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‘DiscoShow’ at center of Spiegelworld-Caesars $75M deal

Spiegelworld, the scrappy production troupe that landed in Vegas 10 years ago, announced Thursday a $75 million partnership with Caesars Entertainment to create new shows in Las Vegas for Caesars Atlantic City and Caesars Palace in New Orleans over the next two years.

Best known for its runaway, raunchy hit “Absinthe” performed in a tent outside Caesars Palace on the Strip, the performance company also will open “DiscoShow” at Linq Hotel’s Glitterloft, inside the former Imperial Palace sportsbook in December 2022.

“We’ve had an unbelievable relationship for over a decade, here at Caesars Palace,” Caesars Entertainment President and CEO Anthony Carano said. “‘Absinthe’ has played to more than 2½ million fans, sellout after sellout, night after night in the city of entertainment. It’s a special feat … It’s a monumental day for Caesars Entertainment.”

Spiegelworld founder and “impresario” Ross Mollison stood beside Carano for the announcement at Beijing Noodle No. 9 inside Caesars, the restaurant where Mollison first met with executives from Eldorado Resorts, which acquired Caesars last July.

That meeting was arranged by Caesars Entertainment executive Gary Selesner, who called Mollison while he was “sitting at home in Brooklyn with three closed shows” early in the pandemic.

“It was not a call I was expecting to take,” Mollison said.

The meeting went well, and the conversation continued.

The new “DiscoShow” will be the fourth Spiegelworld production to run in Las Vegas, joining flagship “Absinthe” at Caesars Palace, the recently reopened “Opium” at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and “Atomic Saloon Show” at Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian.

The new show will incorporate five walls of LED, the cast and audience surrounded by advanced video mapping in an upscale nightclub. The venue is high (originally in a stadium design), covering two levels, ideal for a club-themed production.

Long before its glittering announcement, “DiscoShow” debuted in New York City’s East Village in August 2018, then-titled “We Are Here.” In that showcase, the fictional character Åke Blomqvist (based on an actual Finnish dance teacher who died eight years ago) performed a comic tutorial through such dances as “The Hustle.”

Several Caesars Entertainment execs, including Selesner and the company’s president of entertainment, Jason Gastwirth, made the trip and grooved it up.

“I knew then it would be a hit,” Mollison said.

And Mollison’s sense for knowing a hit when he sees one has been proven many times over in Las Vegas.

After all, he said, “Absinthe” was on the 20-yard line of the Strip, on a piece of concrete nobody wanted.

“Then we built the tent, and it became a hit from there,” Mollison said. “If that was the 20-yard-line, this is the 22-yard line. I don’t know if that’s a football term. But I’m looking forward to going to the Raiders soon.”

After “DiscoShow” launches, Spiegelworld will move toward opening a yet-to-be-titled show at Caesars Atlantic City, at a new venue that will use the facade of Warner Theater on the Boardwalk, which was built in 1929. That show is due to open in the first quarter of 2023.

“Spiegelworld’s arrival in Atlantic City will help to reaffirm the city’s reputation as an entertainment destination for the entire East Coast and beyond,” said a company statement.

Then it’s on to Caesars Palace New Orleans for another show to premiere in 2024. Both productions will be new Spiegelworld titles, so such already announced shows as the new “Vegas Nocturne” and “Heroes” are not being planned.

Mollison also said he “hasn’t worked out” how food and beverage would work in any of the new shows, as he’s just premiered a food-and-entertainment combo with Superfrico and “Opium” at the Cosmopolitan.

Though Spiegelworld is expanding its reach and growing as a company, it has resisted a corporate tenor and maintained its sharp wit.

The Gazillionaire of “Absinthe” showed up to the Thursday announcement event, late, just as the assembled execs were about to toast, saying, “Sorry, I was sleeping in the car … Let’s raise a glass to Ross, and to this guy, who looks like a mannequin who has been turned into a human who makes big decisions.”

Carano had to laugh. It’s the Spiegelworld way.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Dr. Miriam Adelson, the majority shareholder of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Las Vegas Sands operates The Venetian.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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