The Looking Glass Magazine

 Secrets Behind Adara Michaels Scandalous
by Jack Corbett

Adara Michaels and Jack Corbett

Jack Corbett interviews Adara Michaels Scandalous at Diamond Cabaret on 9/11  the day the World Trade Center went down

Who is the number one feature act in the U.S. today? Although many might rightfully claim this distinction, I believe the frontrunner is Scandalous which has charted a course that is unparalleled, with its dazzling display of lights, its highly original concept of promoting itself, and the originality and raw impact of its shows. For the average patron Scandalous is Adara Michaels and her "twin sister", two utterly unforgettable blondes, nearly identical in appearance, who are renowned for their innovative dual acts. Each show is different, with its own choreography which the twins follow in nearly perfect synergy resulting in a stunningly performance that literally propels the audience into another world. A trip to Adara Michael's web site,  gave me fresh insight about the Scandalous team. Scandalous began with Eddie Marshall's, an ex Chippendales dancer and Adara Michael's vision of a traveling troupe of performers. Adara and Eddie lost $40,000 when their investors and tour operators fell through. Greedy promoters and unscrupulous agents destroyed the couple's second attempt at making it big. After losing another $60,000 Adara nearly went bankrupt. Their next attempt became the world famous dual act of the Scandalous twins which led to Adara's endless quest for her other half of the Scandalous dual. Fourteen or fifteen past "twins" have either succumbed to drugs and alcohol, greed, lack of ambition or just moved onto other things. Her latest twin, Anne Marie, would do her first Scandalous performance last Monday night at Diamond Cabaret, a PT's owned club in the St Louis Metro East. But the first questions I'd ask Adara would be all about Eddie Marshall.

The interview took place the same day as the Twin Towers massacre that had left over 5,000 Americans murdered in a mass grave of rubble. All day I tried to shake it off. With the country in a somber mood, Diamond Cabaret would undoubtably have a disastrous turnout that would continue for the rest of the week, I decided. Undaunted, Adara Michaels and Anne Marie put on a dazzling show amidst an incredible array of special lighting effects. After the first show, John, Scandalous's stage technician shot Polaroids of the very few customers posing with the two blond entertainers. Gregarious and cheerful the twins seemed unaffected by the small crowd. I had just witnessed professionalism at its very best, a professionalism that transcended the sense of tragedy and loss affecting nearly all Americans, Scandalous included. When I was ushered into the dressing room, Adara and Anne Marie were already sitting by a table relaxing with a half gallon bottle of Absolute Vodka.

Xtreme: "Who is Eddie and what does he do?"

Adara Michaels: "He created Scandalous. It was all his idea. All the shows are his ideas."

Xtreme: "It wasn't both of you?"

Adara: "Well, yeah. But he made me a feature first. That lasted three weeks by itself. But he felt two girls is better than one. This girl was nearly identical to me which is why we started the Scandalous Twins. Even Eddie couldn't tell us apart. The funny thing is we were ten years apart in age."

Xtreme: "Your web site suggests do your own bookings instead of relying upon agencies?"

Adara: "Every now and then we have an agent who steps in if we have a good booking."

Xtreme: "Your web site mentions that you spent $100,000 in lighting alone?

Adara: " The lighting, yes. This show is a little reduced. We have at least $30,000 of lights sitting at home we don't even use."

Xtreme: "Why don't you go through an agency?"

Adara: "Why have an agency if I do all the work? If the agents would say, "I've booked a show and I want it to shoot here," I'd say "great". But I'd end up calling the club, I'd send out the promo, I'd find out if there's a dressing room, I would send them the contract, I'd make sure how many shows we had and what time they were, and how to get there. The agent did nothing. They'd call me and say, "This club wants you", and that was it. And I'm supposed to send them 12 %? No."

Xtreme: "12 %?"

Adara: "12 %. If you work for your money I don't mind giving you 15 % but I'm sure as hell not going to give you a cent if you don't do any damn work." Adara suddenly notices I am tape recording our conversation "Are we on a recording?" she asks, as she breaks out laughing.

Xtreme: "I just did the Platinum Club web site and I put this girl up and compared her to a thoroughbred racehorse. I told her on the phone she's got great legs, a perfect waist, flat stomach and a great ass. And how she's got the perfect body. So she's mad and says: "You just called me a horse!" Both twins break out laughing.

Adara: "Oh no!"

Xtreme: "Would you feel insulted if I called you a thoroughbred?"

Adara: "Of course not." Still laughing. "I've been called better and worse things. I understand what you mean. There's a finely tuned machine and everything's working and a lot goes into it. That's us. Scandalous works like a machine. I bring in someone new here, like Anne Marie, and I tell her we are unlike any normal feature show. Most features, bless their hearts, have their theme shows. They have beautiful costumes and you've seen our costumes. It is nothing fancy. We don't pride ourselves on our costumes. We pride ourselves on our lights, our production, our choreography, how we handle ourselves on stage, off stage, in public and the whole persona of Scandalous. That's what we are about. So I bring someone in and they think, "I just go dance on stage and look pretty and dance around to whatever theme and make tips?" No, that's not it. The girl often asks: "There's so much money out there and we can't even take it?" We just have one song at the end of each show where we take tips and then we play games on stage with the guys doing privates so the guys can give us money there whereas other girls nine times out of ten make ten times more money than we do. But that's not what we are about and hopefully we will make our money in other avenues."

