Magic Mike Live turns the tables
Few Las Vegas entertainers have had an experience on the level of Lyndsay Hailey’s. The emcee of Magic Mike Live at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino is in a power position among the mostly male dancers of Club Domina, calling them out and spurring them on to drive the mostly female audience members into a pheromonal frenzy. “Empowered position” might be a more accurate description for Hailey’s role as well as the audience’s experience, however. “I think we set a tone of, ‘We’re going to respect the women,’ and then the women in turn respect what’s going on,” says Hailey. “It’s a mutual admiration society and I think that’s really cool.”
Inspired by director Steven Soderbergh’s 2012 film Magic Mike and its 2015 sequel,Magic Mike Live was conceived by film franchise star Channing Tatum, and co-directed by Tatum and choreographer Alison Faulk. Tatum was directly involved through the writing process and previews, returning every few months to check on things and sometimes make personal appearances to near-riotous receptions.
“They measured the decibels of the room during the opening when Channing was there, and the pitch of the women’s screams,” says Hailey, recalling how she was told the volume was comparable to a jet engine’s. “Your ears could bleed.”
Hailey, a seasoned improv comedian, described the audition process for Magic Mike Live as more intense than her tryout for Saturday Night Live. Hired in January, she was subsequently invited to co-write the script, allowing her to both provide a woman’s perspective and develop her alpha female character.
Tatum had deeply researched male revue culture in advance of the first film, and sought direct feedback from women via questionnaires about their tastes and what they’d like to see in a show. “That’s one of the most beautiful things about him,” says Hailey. “He was like ‘I can’t write it. I’m a guy. As much as I want to understand, I’m a guy. It has to come from a female.’”
That advice led to the casting of a diverse troupe of gentlemanly if provocative dancers for the 360-degree, bi-level venue. The narrative loosely follows the blooming of a rookie dancer as the Magic men engage in an assortment of routines, including live music performances and dances from the films.
Women are given ample supplies of in-house currency for dollar showers, and are brought onstage at times to participate more directly. The atmosphere can be rambunctious, but it’s a rare occasion that a crowd member gets so overheated that they need to be escorted out. Wardrobe malfunctions, intentional or unintentional, are a more frequent occurrence.
“It can get pretty wild, mostly on behalf of the audience,” says Hailey.
“The guys have a protocol that they have to respect. That’s a very serious thing, because we’re considered a dance revue, not a strip show. There’s definite rules we have to adhere to as far as physical touch is concerned.”
Hard Rock Hotel, 8 & 10:30 p.m. Wed.-Sun., starting at $49 plus tax and fee, 18+. 800.745.3000 Ticketmaster