Monday, June 7, 2021 | 2 a.m
After renovating the wholesale resort totaling more than $ 100 million and back to operating at full capacity, the Strat is now focused on one of the most important and exciting ways to attract Las Vegas visitors – live entertainment.
Last week, the North Strip Resort, known for its 1,149-foot tower of rides and Top of the World restaurant, announced a strategic partnership with SPI Entertainment to build the Strat Theater, a classic 600-seat Vegas showroom, in which currently the Michael Jackson musical tribute production “MJ Live”.
“It is arguably one of the best showrooms in Las Vegas,” said SPI founder and CEO Adam Steck. “I think it was built for Danny Gans and was the starting point for him, and it was also the home of ‘American Superstars’ and the Claire Sinclaire show ‘Pin-Up’ as well as Frankie Moreno’s show and of course ‘MJ Live’ . ‘It’s beautiful and a bit of the old Vegas style with its banquets and cabaret tables in front of the stage, and the lines of sight are amazing. “
For years, SPI has been operating the Thunderland Showroom with 425 seats in Excalibur South on the Strip in cooperation with MGM Resorts. This room was renovated and modernized in 2019. It currently hosts the long-running men’s revue “Thunder From Down Under” and another musical tribute, “The Australian Bee Gees Show,” and comedy magician Mac King will open on June 22nd after moving from Harrah’s in Thunderland.
SPI has also produced strip headlining residences for Boyz II Men and Human Nature, Mike Tyson’s limited engagement “Undisputed Truth,” and several other Vegas shows.
Stephen Thayer, Strat’s general manager, said it was the right company to turn the resort into a true live entertainment destination, especially now that many travelers are returning to Las Vegas after the pandemic.
“Changes to entertainment were always part of the plan as we made this amazing transformation across the property and we are thrilled to be working with Adam and SPI Entertainment,” said Thayer. “All over our property, we are seeing things recover and return to the pre-COVID numbers, and there is something of the Roaring Twenties feeling there. People want to feel how Vegas used to feel. They want entertainment and want to get away from where they lived last year, so it’s an exciting time to be where we are. “
First, Steck said, some renovations will be made to the 7,790-square-foot theater to improve sound and lighting, background amenities for incoming artists, and add modern technology like LED screens on the walls. But he’s determined to keep the classic Vegas feel of the room.
Talks have started with the producers of “MJ Live” to see if things will continue there after 2021. Either way, different types of shows will land at the Strat Theater in the coming months.
“We really have a huge variety of entertainment that we’d like to offer and the goal is to have resident shows all year round, much like the others we do around town,” said Steck. “We also want to spice it up with some headliners to add some weight to the space and get it better known, and we know we can put on some decent names.”
Australian vocal quartet Human Nature officially closed their show at the Venetian in June after the pandemic disrupted the group’s four-year run in the 742-seat Sands showroom. Considering the act has made headlines in Las Vegas for 11 years and has an international audience, it could be a natural addition to the Strat Theater.
Steck didn’t specifically say if Human Nature would be considered for a residency show at the Strat, but said anything is possible. It is very likely that there will be some new shows as well.
“It’s all about timing,” he said. “As a theater producer in Las Vegas, I always think about shows and plan where to go. I have a lot of concepts that I think would go great with the Strat. “
Beyond the theater, Thayer also confirmed last week’s closure announcement of “Celestia,” the circus-like production that opened in May 2019 in a 30,000-square-foot tent outside the northern part of the Strat. He said the current plans are to remove the tent soon. It is uncertain whether “Celestia” is looking for a new home in Las Vegas.