It started out as a small idea. What if off-duty Sin City performers got together once a month to put on a show...and donate all the proceeds to charity? A simple and brilliant premise indeed, and one that has grown far bigger than anyone could have ever anticipated.

Mondays Dark just celebrated five wildly successful years of giving back by holding their annual wrap-up at The Joint inside Hard Rock Hotel. And just like on the night of its very first appearance, singers, comedians, dancers and magicians used their free time (many shows go dark on the slowest night of the week) to come together and raise money for a wide variety of worthy causes.

According to creator Mark Shunock, Mondays Dark was a very basic premise with the potential to do very big things. Coming from Los Angeles to take a lead role in The Venetian's Rock of Ages, the native Canadian quickly fell in love with Sin City, and desired to do something positive for the residents of his new home. Tickets would start at $20, and each monthly show would be completely different. The goal was to regularly raise $10,000.00 for the community.

It wasn't long before Mondays Dark outgrew its home at Hard Rock’s Vinyl (and Body English before that). So Mark and his team were inspired to create The Space, a multi-purpose community-driven performance venue just across the interstate from Aria and Cosmopolitan. The overwhelming success of The Space (a converted warehouse) allowed for an increase in the frequency of Mondays Dark events. As year number six begins, a total of one million dollars in donations will soon be reached.

As in previous anniversary celebrations, 2018's recipients filled The Joint's 2,000-seat venue with cheers as each organization was introduced. Next, Shunock revealed the list of the coming year's beneficiaries. A total of twenty-one not-for-profits will share in the goodwill and generosity of Mondays Dark, its sponsors and – of course – the ticket-buyers who attend each performance.

The 5th Anniversary of Mondays Dark was much more than an opportunity to extend thanks, raise awareness (and additional funds) and acknowledge those who make it possible. It was also packed with exciting entertainment, some familiar and some fresh.

With Shunock as emcee, co-host Jassen Allen joined popular musical director Kenny Davidsen (who has his own cabaret gig at Tuscany Resort) for 90 minutes of laughs, music and magic. America's Got Talent finalist Daniel Emmet, Harrah's Tenors of Rock, astounding Donald Trump impersonator John DiDomenico, Golden Knights’ Drumbots and Michael Shapiro's Reckless in Vegas all took turns at wowing the crowd.

Along with the entertainment, attendees enjoyed the opportunity to bid on a wide array of products, show tickets, memorabilia and services, all donated by sponsoring corporations and individuals. From autographed Raiders jerseys and spa gift baskets to a Paul Reed Smith custom guitar and hotel stays, there was something to appeal to every taste.

The silent auction raised several thousand in donations, helping to ensure that Mark Shunock's philanthropic events could continue through the coming year and far beyond.

Packed with talent and a never-ending array of surprise guests, each Mondays Dark is centered around a specific theme. Disney classics, Beatles anthems and Bruno Mars have all gotten the Mondays Dark treatment from cast members of shows like BAZ, Raiding the Rock Vault, Zumanity and Jubilee. For Vegas visitors looking for something unique to do, Mondays Dark is a brilliant entertainment option. 

(Photos: Sam Novak)