually arrive until after midnight.

“It works out because while we’re working, he’s sleeping. There’s not too much we miss out on,” Martinez says, explaining that the regularity of their schedules and stability of their roles is a rare privilege in the world of entertainment that’s unique to performing in Las Vegas. “I don’t think we could have the kind of family life we have now if we were living in L.A., where everything is gig to gig.”

Still, with different days off, the couple admits that it’s a challenge to find solid chunks of downtime that the three can spend together.

When asked last week about their Mother’s Day plans, for instance, Wylie and Martinez exchanged quizzical looks and laughed; they hadn’t thought that far ahead yet.

“Probably get the baby sitter so that we’re actually able to do something outside of here,” Martinez joked.

“I would love to just spend it with my family, honestly. Maybe go for a nice lunch or something,” Wylie adds. “Or dinner and a movie. Movies are rare these days.”

They’ll be able to enjoy a bit more flexibility in the coming months, however, as Wylie just left “Peepshow” to prepare for baby No. 2.

“I popped really early this time,” says Wylie, who was able to perform in a bustier and hot pants four months into her pregnancy. “Luckily the show is really understanding.”

As a performer and a dance captain in “Peepshow,” Wylie is used to having her hands full with managing choreography, scheduling rehearsals and wrangling performers. She doesn’t have a starring role or act unto herself; she leads the sensual, high-energy group choreography behind each of the show’s acts. Still, she says, staying at home full time can be equally, if not more, demanding.

“In a way, it’s harder because you have to engage all day. Sometimes when I’m going into work, it’s actually like this moment of pause where I can breathe,” she says with a chuckle.

Wylie describes getting back into performing shape after childbirth as “the hardest thing I’ve ever done” — a feat she accomplished less than two months after having Maxwell — but says she’s eager to return to “Peepshow” and her passion for performing.

“This sounds strange, but having Maxwell has made me even more appreciative of the work that I do. It makes me want to give more to every moment of the performance. I find myself being more aware and just enjoying every moment of the show,” she says. “But it doesn’t make leaving them for work every day any less harder.”

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