Anita Mann guides Luxor’s ‘Fantasy’ to 19th anniversary in Las Vegas

“Fantasy” always celebrates its anniversary each October with its calendar launch party. The ceremonial, and actual, flip of the calender is an appropriate homage to show creator Anita Mann.

The show notches its 19th birthday at Luxor on Thursday night, a tribute to a production team that remains the gold standard of adult revues in Las Vegas. This year, the “Fantasy” cast is featured in a new 2019 calendar where decorative stage tape (gold, fittingly) is used to conceal their bodies. Barely.

Mann tries to stay on the perimeter at these events, but it’s not possible.

The acclaimed dancer, choreographer, director and producer spans generations in Las Vegas. She dates to 1956, when her parents visited the city to catch the stage shows. She readily recalls the days Elvis. She knew Elvis like a brother, in fact, when she helped choreograph and danced in his films “Spinout,” “Clambake” and “Speedway.”

Mann’s reach across film, TV and live performances is at once legendary and familiar — she won Primetime Emmy Awards for her work on the Miss America Pageant, and the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethons. She choreographed the Solid Gold Dancers for that syndicated ’80s music show, and as recently as August of last year returned to the stage to dance with Miley Cyrus at the MTV Video Music Awards on Cyrus’ single, “Younger Now.”

At one point, Mann piloted a company that had 20 productions running across the country — Las Vegas; Atlantic City; Reno-Lake Tahoe, Laughlin, Tunica, Miss.; and various American Indian resorts. She also had eight shows running concurrently on cruise ships, and when reviewing her career she exhales and says, “I never had a day off. I was going around the clock.”

That statement staves off the inevitable question, “Why don’t you expand beyond ‘Fantasy?’ ” Mann has had offers, dozens over the years, to produce another stage show in Las Vegas. Resort and room operators, and even performers, have continually sought to partner with Mann and draw from her success with her Luxor production.

“I have been asked to do many shows, and have been asked to take over a very big venue and bring in a big, big show,” Mann says. “But it takes so much work to bring in a show and keep it running and make it successful. I don’t want to be in a position where I would risk the success of ‘Fantasy.’ ”

Mann’s attention to detail is the root of her success. The cast takes notice — even glancing in Mann’s direction during numbers — of their boss sitting in the audience, vigorously scribbling notes into her yellow legal pad. The revisions she sends to the dancers are often enacted in the next performance.

For the calendar shoot, Mann has made decisions on earrings, makeup, how and where to pose the dancers, and even sprayed mists of water over the outdoor scenes to keep everyone cool. She reviewed more than 500 photos to help winnow the collection used in this year’s “Fantasy,” calendar, where all the dancers are artistically taped for photographer Oscar Picazo.

“I would never pretend this is not a huge responsibility, and it is my name on the door and I sign the checks,” Mann says. “But there is a real love I feel in working with the dancers and the women around the show. I love working with MGM Resorts, a great partner for all of these years. I am not a person who needs five shows on the Strip to feel fulfilled.

There might not be another Anita Mann out there, at least not at the moment, but Mann is generous with her expertise. She has worked with dancers, over the years, to develop their own numbers in the show.

“I know what we have to do to be successful, and that’s to keep working together on improving the show and moving it forward,” Mann says. “I don’t mind saying this: I like mentoring producers. There is one I have in the cast right now who I want to turn into a producer, who I am mentoring right now.

“When I consider that, I honestly do feel really comfortable that I am where I am, and maintained the knowledge that I have and can now share it. That means the world to me.”

