Dana Foglia, the choreographer behind Beyonce’s “Formation” video and 2009’s “I AM…” world tour, will bring her signature moves to Las Vegas with the New Year’s Eve opening of Mayfair Supper Club at Bellagio.
A departure from the city’s megaclubs, Mayfair is positioned as a classic American restaurant with an immersive theatrical element, featuring a 360-degree stage that raises and lowers, showcasing performances from all angles. As the evening progresses, the tempo of the performers and music does as well, creating a spectacle within the restaurant. Mayfair is inspired by Jazz-era supper clubs from the 1920s.
In an exclusive interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Foglia says that the appeal of working on something completely untested, fresh and new was what engaged her.
“It’s quite different than any type of show that I’ve done,” says Foglia, who has previously worked in Las Vegas with Jennifer Lopez and Mariah Carey. “At Mayfair, we go through different generations of music. You’re getting a mix of everyone’s taste and flavor throughout the night. There’s a comedic element. There’s an interactive element.”
She says a dozen or so performers — dancers, singers and musicians — will round out the entertainment.
“From the time you’re going to walk in at any given point, you’re going to be given an experience. It will be cool for anyone that comes back too, as they will enter at a different point and see something completely different the next time,” Foglia says.
The choreographer is one part of the creative team, assembled by producer No Ceilings Entertainment, with offices in L.A., N.Y.C. and Las Vegas, envisioning immersive experiences, ranging from digital media, video and live stage productions to concert tours, content creation and activations. Founders Dennis Jauch, Kim Willecke and Phil Shaw have worked on television and live shows all over the world, including America’s Got Talent and The X-Factor, as well as live performances by artists such as Leona Lewis and European pop phenomenon Helene Fischer.
Mayfair’s creators include musical director Jean-Francois Thibeault; Charlie Le Mindu, who designed the giant lip wig for Lady Gaga in her “Bad Romance” video; Nicky and Laetitia, directors and writers of One Night for One Drop and performers in Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity; and makeup artist Romero Jennings, director of makeup for M.A.C. Cosmetics, whose credits include “We are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial” (2009).
Willecke references the mothership of all immersive theater, New York City’s Sleep No More, when describing the structure of Mayfair.
“I remember when I went to Sleep No More, I was a little scared, because I didn’t know what’s going to happen. Maybe an actor pulls you to the side and then you experience something super cool and unique. It is only you who has this experience at that time of night. We really want to create these immersive exclusive moments,” he says. “We have a narrative, we have a relationship between our characters, we have a relationship to the space. We have storylines, we have creative moments and scenes. Sometimes you get it, maybe sometimes you don’t, but I think that keeps it interesting.”
Mayfair’s showcase will vary by night and will be completely refreshed every three months.
“If you come in on a regular week day, you experience a show that will be different from a Friday and Saturday,” Jauch says. “Friday and Saturday, Mayfair will go on until 3 a.m. We are now including an entire nightlife segment into this. And then if you’re coming on a Sunday, that’s when we have our Mayfair jazz — a very sophisticated evening.”
Jauch says he hopes that performers from other Strip shows will come after work and party, as the vibe changes throughout the night. There will also be a late-night menu.
“I love the old New York nightlife scene and we want to bring a certain fun diversity to nightlife in Las Vegas, where performers and artists, after they’re done with their own shows, hang out and party with everybody. We want to create a fun, colorful night, that it’s not really your regular nightclub,” he says. “You can go on the dance floor, dance with our performers, we also have a DJ, we have live musicians, we have dancers on the bar and hanging from the ceiling, on platforms around. We have a jazz trio that will be there every night, we’ll have our two vocalists, and a dance ensemble of six, and then more on the weekends.”
The team researched shows on the Strip such as Absinthe, Rose. Rabbit. Lie and Atomic Saloon prior to beginning the production process in March.
NoMad bar director Leo Robitschek, who worked on the opening of the Las Vegas iteration of the cocktail lounge, introduced MGM Resorts Events and Nightlife President Sean Christie to No Ceilings, where they directed the talent at the resort’s pool party, Jemma.
Christie knew that the entertainment had to be unsurpassed since Mayfair sits on one of the most prime and most visited locations in the world, directly in front of the Bellagio Fountains.
“How are we going to live up to the promise of what we’re building — because what we’re building is spectacular and it cannot be so overwhelming that you can’t have a meal, because it is a restaurant,” he says. “If you go on a Saturday night at 10 p.m., there’s a certain energy, there’s an electricity in the air. And so the skill is that the mood of that entertainment should follow the tempo of that evening. It should never feel like a place that I have to get here by X time. It should just feel good. Dinner is just the beginning.”