Scott Zeiger is busier than you are. In Las Vegas alone, the superstar producer’s company, BASE Entertainment, just opened Rock of Ages and is about to open Million Dollar Quartet, while simultaneously juggling productions of the critically acclaimed Jersey Boys, as well as the saucier shows Peepshow, with new headliner Coco (Austin, wife of rapper Ice T), and Absinthe, a cult favorite. And then there are the two theaters he operates in Singapore at the Marina Bay Sands Resort and all of his work in New York.
But Zeiger is not one to be overwhelmed; in fact, bringing Rock of Ages and Jersey Boys to Sin City is the culmination of a long-held dream. “We’ve been on the creators’ radar since the day these shows opened,” he says. “We’ve been imploring and begging them to bring their shows here.”
It’s a new day for the Broadway-to-Vegas tradition, which has had some bumps over the years. One of the bigger success stories: Phantom of the Opera, which enjoyed a “spectacular” run in its Vegas incarnation at Venetian, thanks to Zeiger and business partner Brian E. Becker, Zeiger’s co-CEO at BASE Entertainment.
For the two newest additions to their lineup, expect the magic of the Great White Way, but with a Sin City twist, of course. At Venetian, where Rock of Ages premiered January 5, the whole center bar has been renamed the Bourbon Room, which is the setting for the musical. “They play ’80s hair-band music on their video screens,” Zeiger says. “You can’t get that in New York!”
As for Million Dollar Quartet, which opened in February, Zeiger is hoping to expose a whole new generation to the soulful tunes of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins. “The show is about that seminal moment when they met at Sun Studio in Memphis [on December 4, 1956],” he says. “It embraces their youthful spirits and rockabilly roots. My 22-year-old son went kicking and screaming, thinking he was going to see a nostalgia show. But he walked out and said, ‘Oh my God, I loved it. Those guys rocked!’” The production, which will have a home at Harrah’s, even has a stage that complements the vibe of the musical. “It’s a very clubby, cool theater,” Zeiger says, “an old-school showroom, if you will.”
Even with productions all over the world, Zeiger still sees the wonder in launching a new venture. “The opening night of every show is like the birth of a new child,” he says. “The curtain opens, everyone in the theater is in their seats, and you’re watching that stage. It’s pretty exciting.”