Michael Kessler and Melinda Jackson are theater veterans whose resumes range from performing in Tommy Tune's "Grand Hotel" to starring in "The Great Radio City Music Hall Spectacular" at the Flamingo Las Vegas.
So, if anybody can offer a bit of insight about backstage goings-on, it's Kessler and Jackson.
This weekend, the couple and their M&M American Dance Theatre will offer a spoofy yet sentimental take on musical theater in "Dance With Me: Love Songs & Dances and Backstage Stories" at the South Point showroom.
Kessler describes the show as "a lighthearted spoof of ourselves putting on a show and how we got to this point, all told through song and dance."
The show is, Jackson adds, "an insider's look at the process of creating musical theater."
The show is designed to work on several levels. Woven into it, for example, is the story of "our journey in theater, as two young kids growing up on the streets of New York with different backgrounds," Jackson says.
From a more comedic angle, there's also the story of an older couple trying to audition for the show.
But, Jackson says, "there's a lot of tenderness. Hopefully, there will be a lot of laughs and a few tears."
The show's music director is Keith Thompson of "Jersey Boys" who also will "interact with the two of us," Jackson says, and the cast includes a company of 10 dancers.
The show will feature music ranging from standards by George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Irving Berlin to contemporary tunes by Ben E. King and Tim McGraw.
After spending years performing on and off-Broadway and around the world, Jackson and Kessler moved to Las Vegas about three years ago.
They continue to tour, and to play Las Vegas, employing M&M American Dance Theatre as a vehicle for creating, choreographing and producing their own shows.
Las Vegas is home to "a lot of wonderful, hungry and talented young dancers, and we like mentoring and working with them, adding in some of our old friends from New York like Keith Thompson," Kessler says.
The couple has found Las Vegas audiences appreciative of having the opportunity to experience Broadway-quality shows here.
In fact, Kessler says, "we've started developing a real grass-roots following for our shows."
"Our shows are more about the content than the packaging," he adds. "It's about the music arrangements, the dancing, the choreography, the story."
In other words, Jackson adds, "more about the talent than the bells and whistles."
Also appealing, certainly, are the shows' affordable ticket prices, which attract not just locals but tourists seeking to add another show to their vacation itinerary without breaking the travel budget, Kessler says.
This weekend's tickets, for example, range from $20 to $30, Kessler notes, "and they get to see a full-on, Broadway-style entertainment show."
It's also a show suitable for just about anyone, Kessler says.
"There are aspects of the story that are universal to everybody," he says. "Everybody experiences love, everybody experiences loss, everybody experiences elements of family pain and sorrow."
"It's a thoughtful show and has universal themes," Jackson agrees.
With, Kessler adds, "some spectacular dancing."
Contact reporter John Przybys at jprzybys@review journal.com or 702-383-0280.