PRODUCTION STAGE MANAGER ALLEN BRACKEN BEGAN AS MAGICIAN, ACTOR, MODEL
Allen Bracken directs everything that happens on-stage for Lance Burton at the Monte Carlo Resort & Casino and feels his childhood dream of being in show business has come true.
He tried his hand at being a magician, an actor and a model but always returned to work backstage in theatre to make ends meet. As fate would have it, he has one of the most important positions in Las Vegas showbiz from a backstage perspective since as production stage manager he supervises about 30 employees who work for Lance Burton. Virtually he's responsible for every aspect of the show from the cast, crew, lights, sound, costumes and staging.
Bracken began working for Lance Burton at the Hacienda about three-and-half years ago when Lance asked him if he's like the job. The native of El Paso, Texas moved to Atlanta with his family at age seven. His first job in showbiz was at age 10 as Buddy Bat in Equity Theatre in Atlanta and he began performing magic at age 12. He left home after high school and went to a small liberal arts college in Northern Georgia.
He tried his hand at acting and modeling in New York City for a short while and moved to Los Angeles where he lived for 15 years before coming to Las Vegas. He said, "I didn't do anything
substantial in modeling and acting while I lived in Manhattan. It was a learning experience coming from Georgia to New York."
He said, "In the middle to late '70s I did a few things in modeling. I did an Esquire Magazine layout called `The Men of Dallas.' I did calendar and catalog stuff too. I worked with Orson Wells for four years before he died. I did two movies with him. I was on `The Young and the Restless' in 1982 for a short stint. I did lots of theatre, sitcoms and TV commercials in Los Angeles, but nothing national. I wasn't as dedicated as I needed to be real successful. My most memorable night in show business was opening night at the Monte Carlo. All of the hard work paid off."
As production manager, what's his toughest challenge? He replied, "I think it's just coordinating the personalities. Everybody always wants a little something different. We're really lucky in that we all have the same goal and that's to make sure that Lance is doing the best show possible. Since I'm surrounded by so many good talented people it makes my job that much easier. My magic and theatre background is my strong point. I've worked with David Copperfield and Doug Henning too. They all want the same thing someone who knows theatre and magic."
He continued, "I was doing a magic and comedy show. I had a lot of fun working at The Magic Castle. I worked in a revue called `Sizzle.' It played in Las Vegas, Laughlin and Wendover. I became interested in magic during my last year in college. I met a man named Ab Dickson. He's a pretty famous magician. He hired me to do his show called `Presto.' I had been an actor since elementary school. I learned a lot of the behind the scenes technical stuff."
Bracken said, "I hooked up with the late Harry Blackstone in 1982 and worked on and off with him sporadically until 1985. I was concentrating on my acting but realized I was making more money with magic behind-the-scenes. I went with Harry Blackstone's show full-time as his head properties manager in 1985. I became his production stage manager in 1987 and stayed with him thru 1993. I went back and helped him in 1994 when he played Las Vegas but I've been with Lance Burton's show ever since."
Bracken said, "I moved here when I got married. My wife is an attorney for the No. 1 entertainment attorney law firm in Las Vegas - Quirk & Tratos. We have a baby on the way, which is due on Nov. 20. She passed the Nevada State Bar and will be taking the California State Bar in February. I'm real excited for her. My main hobbies are golf, sports and computers."
What does he advise for young people who want to go into showbiz? He replied, "Get a good education as a safety net."