All hail Las Vegas’ entertainment queen
Anthona McNeil offers wise counsel to those who dream of stardom.
Las Vegas has long been considered the world’s entertainment capital, with a who’s who of legendary entertainers — Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Nancy Wilson, Redd Foxx, Dorothy Dandridge, and the Fifth Dimension, just to mention a few — laying the foundation for a new age of success that defines the city of bright lights.
While Strip entertainment is largely defined by internationally-recognized talents — Cirque du Soleil and pop star residencies now reign where the Rat Pack once ruled — Las Vegas’ homegrown performance scene remains a vibrant part of the city’s cultural landscape. African-American entertainers have proven especially resilient, in the face of a difficult history that included segregation and other exclusionary practices.
Today, that legacy is embodied by Anthona McNeil — Las Vegas’ self-proclaimed queen of entertainment. She has worked on or promoted top events that include the City of Lights Jazz Festival and BET Awards. McNeil is also grooming entertainers to perform in Japan, with auditions for the next overseas booking due to be held Feb. 15, 2016.
With more than a decade in the business of entertainment promotion, McNeil has grown accustomed to guiding artists through the byzantine world of show business.
“I call the up-and-coming entertainment artists I help to promote in Las Vegas my ‘entertainment children,’” she said. “I am an entertainment promoter, and I help build brands for superstar success.”
Many aspiring professional entertainers arrive in Las Vegas every day, hoping for immediate stardom. It doesn’t always happen that quickly, so we asked McNeil for some essential tips for making it big:
• It is very difficult to find entertainment work in Las Vegas. New talents must be aware that many entertainers are looking for work in the same places.
• Entertainers must think outside the box, and be willing to move around in order to be noticed by the right people.
• The biggest mistake that new Las Vegas entertainers make is lack of preparation. You must have electronic press kits and current headshots.
• Big misconception: you can come to Vegas and immediately become rich and famous as an entertainer. There are no overnight successes, and there is not a lot of payment involved, initially — even if you secure booking at a Las Vegas venue.
• Come to Las Vegas with financial savings, and have something to fall back on if you aren’t immediately hired as an entertainer.
• Understand that you may have to get a “regular” job to pay the bills before being hired as an entertainer.
• Have a passion for the work, and be ready to do what you have to do to maintain a life in Vegas.
• Be patient, and understand the importance of caring for yourself financially before being hired as an entertainer.
• Have a professional package that entertainment directors are accustomed to reviewing.
• You have to be able to entertain an audience, and encourage them to buy drinks and food at the location you are working.
• Your followers can’t label themselves supporters if they come to see you perform, and order a glass of water instead of a cocktail.
• Entertainment directors are looking for crisp, clean, solid bands that have been performing together consistently.
• If you consider four-walling a location to perform in, remember that you are responsible for all expenses — including advertising.
For more information, contact Anthona McNeil at (702) 204-7412 or visit www.The-A-List.com