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
Artists from Cirque du Soleil contribute art to Las Vegas art exhibit
Artists from Cirque du Soleil contribute art to Las Vegas gallery exhibit
Red Plate on the Las Vegas Strip serves a cocktail made with blooming jasmine tea
Red Plate on the Las Vegas Strip serves a cocktail made with jasmine tea
Benny the Ice Skating Dog
Benny is a Las Vegas Labrador who was rescued by former pro skater Cheryl Del Sanyo, and trained to ice skate. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Nevada State Museum
The Nevada State Museum of Las Vegas, located at the Springs Preserve, covers all eras of the state, from prehistoric to today.
Throw a better dinner party
Cash appears at Baseball Winter Meetings
Lights FC mascot Cash plays the electronic drums at the EZ Inflatables’ booth on Tuesday at the Baseball Winter Meetings trade show at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
5 albums to soundtrack your holiday gatherings in style
1. Various Artists, “Holidays Rule," with Rufus Wainwright, The Shins, Calexico and more. 2. Various Artists, “We Wish You a Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year," with Lemmy Kilmister, Alice Cooper, Chuck Billy and others. 3. Various Artists, “Christmas on Death Row," featuring Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg to name but a few. 4. Bright Eyes, “A Christmas Album.” 5. Various Artists, "The Motown Christmas Album." (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside the kitchen at Springs Preserve
The staff of Divine Events do party preparation in the kitchen at Divine Cafe at Springs Preserve. With nine parties the following day, this is a particularly busy time for the crew. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
WinterFest
WinterFest in Henderson.
Miss Rodeo America Fashion Show
The 28 women contestants of Miss Rodeo America compete in a fashion show at the Tropicana on Dec. 7, 2018.
Tournament Of Kings Holiday Show
Wizards and warriors are ready for the holidays at Excalibur's Tournament of Kings Holiday Dinner Show.
Take a dive with the Silverton mermaids
A visit to the Silverton Casino Hotel is not complete without taking in the popular, and very unique, mermaid show.
Cowboys and western aficionados can buy virtually anything at Cowboy Christmas
Vegas Golden Knights Christmas Display
In the Las Vegas Valley, the chances of getting a white Christmas are slim. But this year, you can have a “Knight” Christmas. A Henderson resident has a Christmas lights display that is synchronized to the entrance music for the Golden Knights. GG Misa’s Knights light show is played every 30 minutes from 5 to 10 nightly. His light show consists of two songs: Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and the entrance music, “Le Castle Vania,” from the movie “John Wick.” The display is located at 730 Bollons Island St. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Reivew-Journal)
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez is Just in Time For Repeal Day And Christmas
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez Is Just In Time For Repeal Day And Christmas. Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal
TV's LGBT superheroes
Green Valley Ranch's Winter's Village
The Mob Museum
Best Friend Menu Reveal Wednesday
Chef Roy Choi tells us what to expect from Wednesday’s Facebook Live Menu Reveal for his new Park MGM restaurant Best Friend. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Quick Chat With Criss Angel
James D. Gish and Susan Anton rehearse
Susan Anton will be special guest at James D. Gish’s holiday concerts Dec. 7 at Summerlin Library and Dec. 9 at Clark County Library. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Winter Wonderland
"Majestic Holiday Magic" at the Bellagio Conservatory.
Underwater Santa At The Silverton
Santa takes a dive Sunday, December 2, at the Silverton Casino Hotel. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Cowabunga Bay Christmas Town
Las Vegas Natural History Museum
Las Vegas Natural History Museum, which opened in 1991, has exhibits of mechanical dinosaurs and taxidermied animals, along with live snakes, fish and sharks. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Magical Forest Lights
Cirque Du Soleil Performers Team Up For New Show "Kinekt"
Through dance, acrobatics and aerial arts, “Kinekt” tells a story all too familiar to modern families: how to maintain a human connection in the digital age. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ethel M Holiday Cactus Garden
The Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas
The Pinball Hall of Fame was created by Tim Arnold and opened in 2006. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jump! The Ultimate Dog Show at Springs Preserve in Las Vegas
Trainer Lou “Mack” McCammon guides several rescue dogs through a series of tricks and jumps two shows a day weekends through December at the Springs Preserve in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like