About 30 minutes before the grand opening of Magic Mike Live at Hard Rock Las Vegas, Channing Tatum stood on a red carpet surrounded by 13 male performers in the show and a chant broke out among the men: “We want strippers!”
It didn’t take long before that happened, with the 13 men dancing and shedding clothes, much to the delight of the predominately female crowd.
Tatum sat above the show on a balcony looking down at his creation, but certainly not missing the days when he was on stage as women tossed money at him.
“I don’t miss anything about stripping,” he told PEOPLE on the red carpet. “I stripped in Tampa for like 25 girls, at best. It wasn’t glamorous whatsoever, so there’s nothing that I miss about stripping. This isn’t stripping. This is a show.”
During the 90-minute show, dancers give lap dances, naturally, but the show also featured comedy and live singing at times. Heck, there was even a shirtless guy on a piano and drums. There’s also the occasional aerial acrobatics because, after all, this is Vegas.
Magic Mike Live trolls other stripping shows, making fun of the typical cliches (strippers dressed as firemen, cowboys and sailors.) When the performers actually are wearing clothes at Magic Mike, they are typically donning jeans and t-shirts. To stay away from the seediness that is often associated with male revues, dollar bills are not welcome. Instead, all guests are equipped with red slips that say “You’re Welcome” to show their appreciation.
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During one scene, Tatum was seen on the balcony showering a few of the scantily clad men with the fake dollars. Meanwhile, his wife, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, got an up close and personal view, sitting on the main floor with Entourage star Emmanuelle Chriqui.
“Vegas is almost like an altar,” Tatum said. “People come here to to release. It’s kind of like church. They release all their worries and get crazy … This is as good a place as any to do something crazy.”
The Vegas show largely matches the Magic Mike films that inspired it.
“People in general are coming because they know the movies and they think they’re going to get something like they saw in the last film, and they’re going to get all that,” Tatum said. “But I think they’re going to get something else. We don’t do live shows. We don’t do that. With this, we didn’t have any rules so we just started creating crazy sh*t and no one told us that wasn’t allowed.”