Super Star, Showgirl and Mother …
Ask any woman and chances are they will agree that the phrase “working mother” is redundant; “super human” is more like it. They serve as cook, chauffeur, caregiver and fixer-of-all-things before they even head to the office each day. Now add the titles of dancer, choreographer and show producer into the mix and you get Las Vegan Bonnie Saxe.
During the “glory days” of Las Vegas entertainment, Saxe graced the stage of the Tropicana Hotel in the world-famous “Les Folies Bergere” and as a “Jimmy Durante Dancer.” A breath-taking beauty by any standard, the technically trained dancer shined as brightly as any star on the Strip, soon creating a showbiz legacy destined to span several generations.
From a small town in Tennessee, Bonnie became a professional dancer at the age of 12. While visiting Las Vegas in 1968, she took a chance and went to an open audition for “Les Folies Bergere.” Saxe landed the role and ended up moving to Las Vegas for good where she would meet her future husband, bandleader Dick Saxe.
Bonnie Saxe worked a grueling performance schedule through the years with her little ones, Suzanne, Melinda and David, always in tow. Growing up among fancy, feathered costumes and showgirl vanities, the three would eventually carry on their family tradition, but in different ways. “My girls are natural-born dancers,” said Bonnie Saxe. “Suzi was the first to perform on stage, beginning her career at 16 years old. Melinda was also a teenager when she started dancing in “Siegfried & Roy.”
It wasn’t long before Saxe noticed Melinda possessed the talent and skill to excel in a profession traditionally dominated by men … magic. “What makes Melinda so unique is her ability to combine dancing and music,” said Saxe. “I set up a studio in our home where we would rehearse new tricks and illusions every day.”
The entire family then worked together to build a show around her. Dick Saxe financed the production, younger brother David did the lights and sound, sister Suzanne danced and Bonnie produced it. “Melinda – First Lady of Magic” opened at Bourbon Street Casino in 1986 making Bonnie Saxe Las Vegas’ first female show producer.
The show was a major turning point for the Saxe family. Melinda went on to become the most famous female magician in the world as David Saxe continued down his path, producing more shows than anyone in Las Vegas with two theaters at Planet Hollywood’s Miracle Mile Shops: Saxe Theater and V Theater, where Melinda currently performs in his “V The Ultimate Variety Show.”
Of course every parent is proud of their children’s accomplishments, but for Bonnie Saxe the adoration and pride she feels for her family goes much deeper. “They followed in my footsteps and now I’m starting to see the same traits in my grandkids. I love every facet of entertainment. I would do it all over again.”