“Magic Men Live!” creator and host Myles Hass understands an eyebrow or two might be raised about his show, coming to the Clay Center in Charleston tonight.
“We get that a lot whenever we go into some place that just had ‘Sesame Street Live,’” the 28-year-old Michigan native said.
The Clay Center has never had “Sesame Street Live,” but Peppa Pig stopped by last year.
“Magic Men Live!” is nothing like either of those. It’s really nothing like anything else that has been at the Clay Center.
It’s a male revue. Very handsome, chiseled, young men dance, undress and work the (mostly female) crowd into a frenzy.
The troupe has performed all across the country, often in theaters and performance halls similar to the Clay Center.
“Performance halls are ideal places for us,” Hass said. “It’s not only a dance performance. There are stage elements to what we do. It’s really a spectacular show.”
The show has earned widespread interest and acclaim and has been written about The New York Times and The Washington Post. But Hass acknowledged they have had to convince people that what they do is more than good looking guys taking their clothes off.
“We’ve changed a lot of minds,” he said.
Hass has been in what he called the “adult party entertainment” business almost for as long as he can remember. His family got involved with booking male and female strippers for bachelor and bachelorette parties in Detroit in 1989, the year Hass was born.
It all seemed pretty normal to him.
“Right out of high school, I went to work for my uncle as a business manager,” Hass said.
His uncle owned a company called Erotic Image.
“It had a definite ’80s and ’90s kind of base,” Hass said. “I saw what he was doing and just wanted to go in another direction.”
What impressed him, he said, was a male revue he saw in a club.
“I’d never seen an audience react that way. The energy was addictive, and I wanted to know how I could create that,” Hass said.
He got his chance after a local radio station in Detroit contacted Erotic Image about putting together a few of his male strippers for what was supposed to be a private “Girls Night Out” event at a local club.
The station gave away 200 tickets to listeners.
“But then 400 women show up,” Hass said. “They didn’t know you had to win tickets to get in.”
From there, he began building his show.
In the beginning, they were a modest troupe of dancers. Hass and the others would drive to bars in their own cars, but with a lot of energy, the show grew into a sensation — thanks in large part to social media.
“We have 1.1 million likes on Facebook,” he said. “We have over 100,000 friends on Instagram and Snapchat.”
Most of his dancers have been with him for years.
“What happened was that most of them came to me,” he said. “They were just looking to book bachelorette parties and heard we could get them more work.”
Dancing was just a mostly weekends, part-time job for the men — “just something everybody did for extra money,” Hass said.
As he began to develop the “Magic Men Live!” revue, Hass said he offered the dancers the chance to do his show instead of the bachelorette parties.
“Now, this is a full-time job,” he said.
While yes, the dancers are hot, Hass said they’re not cookie-cutter male models or interchangeable pieces of eye candy.
“It’s not just about cut guys,” he said. “Everyone on the stage adds a dynamic to the show. We look for gorgeous, cool, laid-back guys.”
Guys with big muscles are welcome. Guys with big egos are not.
Egos aren’t fun, Hass said, and more than anything else, “Magic Men Live!” is supposed to be fun.
He acknowledged that “Magic Men Live!” shows get loud and more than a little wild. There’s a lot of screaming, laughing and audience interaction, he said.
“And nobody is going to judge you,” Hass added.
He compared it to being at a Backstreet Boys concert during the height of their popularity 20 years ago.
“We get that reaction just from ripping our shirts off,” he said.
Nothing about what they do is bad, Hass said.
“We’re a greenlight for women to let loose.”