Out of the spotlight: A look at the behind-the-scenes workers at Stateline casinos | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Out of the spotlight: A look at the behind-the-scenes workers at Stateline casinos

Phillip L. Sublett

Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Kenny Gray, lighting director at Caesars Tahoe, programs the stage lights in the showroom for an upcoming weekend show.

While visitors to South Shore casinos may be dazzled by the blinking lights and the celebrity performers, there is a lot of hard work that goes on behind the scenes, of which the average customer may not be aware.

Each casino has employees in security, food and beverage, maintenance and other departments who keep the business running smoothly.

According to Sheila Hogan, the Lakeside Inn and Casino’s personnel manager, the casino’s 350 staff members include 14 in the security department, 40 on the kitchen staff, and 40 on the maintenance staff.

For live entertainment, Harrah’s and Harveys have a stage crew of 20 full-time technicians, said Emily Myers of Harrah’s/Harveys public relations. These include three sound engineers, a wardrobe attendant, and other lighting, stage and video technicians.

Every week at The Improv comedy club inside Harveys, manager Howie Nave must line up new comedians to perform each Tuesday through Sunday. Nave arranges for the performers’ rooms, meals and transportation to and from the airport, in addition to sending out publicity materials for each week’s new acts.

If a comedian needs special props, such as a piano, or musical cues for an act, Nave will contact Harveys backstage manager Butch Austin to make arrangements before the first performance.

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Depending on the size of The Improv’s audience on a given night, there can be from two to five workers on the cocktail staff, two or three to seat the audience and two or three box office workers outside the club.

Nave works hard to make Tahoe an attractive destination for touring comedians.

“The comics love coming up here because it is Tahoe, and also because I have perks set up for them as well,” said Nave. “I like to make The Improv up here a Club Med, if you will, for the comics who are on the road. … We are booked up through November as it is!”