Jennifer Romas, Jennifer Romas 2020

Beguiling and Bold: Jennifer Romas, Headliner/Producer of Sexxy: The Show at the Westgate Resort and Casino in Las Vegas on Pandemic’s Devastating Effect on Entertainment Community

Since the middle of March, most people in the Las Vegas entertainment community have not been back to work, owing to the coronavirus pandemic. From the stars on stage to the production assistants, ticket takers, and ushers, among others, it has been a challenging time.

To speak about the current state of the entertainment industry in Las Vegas and the adversities these talented people are facing, we welcome back Jennifer Romas. Ms. Romas is a dancer, choreographer, producer, and Las Vegas headliner. Her production, Sexxy: The Show, takes place at the legendary Westgate Resort and Casino. It is the same resort where Elvis Presley was in residency, performing concerts from 1969 to 1976. (During the Elvis era, the resort operated under three different names: the International, the Hilton International and the Las Vegas Hilton.)

Ms. Romas shared her point of view about the situation, pointing out that certain government and resort policies, allowing certain events with groups of people to occur but not others, has generated a feeling in the entertainment community, that the policies are unfair. She does, however, emphasize that she is for a safe, equitable approach to working during the pandemic. On the topic, she shared this:

“I think a lot of the frustration is with everyone is that the rules that are in place right now, although I know they are to protect us, and again, I 100 percent agree with that, but they don’t make sense. And when that happens, there’s frustration. You know, we’ve seen over the past couple of weeks, again, Go Raiders, but bars were packed, sportsbooks were packed, people were eating, people were drinking, taking their masks off, grouping together. There were hundreds of people. How is that ok, but yet we can’t have a controlled environment in a showroom. So, I think that’s where overall we are all struggling to understand what is in place.”

Though she does not claim to speak for the entire Las Vegas entertainment community, the dancer/producer said having a bubble for performers in town, much like professional sports has, would be something she would be open to, in order to get productions in the Entertainment Capital of the World going again:

“Things are working in the bubble world right now for athletes and some television productions and things like that that we are seeing coming out and about. And again, it’s a start. I hope that’s not our new norm. I really don’t like that term. I think we’re going through a phase right now and live entertainment is going to make a huge comeback when it is safe and when we can do so. But right now, there are ways and there are things we can do to continue moving forward instead of just being shut down. One other thing I do want to say about this too is I don’t think for a lot of us, the performers, it’s not necessarily always about the money. About we need to work because we need the money. Most of us front of house and back of house have literally spent our entire lives to make it here.”

Even with the disruption, caused by Covid-19, to the Las Vegas entertainment community, Jennifer says some positive things have happened, telling us:

“I think through this time as difficult as it is to move forward and things like that, I also feel like a lot of people have grown in many ways, have maybe educated themselves in other things that they didn’t know that they were capable of.”

Featured columnist Jay Bildstein joins us to discuss the ongoing challenges faced by the Las Vegas entertainment community, in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Editor’s Note: Our conversation with Ms. Romas took place on Saturday. Perhaps, the fact that she, along with others in the Las Vegas entertainment community have been highlighting the plight of her industry, has led to the news that is now out. It has been reported that there will be changes to rules regarding indoor and outdoor live entertainment events. These changes are supposed to go into effect tomorrow, Thursday.

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