Xtreme: "What motivates you to work so hard?"

Adara: "The person behind all that is Eddie. We call him Hitler. Both Adara and Anne Marie, sitting to my left start giggling. "Today we are calling him, General Marshall. He's tough. He's hard. Any of the 14 or 15 partners I've had will be the first to tell you that but he's dedicated to a cause which is Scandalous and he believes in what we are doing and he doesn't want it to falter like everybody else. He wants it to be unique all the time and that's why he never lets his guard down."

Xtreme: "Tonight's first show is different than last night's. I expected to see the same gig."

Adara: "Every show is different. We have twelve choreographs."

Xtreme: "Don't you ever get tired of all this? There's waterfront property for sale down in Belize in Central America which has the best scuba diving and snorkeling in the world. You see 50 feet in the water, you have the Caribbean Trade Wind in your face, and you have your deck facing the setting soon across the water. You can be there barbequing with a little sailboat at your private little dock and just kiss all of this goodbye. Ever think about doing that and just disappearing?"

Adara: "Of course everybody has dreams." Anne Marie echos Adara with an ethusiastic "Yeah". "You think of great things like that. Something for the future and it motivates you even more. But we never could DISAPPEAR although I took six months off and just went bass fishing everyday at Lake Okeechobee , Florida. People would be saying, "Scandalous is just fading away. And Adara Michaels is just fading out. NO. You are Adara Michaels and we are Scandalous. You've always been huge and the name. We can't fade away. We have to tell everybody we are leaving. We have to have that final hurrah."

Xtreme: "You can start your own strip club there."

Adara: "I haven't taught Anne Marie to do the pee thing yet. She has to go to the bathroom. "

Xtreme: "I know a couple dancers who have asked me to go to the bathroom with me. I'm serious."

Adara: (cracking up) "I taught Christy Lake how to pee. Ok. I taught everybody how to pee."

Xtreme: "You look more attractive here than you did out there."

Adara: "What? I have my hair in a bun."
Xtreme: "You are more animated. More natural. And drinking vodka."

Adara: "I am more relaxed. You know we have to have Absolute. We don't have to. We enjoy Absolute. Besides that, we've had a rough last few days. The World's Trade Center got trashed today so we are going to get trashed too."

Eddie: (Hitler walks in) "We have things to do."

Adara: "This is Hitler. He's right behind me."

Xtreme: "Hi Hitler. Can I call you Hitler in the article?"

Eddie: "Nobody cares about me.

Xtreme: "Well, I do. You were my number one question. I've researched your web site and I want to know more about you."

Eddie: "I'm pretty easy going." The entire dressing room breaks out laughing, especially John, their stage hand, who's followed Eddie into the room. "I have one motto and she hates it. It's–"When that job first has begun, Leave it not till it is done, Be it a matter of big or small, Do it well or not at all" Adara chimes in with Eddie on the last four words, "Or not at all." "So if we are going to do a show, we are going to do it right. And I'm going to be Hitler if it takes that to get it done right."

Xtreme: "What do you think it takes to be a successful feature entertainer?"

Adara: "Live with Ed Marshall."

Xtreme: "What do you guys want to do when you retire?

Adara: "Fish."

It had to have been a disappointing week for both Diamond Cabaret and Scandalous as the whole country remained in shock over the Twin Towers atrocity. Americans would stay home pondering an uncertain future. On Thursday a dancer interested in featuring accompanied me to Diamond. Whether performing on stage or mingling with the audience, Adara was all eyes, magnetic and charismatic. As the twins mixed with the audience, Adara's eyes met mine, greeting me as Anne Marie came up to our little table and clasped both my hands warmly in hers. Business wouldn't pick up until Saturday when I watched Eddie standing in front of a control panel intensely manipulating the switches and buttons that controlled the dazzling array of lights and other special effects occurring at the stage. I watched Eddie and the two entertainers take their audience from a stage performance to a consciousness of another time and place–where two blonde goddesses cavorted in a dream world of surrealistic fantasy. As the chemistry grew between the entertainers and their audience the whole mood of the place changed, from one of somber meditation over the tragic events in New York City and Washington to a rampaging partying mood. I had seen and experienced professionalism at its very pinnacle. Anne Marie, Adara's new twin, I found to be consistently warm and engaging. John, Scandalous's stage technician proved to be an exceptionally friendly and helpful Virginian when we discussed the pictures needed for this article. Enough credit cannot be given to Eddie, who can best be described as Scandalous's main mastermind. As for Adara Michaels herself, there's not enough superlatives to describe the warmth, wit, and sense of humor I found in this exceedingly talented gem.

picture of Jack Corbett

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