Samantha Sage was drawn to the desert by the combination of the promise of greater opportunities and the chance to put her well-honed theater tech skills to good use. In 1980, she loaded up her car with a few belongings and made her way west from Minnesota to try her luck in Las Vegas.
Throngs of dancers, singers, and musicians made the same mid-western move; however, Sage came to the city with a plan to explore a different aspect of the entertainment industry. Las Vegas’ Local 720 chapter of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (a union specializing in benefiting those who worked behind the scenes in trades such as lighting, rigging, wardrobe and other forms of stage craft) had just sent out a call for women and under-represented communities to join their ranks in the growing entertainment capital of the world. Having been involved both on stage and behind the scenes in high school and college, Sage was ready to hit the big time.
With hard work and dedication, Sage soon secured a job in the props and assistant carpentry department at the Lido de Paris production at the Stardust Hotel and Casino. Her duties included handing out props to dancers, singers, and magicians (including a young pair of German illusionists by the name of Siegfried and Roy) in the wings of the legendary theater. She helped to build and repair sets, opened and closed curtains and stealthily changed sets between the lavish dance numbers.
Sage was a trailblazer in her field during a time when most stage crew positions were held by men. When she began in 1980, she was the first woman in the props and assistant carpentry department, by the time she left she had inspired and mentored other women to follow in her footsteps. In 1988, Sage left to join Siegfried and Roy’s traveling tour in Japan before working full time at the Mirage Hotel and Casino with the magic duo, continuing her role behind the curtain as an integral part of the backstage crew. She remembers her time at Lido de Paris as a truly special experience.
“I felt a sense of team with this group of men and women, the wardrobe department, and the dancers. But the crew - it was teamwork, it was friendship, it was professional. I have your back, I’ll cover this, and that was just a wonderful feeling. Twice nightly! For nine years! Three times on Saturday!”
In February 2023, there was the relighting of the legendary Lido de Paris sign at The Neon Boneyard. The glowing neon of the restored sign shines in honor of the 22,000 plus performances that were held at the Continental Café inside the iconic Stardust Hotel and Casino. From 1958 to 1991, the Lido de Paris wowed audiences with its imported French flare. The show was synonymous with the glamorous image of the Las Vegas showgirl, an image that has lasted long after the last curtain closed at the Lido de Paris.