The Las Vegas showroom that opened during the COVID shutdown
The Vegas Room put on shows when almost no one else could, during the COVID shutdown. Its sister venue, The Nevada Room, provided a suitable stage for artists looking to showcase new projects.
But neither could survive the widespread reopening of theaters and showrooms on and off the Strip. When these houses opened, their business suffered. Thus, on August 20, the noble adventure of the historic commercial center of Eastern Sahara will fall into oblivion.
“We have a revenue model that looks like three legs on a stool,” To M michaelco-founder of the place with his partner the chef David James Robinson, said Monday during a conversation at the adjacent Vickie’s Diner. “We had ticket revenue, food revenue, alcohol revenue. What’s happening now, no matter what kind of push we do, is that ticketing revenue just isn’t where it should be.
The venue came to depend on House Seats and Fillaseat to generate audiences. And even adjusting the price of dinner from, say, $24.95 to $27.95 might irritate loyal, but also cost-conscious customers.
Michel insists he’s not talking about corporate public relations when he speaks nostalgically of his time as a theater operator.
“I loved what we did. I’m proud of that,” he said, choosing a vegetarian omelet. “I’m so happy right now. We left a great legacy, and now we have free time to travel and see shows.
The Vegas room opened just a week before the pandemic shutdown, the first week of March 2020. But in the summer, the former Korean restaurant was hosting cabaret-style shows as “ambient” entertainment (remember that term). In May 2021, The Nevada Room opened its Piano Bar Bistro with its regular lineup, and by the fall of last year, the larger Nevada Room Showroom had launched.
Kelly Clinton Holmes The variety show “Sit In” anchored the Showroom, a boon to club operators. Clinton-Holmes delivered terrific musical/comedy performances and also tapped into her vast network of celebrity friends.
On one memorable night, Clinton-Holmes danced it and performed skits with Bouba Knightoriginal member of Gladys Chevalier and pips. The co-star that night was Elisa Fiorillo, Prince’s backing vocalist at the time of The New Power Generation. One of many great experiences in off-strip paradise.
“Right now, I’m just thinking about all the magical, wonderful evenings we had there,” Clinton-Holmes said. “Every time we finished a show, I would say to Tom and Chef David, ‘This is my favorite place.’ When I saw it, I fell in love with it. I will really miss it.
The venue served as something of a COVID reopening revival for Clinton-Holmes, now entertainment director and headliner of the Stirling Club.
Over its brief history, Nevada Room Showroom headliners have included icons such as Rich Little (who had just debuted on The Nevada Room’s on-stage interview series on Thursday) and Rock Barbutti. The big number at Motown The next move celebrated its 50th anniversary this year at the Nevada Room.
Among the upcoming shows in the hall’s closing run is “Comedy Tonight!” featuring Kathleen Dunbar and Jay Hollingworth Tuesday, the club’s “Radio Theater Presents The Corporation (An ’80s Salute)” on August 5; The Mike Field Jazz Quintet August 6 and the final three Clinton-Holmes performances each Thursday until August 18.
Robinson (a musical performer himself) conducts “Just a Song Before I Go: A Musical Tribute” on August 10. The finale is “Tony Arias – The Show to End All Shows!” August 20.
But that’s not the end of club influence. The venues served as a “talent incubator”, as Michel puts it, with stellar performances of new concepts from a host of talented artists, including Ruby Lewis, Michelle Johnson, Christine Shebeck, Janien Valentine, Lannie Counts, Jimmy Hopper, the Kings Doo Wop with the Swing it Girlsand many other Vegas performers. Keith Thompson hosted a weekly piano night at the Piano Bar Bistro, further expanding the venue’s roster of talent.
From now on, all these artists who have made the headlines of the room must find some new playgrounds. Luckily, Myron at Smith Center, The Space and Notoriety Live are always busy booking big Vegas talent. But another club, Mosaic on the Strip, also closed in the first week of July. It was also a pandemic achievement that ended (in this case, pulling the plug amid operational issues and a lease that was about to expire).
Michel says he plans to stay in Las Vegas, drawing on his background in entertainment marketing. Michel is a former MTV and AMC marketing strategist, and was with the Nevada Ballet Theater before he and Robinson took on The Vegas Room challenge.
We will hear from Michel again, soon, in Las Vegas, even as the future of The Vegas Room and Nevada Room buildings is uncertain.
Michel was inspired by a well-known Broadway show to merge his feelings.
“It’s like ‘For Now,’ from Avenue Q,” said the Vegas entertainment visionary. “Nothing lasts. Life goes on, full of surprises.
A throw from Stoney
A Cool Hang is in sight with Stoney’s North 40 moving into Santa Fe Station, likely by January. This is all part of the hotel’s overall refurbishment, including Chrome Showroom. Huge market in this area.
The Strat strut
One show that exceeded expectations is the circus-style topless “Red” at the Strat Theater. I saw a full dress rehearsal and opening night, enjoying the second much more than the first. But some very discriminated types of Vegas entertainment have seen the spectacle recently and are raving about it. I hear now that an international version of the series is in development, under the direction of Vegas entertainment pros.
Overall, the lineup at this venue is solid, spinning the “Illuminate” LED dance show, by Banachek “Mind Games” mentalist production (celebrating its first anniversary this week) and seductive magician xavier Mortimer. And we have to ask, “Sammy? You there ? » while waiting for the return of the Red Rocker Samy Hagar This winter.
cool hang alert
CHA Hall of Fame Kenny Davidson it’s tinkling the ivory — tinkling, I tell you! — at Don’t Tell Mama’s in Neonopolis at 8 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Closing at 2:30 a.m. on Wednesdays, 3:30 a.m. on Saturdays. Stay for the whole show. I dare you. No cover, ever, at Mama’s. But no more pizza. The little oven that could is also a victim of the pandemic.
John Katsilometes’ column airs daily in Section A. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at [email protected] Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.