You could say Adam Steck’s contributions to Las Vegas come from New York via Iowa. Born in Bayside, Queens, Steck spent a few of his formative years in Florida before moving to Fairfield, Iowa.
“That’s what got me into entertainment, being bored to death growing up in Iowa and going back to New York all the time,” says the founder and CEO of SPI Entertainment. “My sister had moved back to New York City to become a model and was immersed in that world, so she’d have her little brother hanging out. We’d go clubbing until 10 in the morning around all the drag queens and stockbrokers, then I’d go back to Iowa and wonder what the hell I was doing.”
Steck threw some rave-style dance parties in his small town, planting the seed for what would become his passion: promoting and producing live entertainment. “It sounds like a cliché, but bringing happiness to the masses is the coolest thing in the world. The business behind it is like a chess game, but when the customers come in from all different parts of the world, they don’t care about that. They leave their troubles at the door, the lights go down and the goosebumps happen. That’s my true passion.”
Steck saw a lot of opportunity when he first arrived in Las Vegas almost 20 years ago. His first breakthrough was Thunder From Down Under, now the longest-running male revue in the history of Las Vegas. It opened in 2001 and has been at the Excalibur for 15 years.
Thunder is one of SPI’s eight Vegas shows and attractions. The roster runs the gamut from Human Nature at Venetian to Boyz II Men at the Mirage, plus the newer Sex Tips for Straight Women From a Gay Man at Paris Las Vegas and Exhibitionism, the touring Rolling Stones exhibit, currently at Venetian.
Steck is always developing something new and growing his Vegas entertainment empire, looking for a fit on the Strip today and tomorrow.
“If you look at the shows we have now, nobody else was doing anything like them when we started,” he says. “The rooms, the demographics at the properties, the deal structures, what the entertainment directors are looking for—you have to kind of know it all, and when you figure something out you pounce on it. Now we’re very fortunate, because people are calling me. Everybody wants to be in Vegas.”