Based on the first incarnation of Mondays Dark—originally conceptualized as part variety show, part talk show—and its less-than-stellar early reviews, show creator and host Mark Shunock wasn’t sure he’d get past the first month.
“I’ll be the first one to admit that my goofy, ‘Vegas Oprah’ idea wasn’t the best,” says Shunock, who conjured up Mondays Dark while trying to find a worthwhile way to give back on his days off from performing in Rock of Ages at The Venetian. “It has evolved into this great [entertainment variety show] that raises money for local charities and receives such incredible support from the community.”
Now, Mondays Dark is a popular 90-minute monthly fundraiser featuring some of the Strip’s top entertainers. They donate 100 percent of the funds raised from the $20-per-ticket advance sales ($30 at the door) to one featured charity.
Shunock is in the final planning stages of a one-year anniversary event set for December 15 that has grown so large he had to move it from Vinyl in Hard Rock Hotel & Casino to a larger space in The Joint. The special event will include A.J. Buckley from CSI New York; Frank Pellegrino from Rao’s; Chumlee from The History Channel’s Pawn Stars; performers from Jersey Boys; entertainers Claire Sinclair and Earl Turner; American Idol’s Blake Lewis; BMX champion TJ Lavin; and musical group Human Nature.
“The format will feel kind of like an awards show, with 13 celebrity presenters doing a recap of each of our 13 charities from this year and 13 celebrity performances (meet the players below). The 11 new charities for 2015 will be unveiled at the anniversary celebration,” Shunock says.
Also new for 2015 are corporate sponsorships including Chapman Dodge Chrysler Jeep & Ram, which is giving away a one-year lease on a vehicle at the December 15 event. “Major players are coming on board who will help us go to the next level,” says Shunock, who’s ongoing goal is to raise a minimum of $10,000 every month between ticket sales and a silent auction.
General admission tickets for the one-year anniversary celebration are $20 in advance and $30 at the door; $50 VIP tables include an after-party reception. They can be purchased at mondaysdark.com.