Smoke & Mirrors Cabaret is a blast in Hard Rock’s Vinyl

Tahoe Onstage

Smoke & Mirrors is presented at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Lake Tahoe on Fridays and Saturdays.

Like the marquee reveals, the new Hard Rock show has “Smoke & Mirrors.” But there are spark blasters, too. “Smoke & Mirrors Cabaret” will be performed at 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays in the Vinyl showroom this winter at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Lake Tahoe. It is the third residency adult production at the venue, and the shows typically sell out.

“We’ve really found a niche for this room,” said producer Dreu Murin, who was testing a new production element during the final rehearsal before last week’s opening.

“The cold-spark generators add a little bit of flare, edginess and fun,” he said.

“It’s a rock ‘n’ roll cabaret dance show,” said Dana Nott a cast member and vice president of operations. Nott grew up next door to the venue in Zephyr Cove, where she was a ski racer.

“Just to do the quick changes, you have to be an athlete,” she said. “We have awesome dancers, aerialists and smoke machines. And we have a hilarious host.”

Tahoe Onstage

That would be Allie Espinosa, who goes by the stage name Vivian. Espinosa joined last summer at the tale end of the Volume Burlesque run. She also was the host for a Halloween production, Zombie Cabaret Theater. Vivian has a larger-than-life persona onstage. And she’s bigger than the other females in the show. When she comes on stage, a murmur resonates though the crowd.

“My body type doesn’t fit the cookie cutter mold,” Espinosa said. “I’ve been told “no” a lot in my career.”

Espinosa has a penchant for improvisational comedy, where audience participation is a big part of the show.

“I have a boring corporate job by day and this fulfills my life,” she said. “I get to be an inappropriate, vulgar version of myself.”

A professional dancer for 12 years, Kooper Vanworth is one of the two men in the seven-member cast

“The biggest challenge is to learn every new dance but to make your own but still fit in with the cast and routine,” he said.

Rock, contemporary and Motown music is featured throughout the production.

“This is more sultry and a little more mysterious,” Hardrock spokeswoman Brandie Warr said. “High energy with high taste for all ages, after 21. Most of it is classic rock and roll, but they throw in some of the new stuff. Every show is different.”

Tickets are $20 per person and Backstage Pass holders receive $5 off. Tickets are available for purchase at the Rock Shop or online at

— Tim Parsons

  • Smoke & Mirrors Cabaret
    When: 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through March 30
    Where: Vinyl, Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Lake Tahoe
    Must be: 21 years old
    Tickets: $20 and $25

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About Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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