Meet: David King:

Being a showstopper requires a little risk taking

Tom Donoghue / Courtesy Photo

David King, center, CEO of Spirit Productions, poses with one of the dancers from his third show in Las Vegas at the New York-New York called “Shades of Temptation.”

David King

David King, center, CEO of Spirit Productions, poses with dancers from his third show in Las Vegas at the New York-New York called Launch slideshow »

Name: David King

Company: Spirit Productions

Title: CEO

What’s new with your company?

I just opened my third show, “Shades of Temptation,” at the Broadway Theater at New York-New York. I am really quite excited about this addition to the productions we already offer in Las Vegas: “Dancing Queen” and “Broadway Celebration.”

What is the best business advice you’ve received, and from whom did it come?

Develop your own identity. It probably first came from my parents.

When I started “Spirit of the Dance” in 1996, “Riverdance” already was an international sensation. I knew that if I created the same show, it wouldn’t have lasted three months. I took the decision very early on that “Spirit of the Dance” would have its own identity and break new ground. That’s why the show is based around the international world of dance, and it incorporates dance styles from around the globe: salsa, flamenco, ballet, ballroom, tap, jazz and much more.

“Spirit of the Dance” was the first show I had ever made. It became a massive, monster hit overnight. Within two years, it was the biggest dance show in the world, with 14 troupes of dancers performing my show in 14 countries on the same night. Today, it has been seen by more than 30 million people worldwide.

Describe your management style.

I would describe it as fostering a team effort. To put together a great show and give audiences an extraordinary experience, everyone has to be fully, 100 percent committed. I am open to ideas, and everyone has a say. As a result, we all put our hearts and souls into every performance.

What challenges do you face doing business here?

Las Vegas is a very competitive market. The city offers a seemingly endless variety of really good shows. Because of that, it’s important not only to produce a great and unique show but also to provide an exciting entertainment experience that makes audiences smile.

What’s the best part about living in Las Vegas?

The people. I have met the most incredible audiences.

Like New York City, Las Vegas is blessed with ’round-the-clock entertainment. Because of that, the people are very savvy and will let you know what they like and don’t like.

If you could change one thing about Las Vegas, what would it be?

I would, and will, bring even more wonderful shows to this town.

What are you reading right now?

“Vegas Knockout” by P Moss. It’s a novel someone gave me about the biggest boxing match in a century coming to Las Vegas and the unique people, visiting and local alike, who make up the city.

What do you do after work?

Depends on the city and the day. It’s difficult when I am launching a new show to find time to do everything I would like. I definitely enjoy taking advantage of all the great restaurants the city has to offer. And of course, entertainment is in my blood, so I really do enjoy taking in as many shows as possible.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Doing exactly what I am doing now. The feeling I get when I see and hear the joy and delight of audiences all over the world is simply the best feeling imaginable. It makes all the endless hours and sleepless nights worthwhile.

Blackberry, iPhone or Android?


What is your dream job, outside of your current field?

I couldn’t see myself outside of my current field. Perhaps I could be involved in it differently, but the truth is, my biggest thrill still comes from standing at the back of the theater and watching audiences of different nationalities and different countries screaming and applauding. That gives me satisfaction beyond my wildest expectations. In reality, I am the luckiest man in the world, living my dream.

Whom do you admire and why?

I admire all of the tremendous talent I’ve been fortunate to work with over the years. I get such a thrill when the world’s biggest stars call me by my first name, and many of them have become my close friends.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

People who don’t take risks to achieve their dreams. The risks, the gambles I took, were done because something inside of me was telling me I simply had to do it.

What is something people might not know about you?

When I was 7 years old, I was a child prodigy on the piano, giving classical concerts and entertaining everywhere.

On weekends, my uncles and cousins would all come to my parents’ house and there was constantly music. We would play the piano, clarinet, drums, ukuleles and a host of other instruments. It was really quite magical.

Anything else you want to tell us?

There comes a time in every person’s life when he or she has to take a chance to achieve a dream. When that moment comes, use every ounce of talent and skill inside of you to bring that dream to fruition. The joy that comes from it is simply the best feeling imaginable.