Rich in history, the Celebrity Showroom has evolved from a fashionable place to see a show to a stage that draws in some of entertainment’s biggest performers.
“It was built in 1961 and it was a part of the original Roof Garden Hotel,” Nugget entertainment manager Rob Brooks said. “The hotel isn’t there anymore, but at the time it was really fashionable to do dinner shows. There would be two shows a night, a cocktail show and a dinner show.”
When the showroom was built, it was originally called the Circus Room because at the time the regular performer was the Nugget’s elephant, Bertha.
Officially dubbed the Celebrity Showroom in 1977, Brooks said the list of performers who have sung in the showroom is impressive, including Ella Fitzgerald, Liberace, Johnny Cash and Morrissey.
“Lou Rawls played his last show here,” Brooks said, adding the history of performers in the Celebrity Showroom has been diverse as well as entertaining. “Not much has changed; there is something very quant about that stage.”
Brooks said Bertha opened every show held in the Celebrity Showroom with a routine and in the more than 40 years she lived at the Nugget, Bertha — with her companion Angel — performed on the stage, which was built to support the weight of the elephant plus 12 showgirls.
Bertha was such an important performer, Brooks said, that she even had a special pair of shoes.
“Converse built her a pair of Chuck Taylors so she could walk in parades and not hurt her feet,” Brooks said.
Although Brooks said he would have loved to have been in the Celebrity Showroon to see Louis Armstrong perform, it was Morrissey’s performance in April 2007 that gave him chills.
“The Liberace photos secured the Morrissey show,” Brooks said, explaining that the photo of the piano player being carried into the showroom on his piano bench by Bertha awed Morrissey so much that he performed at the Nugget two nights in a row.
“(The Celebrity Showroom) is something very unique to Sparks and very unique to northern Nevada,” Brooks said.
For more information about the Nugget, including upcoming performances in the Celebrity Showroom, visit www.janugget.com.