Mondays Dark To Raise Money For Struggling Performers
Mondays Dark is a monthly variety show that raises money, typically about $10,000, for different causes. It usually goes about 90 minutes and has been going since 2013. But it’s making a big change tonight.
Founded by Mark Shunock, who is the announcer at Golden Knights games, the variety show will expand to six hours tonight, with the goal to raise a lot more money for those in need due to the pandemic. All donations will go to the Actors Fund.
“If you work in the entertainment business, they are there to support you,” Shunock said, “It’s an unbelievable organization and we’re really honored to partner with them.”
It's not just stage performers who need help, but also those that work behind the scenes, like hairstyles, makeup artists and musicians.
Shunock said because most people in the entertainment industry are considered independent contractors, getting unemployment has been tough.
“Filing for unemployment has been challenging because that system is just not in place yet for that type of employee. So, it’s been a holding game,” he said.
Most people in the entertainment industry understand there are ups and downs, but very few people are prepared for two months of rainy days, he said.
“Overnight, pretty much every revenue stream that I had disappeared or stopped,” he said.
The Actors Fund is an important resource for the industry in several places, but all the money raised tonight will stay in Las Vegas, Shunock said.
The lineup for tonight includes some of the top stars of the Las Vegas Strip like Terry Fator, Wayne Newton and Clint Holmes. Plus, pop star Shania Twain will be part of it.
Shunock and Twain's hometowns in Canada were not too far apart. They met when Twain was performing in her first residency on the Strip and Shunock was in "Rock of Ages."
They've stayed in touch and when Shunock started to put together the show, he reached out.
“And without hesitation, she jumped right in because she understands the importance of the entertainment community in Las Vegas," he said, "She performs here and she works with a lot of local musicians, a lot of local dancers, crew members and has a home here.”
Shunock said he's not exactly sure what Twain or other performers will be doing. Most are performing from their own homes and he didn't give them much direction.
Similar to the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon of old, Shunock plans to just give them the mic and see what happens.
One part of the show that is confirmed is the singing of The Beatles classic "Here Comes the Sun." Shunock said performers will submit the most innovative and interesting version of the song and viewers will vote on their favorite version. The performer that wins will get a fully produced show at The Space when the state reopens.
Shunock, as regular listeners know, was also a quiz master for KNPR’s trivia night at Brooklyn Bowl in December.
You can stream the live stream telethon tonight here, starting at 5 p.m.
Mark Shunock, founder and host, Mondays Dark