“Peepshow” is set to close today. But fear not, fans of topless casino entertainment. Angela Stabile is watching out for you.
The one-time “Crazy Girls” dancer sat last week in a former steakhouse at the Rio, overseeing rehearsals of “X Rocks,” which opened Thursday as the third cabaret show she produces with husband Matt Stabile.
Caesars Entertainment Corp. paid to upgrade the little stage that was fine for roommate comedian Eddie Griffin, but too small for five dancers to twerk like Miley.
“We brought in some high-end lighting,” Angela says, including some horizontal light bars that articulate into different positions through automated show control. Pretty impressive for a 150-seat room, even without the lasers, fire and grinder-spark effects they also won approval to do.
“We fireproofed the room, which was not easy,” she says.
A month or so back, I cited “Peepshow” as part of the threatened “middle class” of medium-budget shows getting squeezed on the Strip, between high-end Cirque du Soleil and the “little guys” who work a low-margins ground game.
“If you don’t have a ridiculous overhead, everybody can make a living,” comedy promoter Joe Sanfelippo noted last week of his small Bonkerz club at the Plaza.
“It’s been a joke that Vegas is to the point where you feel lucky if you get 50 people in a show,” he added. “But if you have a 100-seat showroom, and 50 people pay … you have a chance.”
Caesars Entertainment apparently agrees. Yes, it’s the company that spends big on Elton John and — someday, people keep saying — Britney Spears. But the casino operators also approached the Stabiles about spinning off their “X Burlesque” at the Flamingo and cross-branding it.
“Peepshow” came into Planet Hollywood Resort with a Broadway pedigree and 12 million budget in 2009, and later downsized to stay afloat. It proved more adaptable than the spectacular bust that was “Surf the Musical” in the same room, and may return in some fashion.
Still, you see merits of trusting the Stabiles and their low-risk ventures. “A lot of producers come into town and I don’t know what they’re thinking. ‘I’ll just throw tons of money and it’ll work.’ But that’s not how it works,” Angela says.
Her track record and reputation go back to the first version of “X” 11 years ago (Matt came along later). “X Rocks” hired dancers who have circled through shows that closed.
“They know they have a solid job since we have been around so long, that it’s not a fly-by-night three-month gig and then they’re unemployed,” she says.
They also know Angela once balanced on their spike heels back in the ’80s heyday of “Crazy Girls,” and can relate to their issues.
“We have this ‘Alice in Wonderland’ number, this crazy number” in the new show,” she says. “I bought shoes that looked amazing, but then (the dancer) could hardly move and said, ‘I’m going to sprain my ankle.’
“So we had to take it down a notch and revisit that,” she says with a laugh.
We may well see “Peepshow” resurface. But an even safer bet?
“What we want to do in the future is ‘X Buckwild,’ ” Angela says. “I’m not kidding. An all-country version.”
Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0288.