Do Sammy Proud

BROADWAY SHOWSTOPPERS at Sammy’s Showroom,

Harrah’s Reno August 18, 2014


about BROADWAY SHOWSTOPPERS (Harrah’s website)

Greg Thompson, who has produced more shows in the fabled Sammy’s Showroom at Harrah’s Reno than any other producer, will return this summer with an updated version to his long running hit show “Broadway Showstoppers”. Thompson, who calls the Sammy’s Showroom, “the best showroom in the business,” has produced over 600 shows throughout the world over his 40 year career. “Broadway Showstoppers” has won the “Show of the Year” in Atlantic City, Biloxi, Reno and Lake Tahoe and was inducted into the “Broadway Round Table Hall of Fame”.
“Broadway Showstoppers” was first produced in 1978 and has played throughout the country for more than 35 years. The show was the first of many shows Thompson produced for Harrah’s Reno beginning in 1991 and “Showstoppers” was brought back to Harrah’s in 1998 and again in 2005. Each time Thompson gives the show a new twist by adding current Broadway hits to the mix of classic Broadway blockbusters. “We will still pay tribute to the classic musicals from the Golden Age of Broadway like “West Side Story”, “Guys & Dolls”, “Grease”, “Chicago” and “Cabaret”, said Thompson, “but we will also be performing the hits from the hottest shows on Broadway today. The hits from Mamma Mia, Motown, Carole King’s “Beautiful”, “Jersey Boys”, “Rock of Ages”, Million Dollar Quartet and more!”

MY TAKE: Wow! Whatta show. The curtain rose to a grizzled fifty-something stage manager chomping a (fake) cigar and admonishing actors lounging at the back of the stage to get their act together. He proceeded to turn to us and tell stories about why they weren’t ready for the show — it’s Monday… we’re closed Monday — he came down the steps at the front of the stage to kibbutz with the audience and warm us up. Soon, two women in tight black dresses were at a dressing rack — rear stage left — fiddling with tidying their costumes. The stage manager was talking of great shows of the past — Sammy is Sammy Davis Jr. who played this room many times — and the Broadway shows that had passed through here. CABARET, for one — he broke into the “Welcome” song in German and was joined by the two women. They sang and danced their way through selected Cabaret numbers and the stage manager noted a well known Broadway story of Romeo and Juliet, set to music by Leonard Bernstein and two men wearing black jackets with JETS in white letters across the back joined the women.

“When you’re a JET
you’re a JET all the way
from you’re first cigarette
to you’re last dying day…”

Now, we have five actors, all with Broadway voices, Broadway dance moves and Broadway looks performing Broadway Showstoppers. And we’re in the FRONT ROW.

I was agonizing over what to do for Carol’s Birthday on Thursday when the Arts section appears in the RGJ. That’s it! ! ! Broadway Showstoppers. I got tickets for Monday August 18 in the VIP section of Sammy’s Showroom at Harrah’s Reno. Planned to do the buffet around 6:30, then the show at 8. Well, anytime you go to a show, or dinner or whatever at a Casino, the first thing to do is get a “locals” card (for out of towners, its called a players card. Good for a discount on the Buffet, at least… and in this case, complementary Showroom tickets. “Show it to the Box Office, they’ll refund your money spent on line and give you new tickets.” What did I know?

Harrah’s Carvings Buffet is pretty good. Good food, good variety, not noisy, a guy promptly serving drinks and picking up dirty dishes and the place is very clean with a clientele a cut above your bargain buffet. And restrooms are easy to find, commodious and clean.

When we gave our show tickets to the Maitre’d at the showroom, he took us to seats in the middle of the General Admission section. I looked surprised and mentioned that I bought VIP tickets on line, but when my “locals” card allowed me comp tickets, I traded them in, I thought for equal tickets. He allowed as how they weren’t packed and maybe he could do something for me and escorted us down through the VIP section to the FRONT ROW CENTER.

Carol — front and center — about 20 minutes before the show… the room eventually filled up.

I know he didn’t expect it, but I gave him ten bucks.

Great show and Great Evening. Everybody at Harrah’s seems enthusiastic about their interaction with customers. And not only that, they gave us a “locals” parking pass to their garage which happens to be right next to Aces Ballpark.

Harrah’s is a grand Discovery.

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