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From stages to conventions and everything in between

Tim Sage, technical director for The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, has been a part of the Las Vegas landscape throughout his life and career. Some of his earliest memories include singing the pledge of allegiance at St. Joseph’s Elementary School and banging on anything he could find to serve as a substitute for drums.

Tim SageBorn in to a family where music and literature were a fundamental part of his youth, Tim knew from an early age that his life would take him down the same path.

At only six years old, Tim made his way to the desert searching for lumber in order to build a stage for neighborhood plays. It was around this time that his neighbor Virgil Beck noticed his love and excitement for theater and production. Beck was the head stage hand at the Stardust’s Lido de Paris show and had been a member of the New York local stagehand union. When Tim asked him for help making his stage stop wobbling, Beck observed his enthusiasm and it was the beginning of a life-long mentorship and friendship.

Tim smiled when remembering his eager anticipation for all of his lessons with Beck, where he learned everything from the dynamics of microphones and soldering cables to magnetic loads and the properties of electricity using a hand-cranked generator.

Tim’s love of production stayed the focus of his dreams and career aspirations from elementary school until his high school graduation. After high school, Tim went on the road with a band, helped with stage productions at Clark County Community College and worked at the Professional Music Center.

After travelling around the world on a musician’s world tour, Tim returned to Las Vegas working for his friend’s Advanced Entertainment and special-effects business. In 1983, Tim also became the owner of Sage Tech, a technical services company, where he continued his career working as an independent contractor for a number of theatrical productions and special events.

It was during this busy time in his life when Tim’s career took a turn. Working on a roof above the Golden Nugget’s pool, Tim was connecting pyrotechnic devices when he was approached by the Golden Nugget’s entertainment director with a job offer. Tim’s new role as stage technician marked the beginning of 25 years working for Steve Wynn.

When Wynn sold the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City to fund The Mirage, Tim and his colleagues worked with architects on the specifications of the convention center for the property. The Mirage was the first convention facility with proscenium stages and unistrut in its ballrooms. These are the same amenities built in all Wynn hotels today.

The Mirage opened November 22, 1989, and Tim was responsible for overseeing the convention area and special events. With the opening of Treasure Island in 1993, Tim again assisted with the design criteria for the convention center. Tim’s career continued at the Bellagio, where he served as executive director of entertainment from the time it opened in 1998. Tim then joined Steve Wynn on his signature property, The Wynn, in 2003, prior to its 2005 opening. Tim stayed with Wynn until the end of 2010 when he planned to slow down and spend more time on his music and with his family.

It was by chance that Tim met the vice president and chief operating officer of the Smith Center for the Performing Arts at an industry function shortly before retiring from Wynn. Tim offered his congratulations on the project and the two stayed in touch as the Center broke ground.

Part of the downtown Las Vegas renovation and rejuvenation, The Smith Center for the Performing Arts is designed to be the city’s centerpiece, a world-class performing arts center capable of hosting nearly any event imaginable.

“Las Vegas has been waiting on a building like this for the past 30 years. The Smith Center was a long time coming,” Tim said of the Center, which is located on nearly five acres in downtown’s new urban development, Symphony Park.

Opening March 10, 2012, The Smith Center brought to Las Vegas a performing arts center with the capability of hosting conferences, business meetings, seminars and weddings. The campus includes the 2,050-seat Reynolds Hall, 258-seat Cabaret Jazz club overlooking Symphony Park and the 250-seat Troesh Studio Theater. In addition to performance venues, the Center will also be home to a 1.7-acre park that will serve as an outdoor location.

From Tim’s beginnings as a six-year-old searching for the perfect lumber to build a neighborhood stage to the present where he is serving as technical director to a world-class performing arts venue, Tim has remained humble, grounded and just as passionate about the industry that he loves.

Based in Las Vegas, Edlen Electrical Exhibition Services (www.edlen.com) is the leading independent temporary utility contractor for the tradeshow, convention and special event industry. Director of Sales Julie Pazina can be reached at julie@edlen.com.

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