It’s not every day you hear of someone being “huge in the miming industry,” but such is life for a Strip performer.
Inside the Artifice on Monday evening, Co-Op Cabaret on Main is in full swing. The back room’s filled with seats, but it’s so packed that the rest of us stand wedged between one another all the way back to the bar, hoping to get a glimpse of the stage. There’s a lot going on, from live musicians accompanied by dancers and painters, to a stilt-walking scarecrow that ends up in his birthday suit. It’s also where you can see the aforementioned superstar mime, Benedikt Negro of Cirque du Soleil’s O, for free. He’s a Cabaret regular.
Co-Op Cabaret on Main started because Kathleen Langford was tired of waiting for someone else to create the outlet for which she’d been searching. A wardrobe technician at O, Langford launched the Cabaret a year ago (with then-partner Christine Rebich) in the Arts District after longing for a creative hub—“a space where I can just sing my heart out,” she says.
Langford was involved in similar passion projects in Texas, and that experience in performance has helped make the Cabaret a hit. “I used to do cabarets back in San Antonio, where I’m from, and I did a lot of community theater,” she says. “So when I moved to Vegas two years ago, I felt like there needed to be some sort of outlet for performers who are on the Strip.”
Langford says her original twofold goal—to meet fellow artists and to share art among like-minded professionals—has been realized. Co-Op Cabaret on Main just celebrated its first anniversary on November 4 at the Artifice. The event initially launched at Velveteen Rabbit, but it proved so successful it had to move to a larger space.
Other changes are looming, too. Co-founder Rebich decided to step away from producing the show to “redirect” her personal artistry, but will remain connected to the cabaret in other capacities. And as O switches to seven days a week, the Cabaret will also need to restructure. “A lot of my volunteers are from O, so we’re like, ‘Oh, my gosh, what does that mean for us?’” Langford says. As a result, after a hiatus ending in February, Co-Op Cabaret on Main will switch from once a month to once every other month.
“It allows me to sit back and dream about it creatively, [to give] me and my volunteer crew a little bit more time to create a quality show,” Langford says.
When the Cabaret returns early next year, it should be bigger—and, its organizers hope, better than ever before. “[We] just want this for the greater good and for the community,” Langford says. “It’s an awesome team.”