Friday, January 08, 2016

Opening Night In Las Vegas

Before going into the show, I had practiced for a solid year, a minimum of 3 hours a day.  I also recorded myself a huge amount in those sessions.  I eventually had a tape that didn't make me throw up when I heard myself, went to the producer/choreographer of a show my wife, Sheree, was in, and she hired me on the spot when she heard the tape. 

She did make me audition in front of the cast and crew.  I sang "Night And Day" by Cole Porter and they went totally wild.  They said I was better than the Sinatra impersonator who was in the early show (there were three shows running there's now called the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino).  Much of the cast were dancers.  If you haven't been in a show, the dancers think that they are the show and everyone else is not.  That made the compliments and applause mean even more.

The owner at the time, Bob Stupak, was a sort of tough guy, who hated entertainers, I was told.  The first night of the show, the stage manager came backstage to where I was.  I did the announcing and also assisted with other acts, paging the curtain for them.  So, the stage manager said, "Do you see that booth in front at center stage?" I looked through the curtain and said, "Yes."  She said, "That is Mr. Stupak's booth.  No one else sits there.  He's going to be there tonight and if he doesn't like you, it will be your last night."  I thanked her for the heads up. 

I thought to myself that if he didn't like me then he's stupid.  I knew I was ready.  Still you don't want to hear that before opening night.  People don't say good luck or even break a leg anymore.   They say "Merde!" which is French for shit.  So, I got more than a fair share of merde before walking onto that huge stage the first night.  Oh yes.  He did like me and every time after that I saw him in his casino he spoke to me or waved if we were far apart.