Four dancers who've been with the show since the beginning open up about their insecurities, their wildest fans and finding love
There’s no escaping Channing Tatum‘s Magic Mike.
Since making a hit movie inspired by his early career as a male dancer, the actor has seen the project inspire not only a sequel, Magic Mike XXL, but also three live shows: a Broadway-bound musical; a live show in London; and a successful Las Vegas revue that just celebrated its 1000th performance.
Based on the two sultry films, the Vegas show recreates Magic Mike‘s Club Domina inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino where 13 wildly talented performers dance, sing and strip in front of — and all around — the audience. Conceived by Tatum and co-directed by film franchise choreographer Alison Faulk, the female-hosted show is empowering, sexy and action-packed.
It’s also an impressive showcase for its dancers, many of whom have been with the show since the beginning. In honor of its two-year run, PEOPLE sat down with four key members to learn what it takes to be a Magic Mike Live member.
Magic Mike dancers are athletes
Jeremy Denzel: It’s like being on a football team, with ten games a week. You have grandmas tackling you when you’re walking down the aisle, and you’re running all the time. It’s hard! We’re athletes.
David Terry: You’ve got to take your down-time seriously. When we first got here, we went to check out everything — because none of us are from Vegas. After a while you kind of realize, “Oh, wait a minute, I should probably just kind of take it easy.”
They weren’t all sure about taking their clothes off
Terry: My agency sent me the casting call when I was living in New York. I think I was apprehensive about it just because the first thing you see is “male entertainers” — kind of a strip show. I didn’t know if I really wanted to do that. But then seeing the creative team, and then of course Channing behind the project, it was just like, “Yup, I’ll definitely go out for it.” And then, the audition was probably the most fun I’ve ever had in an audition.
Denzel: Yeah. As soon as I got it, I was like, “No.” Because you think it’s going to be this cheesy strip thing. At the audition, I was like, “Oh sh– this is different.” We were doing some actual choreography and then they were telling us they were looking for dancers who could also sing and be musicians. I was like, “Whoa, this doesn’t sound like everything that I thought it would be.”
They have VERY passionate fans
Terry: We have very supportive fans — passionate fans of the show. What’s the most that somebody’s been back? Like over 20, 30 times! It’s crazy doing a show like this. I’d never had anything like that happen before — when people are so enthusiastic and so supportive of what you’re doing.
Denzel: One of my older fans, she mailed me this long letter and coloring book… with dicks in it. Like a coloring book of dicks. I was like, “Whoa, this is interesting.” And in the letter she was like, “P.S. I I hope this doesn’t offend you. I want you to get to know my humor.” So just a bunch of funny uncolored dicks.
Anton Engel: I mean, we get chocolate, letters, dolls. We all got dolls.
Terry: One of our fans made us all into those Pop! dolls. She took the time to customize each one of us. She did all the boxing and everything. It was nuts.
Denzel: It looked exactly like us!
They like to indulge
Kyo Dominick: We get to eat a lot of donuts which is pretty cool — because we do a lot of cardio. There’s a lot of bad food in Vegas.
Denzel: Like, the other week we had hot Cheetos burgers.
Dominick: Oh man, that was stupid.
Denzel: It was a big burger, and it had Cheetos and a very thick patty.
Even they have low confidence sometimes
Terry: One hundred percent.
Denzel: It’s happened.
Terry: Oh yeah, and what makes it better is if you’re having one of those days and you get people who come to the show, and they’ll just say some crazy stuff. It always blows my mind. To each their own, and you’re paying for this show, but sometimes: stick to the golden rule. If you don’t have anything nice to say, just keep it to yourself. You get people in meet-and-greets and they’ll be like, “You’re not my type, I don’t like you. I like him better.”
Dominick: We’re like, “OK, thanks for being open!”
Terry: You have those days for sure. It comes with the territory. You kind of have to let it just roll off your shoulders.
Denzel: It’s part of the job.
Terry: Yup, it’s part of being a performer in general.
Tatum gave them a ‘dad talk’ before opening night
Denzel: He pretty much gave us the rundown of everything that may or may not happen, and we were all like, “Oh, that’s not going to happen here.”
Terry: Based on his stripping experience — and it has all happened here. He sat us down and had the whole dad talk, and was like, “This is going to happen, this is going to happen. Be careful of this.”
Their families have seen the show
Denzel: My mom grabbed my butt a lot during the show. It’s pretty weird. She thinks it’s hilarious though.
Dominick: Oh, yeah my mom came, my sister came. They definitely tried to make it out but I’m from the east coast. I’m from New York so it’s a bit further away. I
Engel: My parents are from Sweden — they came and visited. They wanted to see what my life is like here. They liked it. I was kind of struggling in London before, so they were happy that I had a good life here.
One of the dancers met his girlfriend while performing
Denzel: She was sitting at the bar, and she came with … she had friends that were in the show, or a friend of a friend that came to the show. But I was walking by and she grabbed my arm and said, “Don’t neglect me.” And I was like, “Okay.” And so I lap-danced her. And so — long story short — she cooked for me one day and we’ve been going since.
The secret to Magic Mike Live‘s success
Denzel: I think the show and the brand works so well because women don’t usually have a place to go and feel this comfortable. There’s not a lot of places where women can go to just let loose and see a good show at the same time and feel appreciated.
Terry: We’ve kind of created — Channing and the creative team — a new genre almost of the show. It’s an immersive experience. It is a male revue show, but it’s so much more than that. It’s just a place where people can come and not be embarrassed to say, “Hey, I’m going to Magic Mike Live. I feel comfortable, I’m here to have a good time.” It’s so much more than just us taking off our clothes.
Denzel: You can bring your book club.
Dominick: Your Bible book club.
Denzel: Your church group, whatever.
Terry: Church circle!