“Le Freaks” will come out at night starting July 27 as Spiegelworld transforms 3535 Las Vegas Blvd. (The LINQ hotel-casino) into the epicenter of four-on-the-floor beats and mirror balls with the debut of Discoshow.
More than four years in the making, Discoshow is the latest spectacle from the Las Vegas show producer that characterizes its style of entertainment as “human circus,” led by wizard of “Oz” Ross Mollison. It joins a compendium of Spiegelworld productions, including Absinthe at Caesars, Atomic Saloon in Venetian and The Hook at Caesars Atlantic City, along with bi-coastal versions of psychedelic Italian-American restaurant Superfrico at The Cosmopolitan and Caesars Atlantic City.
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Mollison believes that Las Vegas audiences will love disco, even if they don’t know it yet. “We’re wired for disco. It goes through into our soul. People also want an excuse to go out and party. So much of what is produced now is so serious,” he says. “Sometimes I just want to go blow it all out and have a party like it’s 1979. That’s what this show is all about.”
Inspired by godfather of dance-music David Mancuso’s legendary New York City “rent” house parties, which began on Valentine’s Day 1970 in his New York City apartment, and later moved to a multi-level space at 99 Prince Street, Discoshow will feature bars, a standing-room-only show and a diner.
Throwing out stodgy theatrical norms like chairs and the fourth wall, the Melbourne-born-and-bred Mollison says that “no one wants to be stuck in a seat that was designed in 1885 for two-and-a-half hours with a sippy cup. I need a damn good reason to sit in a seat for more than 30 minutes.” Instead he proposes that audiences want to drink cocktails, learn the hustle and eat classic New York City diner food among a cast of characters.
Stepping through a tiny keyhole door — located literally at the center of the Strip geographically — and beyond what Mollison has dubbed “Mother’s velvet rope,” disco-goers will be transported back to the ’70s and Mancuso’s 99 Prince, “where New York disco really took hold,” he says. “That’s where [Mancuso] put two record players together so he could play two versions of the same album and make the dance break go on for hours. You’ll hear great music — which some of us will remember — and you’re going to feel the four-on-the-floor beat.”
From there, ascend the stairway to the Glitterloft where Spiegelworld’s mixologist Niko Novick concocts disco-bevs and everyone hangs out before, and after, the show. One of the show’s “disco” characters greets and welcomes guests with an invitation to follow them into their lives, onto the streets and into the club. Be a bystander and just watch, or “shake your groove thang” to “Le Freak,” “Good Times,” “We Are Family,” “Disco Inferno” and “Everybody Dance.”
For Discoshow, Mollison wanted to get the artists closer to the audience and got rid of the traditional stage set up to do so. With a production that heavily relies on a dance vibe, Spiegelworld tapped director Steven Hoggett and choreographer/associate director Yasmine Lee, who have previously teamed on movement direction or choreography for Broadway and London West End productions including Harry Potter and The Cursed Child, Once, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and A Beautiful Noise.
“You will meet characters who were involved in the development of disco from many different perspectives. You get to hang out with them and just feel the love,” Mollison says. ”There’s no Steve Rubell or Bianca Jagger naked on horseback” but audiences will encounter Åke Blomqvist, a dance teacher from Helsinki who has taught everyone in Finland how to ballroom dance. “And then one day, he discovered disco.”
After the 70-minute show, visitors can find their way back to the Glitterloft to keep the party going or Diner Ross where New York diner classics spin into disco-bistro-chic.
Adding a restaurant concept was a no-brainer given the success of Mollison’s restaurant Superfrico across the street at The Cosmopolitan. “It has been an enormous hit — it’s a combination of the right level of entertainment and delicious cuisine. I hate being called a restaurateur because, you know, I feel totally unqualified to do that. But it has been a really fun journey,” he says.
While Diner Ross is not going to take itself seriously, it’s going to take the food seriously and Mollison has been traveling the world from Paris and Montreal to New York and Tokyo gathering references.
“I always harken back to a restaurant in New York City called Florent, which was in the Meatpacking District in the ’80s and it was in an old diner, and I just loved that so much,” he says.
Another inspired relic is the space itself. Discoshow is located inside the former Imperial Palace sportsbook which was walled off in 2014 when the hotel underwent transformation into The LINQ. “It was just a time capsule. I feel remorse having ripped it out. But I’ll get over it. That’s Vegas. They blow up everything great out here and time has to keep moving,” he says.
Spiegelworld continues expanding since entering into a multi-year partnership with Caesars Entertainment to create three live entertainment experiences across the country. The first, The Hook, opened in the summer of 2023 at Caesars Atlantic City. Following the opening of Discoshow, Spiegelworld has its sights set on the development of a third production to open at Caesars New Orleans in 2025. Mollison feels the heat to constantly be innovating in a city that keeps pushing entertainment to the limit.
“[The Sphere is essentially] a $2 billion cinema with 5,000 people watching the movie. The Formula One Grand Prix races down the Strip and in a few weeks time, the Super Bowl will be on here. Vegas just keeps reinventing itself. And if you don’t reinvent yourself here, if you don’t come up with new ideas, those 5,000 people are going to stop coming to your show. You must come with a new idea that doesn’t exist anywhere in the world, that’s going to excite the market,” Mollison says.
Discoshow will play Wednesday to Sunday at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. 99 Prince will be open for cocktails from noon, Wednesday to Sunday (free entry) and Diner Ross serves dinner from 5 p.m., Wednesday to Sunday (reservations recommended).
Tickets for Discoshow go on sale Saturday, Feb. 3 at 10 a.m. at Spiegelworld.com. They will cost $99 including taxes, a steal for the Strip where it’s hard to find a ticket under three digits.
Discoshow is written by Olivier Award-winner Michael Wynne (The Priory) with set and costume design by Tony Award-winner David Zinn (Spongebob Squarepants), lighting design by Olivier Award-winner Natasha Chivers (Sunday in the Park with George), sound design by Olivier Award-winner Tom Gibbons (Ivo van Hove’s West Side Story on Broadway), and projection and video design by Darrel Maloney (American Idiot).
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