Tropicana Las Vegas President Alex Yemenidjian says he was “not proud” of his hotel’s vintage showroom, which perhaps had a subconscious effect on how it underperformed in recent years.
But he’s proud of it now.
Fans of the band Chicago will discover next weekend that the 39-year-old showroom is now a 1,150-seat theater.
After two months of remodeling, the old tiers of tables and booths have been replaced by raked auditorium seating with rows of wide and inviting red chairs.
Except for some nostalgic cocktail tables down front and two rows of booths.
“There’s a certain romance to it,” Yemenidjian says.
The new theater is part of a larger effort to reinvent the Trop with a nod to its past. The theater has all the upgrades you would expect — new lighting and sound enhancements (with the speakers discretely hidden), etc.
But it also seems familiar. Historic.
“The advantage of this venue is it has great bones,” Yemenidjian says. “You can actually do just about anything.”
Now comes the hard part.
After several false starts, including a disastrous attempt to lease the showroom to a third party, Yemenidjian now is hands-on trying to figure out what to put in this fine room.
You can tell by talking to him that it isn’t easy.
“We originally started with the idea of producing a show ourselves,” he says without naming past reports of a Gloria Estefan-themed revue. “When we dropped that idea, we decided to go more generic.”
Perhaps coincidentally, development of an Estefan bio on Broadway was announced last week, with Siegfried & Roy manager Bernie Yuman producing with the Nederlander Organization.
But the Broadway project has no timeline. So for the Trop? Maybe someday.
“If they decide to bring it here, sure,” Yemenidjian says. “I don’t know how far along they are in terms of being ready to open. The idea back then was a great idea. It may be a very different show now.”
The Trop’s best luck of late came with a live version of “Dancing with the Stars” in 2012.
“We love the show,” Yemenidjian says. But celebrities are involved so it’s “a scheduling nightmare.”
“Right now we are hoping we can have them again,” he adds. “At the same time we’re looking for other entertainment.”
The ultimate goal is “a permanent production show that becomes the signature of us.”
Until then? Well, there is that movie quote about “If you build it ...”
Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0288.