Nothing's quite like producing in Las Vegas


When Adam Steck first put the "Thunder from Down Under" male revue into the bygone Frontier 11 years ago, he never saw last week coming.

Steck was fielding offers from South Africa and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, about "Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth," which wrapped its first six shows Wednesday at the MGM Grand. "It's pretty surreal," he says.

But he was also trying to figure out how his "Australian Bee Gees Show" should acknowledge the sad, unique situation of the real Robin Gibb slipping into a fatal coma while the tribute show boogied on at the Excalibur.

Such are the challenges of a Las Vegas producer. Last Sunday, I talked about the Strip scoring the occasional big fish, such as "Dancing with the Stars." This week it's fair to note the 10-year anniversary of "X Burlesque."

Angela Stabile had spent 10 years dancing as a "Crazy Girl" when she turned producer for the topless revue that's seen big brands such as "The Lion King" and "Monty Python's Spamalot" come and go since 2002.

A lot of those producers "don't really realize how Las Vegas works," she says. "And they come here and they're shocked."

Steck agrees.

"If you're a promoter or a producer or an event coordinator somewhere else, come to Vegas and throw it all out the window, because you have to learn Vegas."

You don't have to tell the producers of "Tony 'N' Tina's Wedding," which also marked 10 years in February. Jeff Gitlin and partner Raphael Berko discovered the show as Los Angeles talent managers and were inspired to place it here.

"We had a quick learning curve when we started," Gitlin recalls of the four-week launch. "Raphael and I had never produced a show before. We didn't know how to budget it (or) how you properly work within the framework of a casino, the marketing and the box office and all that stuff."

Gitlin laughs about how naive they were in thinking they could book a casino ballroom: " 'Good news, food and beverage department! We want to take out a room every single day of the week.' It didn't work that way, as you know."

Steck says "pounding the pavement" boosted the Tyson venture, his first with a big celebrity. If outsiders had decided to back Iron Mike, they probably wouldn't have bothered to march him down to call centers and the offices of ticket brokers to pose for photos with the people who would be selling his tickets.

If brokers love the show, then they sell it, Stabile says. "But bottom line, you really have to have a good show."

Oh yeah. That too.

Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at mweatherford@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0288.

 

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