Music at Rivers

Theatre staff programs casino’s entertainment

Arrangement was result of Fair Game coalition efforts 

Proctors has been bringing big-name talent to Schenectady for decades. But in terms of sheer numbers, its programming department may now be responsible for booking more local artists – Top 40 and rock bands, DJs, and jazz groups – than those with national and international reputations.

The band Emerald Dawn and DJ Rashun were the featured entertainment on St. Patrick’s Day 2017 at Van Slyck’s at Rivers Casino.  

Since the Rivers Casino and Resort doors open on Feb. 7, 2017, Proctors has been responsible for hiring all of the entertainment talent for its Van Slyck’s bar and Dukes Chophouse lounge, and it will be responsible for booking the casino’s 10,000-square-foot Event Center and outdoor space as well.

The opportunity came about as a result of the organization of the Upstate Theaters for a Fair Game in 2013, a group which negotiated a compact with the majority of organizations bidding on state casino licenses at the time. The participating casino applicants agreed that they would not build performance spaces larger than 1,000 seats and would share a small percentage of their revenue with local entertainment venues. Proctors CEO Philip Morris was instrumental in forming the coalition.

“It set the stage for a collaboration (with Rivers) that probably was critical for any next step,” Morris told The Daily Gazette in a March 2017 interview. “I think if there was no Fair Game, we probably wouldn’t be doing the booking, and we might be in competitive mode.”

Salvatore Prizio, formerly programming manager at the College of Saint Rose’s Massry Center for the Arts in Albany, joined Proctors in December 2016 as a programming coordinator. Prizio books talent for the casino, and will perform the same role for Universal Preservation Hall in Saratoga once it emerges from 15-month renovation project in 2020.