Even separately, twin tap dance sensations Sean and John Scott would be stars in Las Vegas. But they are forever together, born just a minute apart (John is 60 seconds older), while sharing their passion for tapping.
It has been challenging, at times, to agree on a common path. More than a decade ago, Sean and John were popular acts in “V — The Ultimate Variety Show” and “Vegas! The Show” at the V Theater at the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort. Both were David Saxe Production shows.
Spiegelworld founder Ross Mollison had heard about these wondrous performers and took in a show at “the mall.” He had just opened “Absinthe” at Caesars Palace and was developing a dinner-and-show concept at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. “Vegas Nocturne” was that show, set to open in December 2013 alongside the Rose. Rabbit. Lie. restaurant (this is where “OPM” and Superfrico now do business).
The “impresario extraordinaire” wanted a couple of performers to be featured in the variety show, and swing through the chic restaurant to entertain diners. As the story goes, after seeing the duo tear it up at the V Theater, Mollison made an offer that Sean and John (who were not under contract) couldn’t refuse — eventually.
The guys didn’t readily agree on how to proceed. Their debate went on for months until they finally settled on moving to Spiegelworld. Their act has just been updated with slick, satin, ’70s-inspired new costumes from Lijana Wallenda, and direction from “Absinthe” creative directors Leah Moyer and Andre Kasten, with choreography from Nick Young.
That team and the brothers collaborated on the new number. Naturally, the guys, who turn 40 in October, crush it.
Highlights from a recent backstage chat with the duo after a performance of “Absinthe.”
Johnny Kats: All right, the story about how you joined Spiegelworld was that Ross saw you at the Miracle Mile Shops and offered to double your salaries, on the spot. Is that right?
John Scott: Pretty much, yeah.
Sean Scott: But there was a little tug.
John: For the first six months, I wouldn’t budge.
Sean: He didn’t want to do it. He felt some kind of loyalty to David Saxe. I was like, “Hold on, John. There’s never loyalty in business.” I guess, one way or another, he found the light. I said, “Let’s work smarter, not harder.”
This raises the question: What happens when you don’t agree on something? You can’t have Sean performing over here with “Absinthe” and John in the Popovich show at the V Theater, right?
Sean: That would be weird.
John: As far as arguing, it’s second nature to us. We do it all the time. Also, I can beat him up, so …
I think I know the answer, but what brought you guys to Vegas initially?
John: Saxe, you know it. “V — The Ultimate Variety Show.”
Sean: But let’s go back 10 years before that. We came and performed in “The Main Event.”
John: Jeff Kutash! He had “Splash.” He did a lot of cool things in Vegas.
I’m doing some fast math. You guys were teenagers then.
Sean and John: Yes!
John: We were 18. … Then later on, David Saxe was looking for Nicholas Brothers-esque performers, for “Vegas! The Show.” We were looking to make more money, so then we did the “V” show at the same time, going back and forth between the theaters.
Sean: Four shows a night.
Remember what it felt like the first time you performed together?
John: I have never known what it’s like not to perform with him, because even when we weren’t performing on stage, we were using our imaginations at home. We were always with each other. Looking at it retrospectively, it’s a blessing.
Your performances from the beginning have been dance-related?
Sean: Always tap. Always. We tried to dance, but I wasn’t a strong dancer. I was a better tap dancer than a dancer. When we first started tap dancing together, it was like we were bouncing off each other.
Where did you first see tap dancing?
Sean: “Sesame Street.” Savion Glover. He’s my boy, now.
John: I remember seeing Gregory Hines, in the movie “Taps.” He was so cool, so classy.
Sean: After Savion Glover, I saw the Nicholas Brothers. When I saw the Nicholas Brothers, I was sold.
John (Makes gesture like his head is exploding): Boooom!
It seems like this is an art that isn’t as widespread as it was generations ago. Do you see it that way?
Sean: Man, absolutely — it’s a lost art. I don’t know what it’s like from the outside looking in, but the looks we’re getting is like people are trying to understand, like, “Huh?”
John: Especially to our peers. That’s why we try to dance to the music that’s here, that’s poppin’.
What’s next for you two?
John: We’re set with the new act for now. I think just growing with Spiegelworld. Hopefully we can branch off, with Spiegelworld, and have our own rendition. Maybe develop something in circus town (Nipton) for Vegas.
Sean: Either way it goes, the long-term goal for me and my brother is for us to have our own production.
John: Ross has been a very motivating factor. To see what he’s done, and how he’s doing it, has been an inspiration, something for us to aspire to.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.