A Theatre of Varieties Invades Las VegasNovember 15, 2012 By: Steve Lewis
Simon Hammerstein has taken New York City by storm. He is the president of The Box on New York’s Lower East Side and London. The Box revitalized a stagnant NY nightlife. Although many of the acts were too risqué to describe in a family periodical they helped define an edge of nightlife when most operators were content with promoting the middle of the road. For a long time, nightlife influenced fashion; pushed music to its inevitably and was the catalyst for social change.
The success of The Box both critically and financially marked a return of the good guys, the creatives, to nightlife. Simon Hammerstein is a partner along with Murtara Akbar and Randy Weiner in Variety Worldwide and has now taken his "theatre of varieties" and shock and awe style of nightlife to a city that doesn’t shock and awe easily - Las Vegas.
The Act opened at the Shoppes at The Palazzo on Friday, October 26th. The space can hold about a thousand patrons in its 9,600 square foot multi-level confines. Hammerstein says “The ACT will introduce a quality of nightlife never before witnessed on The Strip. Guests will lose themselves, and their inhibitions, from the moment they pass through our storied doors, with time and place gradually losing their meaning and the lines becoming increasingly blurred as to where the performances end and the party begins.”
The Shoppes where high end brands like Diane von Furstenberg, Chloé, Christian Louboutin, Michael Kors, Tory Burch, Thomas Pink, Jimmy Choo, Ralph Lauren, Burberry and Piaget sell their wares. Hammerstein is selling something else - his return to Variety Theatre, an art form nearly dormant for a century. In addition to these endeavors Simon sits on the Board of Directors for Only Make Believe a nonprofit that "provides theatrical workshops to children living with chronic illnesses and disabilities".
Nightclub Confidential caught up with Simon Hammerstein and asked him about The Act:
Nightclub Confidential (NCC): What can one expect at The ACT?
Simon Hammerstein: The ACT is a nonstop entertainment party. The shows begin the minute you arrive and go on until well after you leave. As far as the décor, we’ve included parts of a German cathedral, parts of a New York bank and parts of an old saloon to craft a kind of modern-day, folk-art interpretation of the coolest club we could.
NCC: Where do you find the inspiration for your projects, The ACT and The Box?
Hammerstein: Our inspiration changes nightly at each venue, depending on who’s in the show and who’s in the crowd. We really break the fourth wall, invading our guests’ space and seeing how they react so that we can push the performance to the next level.
NCC: Why Vegas?
Hammerstein: Vegas is a great town for partying, with a great nightlife scene. I’ve always wanted to be a part of it. People really like to party here, so I imagine we’ll be able to stay open later and party harder. It’s a real honor and I’m very proud to be here.
NCC: Who are the Hammerstein Beauties?
Hammerstein: The Hammerstein Beauties are my troupe of dancers – classically trained with an Avant-garde twist, very unconventionally glamorous.
NCC: What's next for you and the brand?
Hammerstein: We’re looking at several locations globally, with plans in action for a new performance-based nightlife concept in Dubai.
NCC: What's the most inexcusable thing you wanted to do?
Hammerstein: Nothing to is "too inexcusable”
NCC: What's your idea of a fun night out?
Hammerstein: The Act!