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Insurgo Theater Movement finds itself on the street again

Insurgo's "The Nutcracker"
Insurgo's "The Nutcracker"

When Insurgo Theater Movement’s residency at the Plaza Las Vegas hotel-casino was announced last summer, reaction amongst the theater community ranged from guarded optimism to outright skepticism. Those whose dubiousness was fueled by pent-up schadenfreude have cause to rejoice today: At approximately 8:30 a.m., Insurgo announced on its Facebook page that the curtain had fallen on its Plaza residency, abruptly curtailing Cannibal! The Musical and -- at least temporarily -- aborting the in-production Dash Riprock and the Tentacles of Doom. Also thrown into limbo is an ambitious production slate that included Hamlet, Slaughterhouse Five, The Dybbuk and Brandon McClenahan’s adaptation of The Hobbit. (Insurgo didn't respond to media inquiries by press time.)

Insurgo’s first Plaza production, Waiting for Godot, received gingerly critical response. After all, casinos operate via herd mentality. If Insurgo failed in Glitter Gulch, serious theater in general would be scapegoated. Launching its new venture with the ultimate feel-bad play (to reportedly anemic attendance) was Insurgo’s first mistake of many. A fall Cannibal revival was scrubbed and valuable months frittered away as Insurgo’s space played host to little more than the post-midnight Motherfuppets revue.

A Yuletide Nutcracker revival was launched with all the advance publicity of a lightning strike and the belated return of Cannibal languished too long in previews. Its official premiere went virtually unnoticed … while Strip-bound Evil Dead The Musical was generating frequent headlines. If Insurgo was in a publicity learning curve, the Plaza never got off the floor, doing a piss-poor job of publicizing one of its resident attractions. A trouble-plagued King John, which lost two of four weekends to a cast-decimating flu bug, may have been the last nail in Insurgo’s Plaza coffin.

Whither Insurgo? Barring a rapprochement with Onyx (unlikely), The Box Office in the Arts District is at least a stopgap possibility. But, given the repetitive, burnt-out, manneristic feel of most of its 2011-12 productions, the question must be asked: Does Insurgo have anything left to offer Las Vegas?