Nobody knows Las Vegas like its locals—and that includes the multitude of talented performers who grace our stages nightly in headlining shows all over the Strip. Magic Mike Live has been a favorite among locals and tourists ever since it first opened in 2017. We talked with David Terry, singer and original cast member for the show, about his favorite places in Las Vegas and what he does on his days off. You might recognize his face—he’s been making quite a stir on Freeform’s Good Trouble (he was also in the pilot for the hit series How I Met Your Father).
Performer’s Guide to Las Vegas: David Terry From Magic Mike Live
What do you love best about Las Vegas?
Terry: For me, I love that Vegas is such a small bubble and such a tight community, especially in the entertainment world. It’s just a big support system, and everybody knows each other. Anybody you meet here who lives and works here, you just make connections very easily. You get a good sense of community and living in New York; you can have your communities here and there, but obviously, it’s so huge, and you don’t quite get that same feeling. Also for me, I’m such a huge outdoors person. I love that there’s so much hiking around here. You have Red Rock, Mount Charleston, and UT, AZ, CA bordering; it’s so easy to get to all the national parks. I’ve loved taking advantage of getting out and doing all that stuff.
There’s a lot more to Vegas that people don’t realize, and I know when my friends come here, I make a point to get them off the Strip—not that the Strip isn’t great for what it is, but there’s just so much more that people don’t get to see just because they’re constantly on the Strip for parties or events. It’s kind of nice to get that other side of Vegas-like downtown—it has some of the best restaurants, and we have the arts district and little hidden gems. I’ve really enjoyed it since I’ve been out here—a lot more than I thought I would!
How do you describe Magic Mike Live to your friends and family or people who are unfamiliar with the show?
Terry: So Magic Mike Live is—automatically, people’s heads go to male revue and think it’s just like any other male revue that they’ve seen or heard about, but it’s completely different. It obviously has the context of the male review show, but it’s more of a variety show where you get all sorts of things. You get acrobatics; you get choreography, dancing; there’s music; there’s something for everybody. There’s comedy—we have a female MC. She’s kind of there to break the tension of anything and make it just a comfortable, safe, fun environment for everybody who comes to the show, and I think many people have their reservations about going to a show like that. That’s what Channing didn’t want. He wanted someplace where people would be excited to go and tell people they had gone. It’s more of a variety show and has a loose storyline to it.
Can you tell us about your performing background and experience?
Terry: I grew up doing shows and a lot of musical theater, whether through community theater or my school. Then I went to college for vocal performance and communications with a minor in theater. Then, I went out to New York, where I interned for a production company called Broadway Across America for a while. I was doing some production work and getting the other side of everything because I wanted to do more musical theater and Broadway stuff as far as performing. I’ve been dancing since I was little, and I went to New York, training professionally out there, doing some vocal stuff, and getting more schooling.
I ended up doing backup vocal work for shows like Saturday Night Live, or David Letterman and Good Morning America and late-night shows. My first time doing some backup vocals for an artist was with the band Bastille when they made their American debut. I did some other shows, a show called Queen of the Night, which was another immersive show—probably the best precursor to Magic Mike Live that I could have had. It was all about being very one-on-one with people and reading the room, and getting an idea of people’s energy and how to give them the best experience. I was really into the immersive theater experience in NY. I danced with the show iLuminate, and I did a tour with them in Saudi Arabia right before I got the job with Magic Mike Live.
Tell us about your experience auditioning for Magic Mike Live?
Terry: I came into the audition, and it was like, show us what you do, whether it be a circus technique or tap dance. Like do you sing, do you play an instrument? I sang and played piano for my audition, and the cool thing about the show is that it’s designed around the guys and what they do, so that’s how I came to be singing in the show.
How do you spend your days off?
Terry: On my days off, I do a lot of sleeping. Just resting in general, as dull as it sounds, I think when I first got here, I was burning the candle at both ends because I wanted to do so much, and of course, you come to Vegas, and you’re absolutely like, let’s go. I was hiking and going out and seeing more shows and different venues. I still see plenty of shows, and I love going to support friends at other shows like Cirque shows and anything else that I can see. Those recovery days are so important, especially for our show, as taxing as it is and how much we’re doing in the show. There’s not much rest time in the show for anybody, so it’s essential to take those days off seriously and recover so you can do the next show week and do it well. Other than that, I think hiking is a great escape for me. I love going and getting that different perspective. For me, it’s the best form of therapy possible.
What would you include if you were planning a Las Vegas itinerary for visiting friends?
Terry: I think you have to experience the Strip. I love Park MGM—I love On the Record and the restaurants. I love the Wynn and Encore—there are so many great restaurants on the Strip. I think it’s funny; I know many locals don’t want to have to come to the Strip unless we have to, but there’s so much good stuff there. The restaurants are excellent, so I would definitely say one of my favorites is Mon Ami Gabi. It’s weird because you get such great people-watching on the Strip, but the food is delicious.
I love going to see shows, whether it’s Spiegelworld or Cirque shows and even the ones that aren’t advertised as much like the cover shows and the revue shows. There’s so much talent in this city; it’s insane. Catch a few shows on the Strip, and maybe go out and catch a club afterward. I like XS because it has some of my favorite DJs, and I like the venue a lot. I just went to Resorts World for the first time too. I would say do dinner, a show and then a club. That way, you get the whole Vegas experience. Off the Strip, I would say check out some restaurants downtown. One of my favorite breakfast spots is Eat in the Arts District and Fremont Street. It’s very touristy, but it’s an experience in itself. If you’re able to get out to Red Rock and see off the Strip, it’s cool just to do that as well.