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A&E

Interview Issue: Scott Zeiger

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Photo: Jacob Kepler

Scott Zeiger

Co-chief executive officer, BASE Entertainment

Interviewed June 22 at the Phantom Theatre at The Venetian

One of your shows is Peepshow at Planet Hollywood. Holly Madison just started in that show.

It is an interesting evolution of the show. We launched the show with two celebrities, Mel B. and Kelly Monaco. But it was always our intention to have only one star, so to speak, as a point of differentiation between us and other shows in our genre. The adult genre doesn’t usually have celebrities. So we chose to have a celebrity in the show to set us apart for launch. And it just worked out for launch that we had two interesting people to go with. So the evolution of the show now is to just go with Holly as our celebrity spokesperson, so to speak. I hope every 12 to 16 weeks we will have a new celebrity in the show who will sort of reawaken the critical press and potential ticket-buyers. We are building a brand with Peepshow, and that is an interesting exercise. Phantom, Jersey Boys and Wayne Brady came to this market pre-established. But what is Peepshow? Having a celebrity gets us there.

What has surprised you most about producing a show in the Vegas market compared to Broadway?

I think that on a national level for a long time a lot of people thought that the Las Vegas audience had a very short attention span. It had to be short, and it had to be fast, and it did not have to be of the highest quality. The view was that people wanted to fill their time with eating, retail, gaming, going to the pool and maybe a business meeting or a spa and at most maybe squeeze a show in there. So, to be frank, the biggest surprise is the taste of the Las Vegas audiences are every bit as refined as Broadway, London or Los Angeles.

What is your favorite thing to do here?

I like to exercise at the spas here. I like to eat here.

Do you have a favorite restaurant?

I should say one of the restaurants here at the Venetian. But I have to go with Michael Mina over at Bellagio. I love their desserts.

What has changed most in your job as show producer in Vegas over the past few years?

I think the economy has changed the most. Look around here in the Phantom Theatre. This is an extraordinarily lush production, and it costs a fortune to operate. And while we just celebrated our third anniversary, we are doing the same number of [customers] as we did last year. But the average price of a ticket has diminished somewhat. Everyone in Las Vegas is looking for a deal.

What have you never done in Vegas?

Honestly, I have never driven a car here. I love driving my car. But I have never driven a car here once, not one time. I have been coming here every other week for the last five years regularly.

With the home real estate being so cheap now, and all of these shows you do on the Strip, I am surprised you don’t own a home here.

The hotels take really good care of me. If I brought you upstairs and showed you where I was staying now, then you would understand. It is nicer than any home. My room in this hotel is 4,500 square feet with four bedrooms and a complete gym and a karaoke den. I have a full kitchen and a masseuse table in a separate room. I don’t use all this space. And if I am staying at Planet Hollywood, Robert Earl takes just as good care of me.

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