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    Posted April 24, 2014

Mamma Mia! Heads West Again

By Josh Austin

Of the millions of people who travel to Las Vegas to have fun, Jeff Norman is there to work.

Just coming off of an eight-month stint as the Production Stage Manager for the national tour of Chicago, Norman is excited to be working on his home turf yet again — taking on a position that he held once before as the PSM for Mamma Mia!

The ABBA hit, which had its first run in Vegas from 2003 until 2009 at the Mandalay Bay

Stage Managers Chris Childs (left), Melanie Katz and Jeff Norman will return to their hometown for the all new production of Mamma Mia!, which is set to open this May at the Tropicana Las Vegas on the strip.

Hotel & Casino, will make its second Sin City debut at the newly renovated Tropicana, under a three-year Special Agreement based on the Casino Contract this May.

The contract, which governs salary, benefits and work rules, as well as jobs for three stage managers, is based on a seven-show week. Additionally, a relocation allowance has been offered to members of the production.

Las Vegas has been a challenge for Equity theatre on the strip. As the union learns more, Equity continues to improve contracts for Vegas.

“We have a show that’s been around for a quite a while and it’s been successful for our members, and it’s going to continue being successful for our members,” said Flora Stamatiades, National Director, Organizing & Special Projects.

For Norman, Mamma Mia’s return to Vegas means Equity standards are making more of an impact in Vegas entertainment.

“The whole market out here used to have very transient opportunities,” Norman said. “I’m really glad that this show is Equity given the nature of entertainment and non-union positions here. It’s really nice to have the Equity presence for the working conditions, things that are covered from pension to health care benefits that, unless you work as a hotel employee, you don’t really get.”

And, with a continual, strong growth of AEA presence in Vegas, Norman noted that it has been great to meet and work with numerous other Equity members as productions in the area take on AEA contracts — as well as provide employment opportunities for Equity actors living in the area.

This current production of the popular show features, not only alumni from previous versions, but AEA members from Vegas and L.A. as well as across the nation.
“It’s encouraging that casinos have faith in sit-down productions like Mamma Mia!” Norman said. “A lot of very talented Equity members have decided to make Vegas home. It’s so much nicer to be able to work and be working on an Equity contract that’s here in Vegas.”

After all, as Norman pointed out, “It’s nice to be able to sit down at home.”

The new cast and crew of the Tropicana Las Vegasí Mamma Mia!


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