ASST. PROP MANAGER MICHAEL LEE HAS KNOWN LANCE BURTON SINCE CHILDHOOD
Michael Alan Lee is the assistant prop master in "Lance Burton: Master Magician" at the Monte Carlo Resort & Casino and has known Lance since he was a young boy who would hang out backstage at the "Folies Bergere."
The 24-year-old said, "My job is to help out Bob Thompson who is the show's head prop master. The prop master is responsible for the upkeep of all the props and to make sure that all of the stage equipment is working well. I assist and back up Bob Thompson and do whatever he doesn't have time to finish."
He said, "My father is Larry Lee who hired Lance Burton at the Tropicana in 1982. He was the entertainment director and the producer of the `Folies Bergere' and now he is part owner of Encore Productions. I was in elementary school when Lance Burton performed in the `Folies Bergere' and I would hang out backstage and talk with him. I met Alan Bracken the stage production manager at his wedding when he married the head dancer in the `Folies.' Her name is Lori and she's a big-time attorney and a mom now. This was about six years ago."
He said, "I joined the show two weeks before we opened at the Monte Carlo. It was the beginning of June in 1996. I've known Lance Burton since I was a little kid when I hung out in my dad's office at the `Folies Bergere.' Lance was always around working on new tricks. I've been trying to get into a hotel job forever and now here I am working for Lance Burton. It's great. Lance is outgoing and friendly. I was working for my dad's company Encore Productions. He gave me a job in audio, sound and lighting. If you really know what you're doing, it's very lucrative. There's a lot to learn. I did some audio-visual for the meeting rooms at the Alexis Park Resort through Encore. I was in-house there for about three years."
Michael Lee said, "I was inspired by my dad and my granddad. My grandfather was entertainment director at the Aladdin. I began working for Lance Burton when people were sick as a relief worker and now I'm full-time. I decided I wanted to work in show business because of my dad. He always liked what he did and is well off from working hard in the entertainment industry."
He continued, "My mom and dad split up so I would live at my mom's in Tucson, Arizona or Fullerton, California. My mom became an attorney. Before that she was the lead singer in the `Folies Bergere.' She was a singer in `The Young Americans.' My dad was stage manager when they met after she was hired as lead singer in the `Folies Bergere.' Her name is Diane Groom now, but then it was Diane Adams."
Michael said, "I love to travel and getaway sometimes. I've never been east of the Rockies. I like Utah, Maui, Colorado and Mexico for vacations. I'm looking forward to doing some shows on the road."
The Summerlin native said, "Las Vegas is my home forever. I like it here. I love roller-blading up in Summerlin. There are a lot of bike paths that wind through parks and in back of people's houses. I like snowboarding too. I room with a friend of mine in an apartment. He works at the airport. I drive a Toyota Tacoma truck. I'm thinking about getting a house pretty soon."
He continued, "Doing this show is a pretty fun job. It's a little tedious once-in-a while. My favorite show was when 900 fifth-graders came in and Lance Burton did a special show for Kellogg's. Those kids had a ball and they screamed the most."
Michael said, "The opening act is my favorite. The cards and doves, which are considered the best 12 minutes in magic, are sensational. I've been watching it since I was little and it's a classic."
He jokingly said, "I'd like to be a `Mack' like Bob Thompson. It's an inside joke. He's a smooth-talking likeable guy with all of the girls."
Michael Lee concluded, "To have watched Lance Burton evolve from an act into a great showman over the past 15 years plus has been fascinating. The audiences really get into his show. He's really good with them. As an act in the `Folies Bergere' he hardly ever talked and now he's one of the best. Even people who don't like magic leave the show happy. It's great just hanging out here at the Monte Carlo."