Mark Rome Set the Stage For Theater in Puerto Vallarta

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Cabaret has Rich History in Vallarta

Drag shows and performing artists have been a part of Puerto Vallarta’s gay scene for more than 24 years, when the Palm Cabaret opened  in 1999.

Mark Rome has been credited as the “father of cabaret” in Puerto Vallarta, which now has a very active theater scene, including The Palm Cabaret and Bar, Incanto, Nacho Daddy Boutique Theater and Act2PV.

At one point Mark Rome and The Palm Cabaret employed both Tracy Parks (owner and founder of Incanto) and Danny Mininni (founder of Act2PV, who died in 2022 at the age of 56). And interestingly enough, before all of that, Danny owned a real estate firm and employed Mark – and it was through Mark who Tammy Carruthers Prust, co-owner of Nacho Daddy, purchased her first home in Puerto Vallarta.

“None of this really was in existence before what Mark did when he opened The Palm,” Tracy Parks told O&APV in a 2018 story on the local entertainment business.”

Mark Rome
Mark Rome

The Palm Cabaret and Bar

Opened in 1999

The Palm Cabaret had an interesting beginning.

Founder Mark Rome told O&APV in a 2018 interview that the plan was to open a bingo hall. And on the week they opened it up, they couldn’t get a license for gambling. 

“They wanted an extra $50,000 dollars. We looked at each other and said, “What are we gonna do now,” he said. “We became a video bar. A bar to go to before you went to Paco Paco. 

We were quite successful and then a guy from Ottawa called Dixie Landers was here on vacation and said, “Can I do a drag show?” So we went to Sam’s Club and bought some big flashlights and those were our show lights. He kept filling the bar, night after night, and then he went home. 

Mark Rome

Then our bar was empty. People would come and say “No show tonight?” We were full before we had him, and after two weeks of a drag show, everybody wanted a show. So we were empty until we asked the local drag queens to come in. That was the only way we could get people back.”

Cabaret in PV

Nacho Daddy

Opened in 2012

Nacho Daddy opened at its current location at 287 Basilio Badillo in 2012 – and at the same time the Boutique Theater had lost their lease,and needed a place. Nacho Daddy had space upstairs and shared the space with the Boutique Theater. The Boutique Theater closed during COVID in 2020 and has not returned. Nacho Daddy continues to have lots of live entertainment on the second floor theater. Nacho Daddy is owned by Tammy Carruthers and Sean Moore. 

Act2 PV

Opened in 2012/2013

In 2012, ACT II Entertainment produced its first show, The Rocky Horror Show, at The Palm. After one season at The Palm, the team decided to find their own space, and made a large investment where the current Act2PV is at the intersection of Basilio Badillo and Insurgentes.   Act2PV opened that space with a grand opening night on November 13, 2013.  

The founding members of Act II Entertainment included Elizabeth Ensor, Danny Mininni, Alain Perreault and David Restivo. As the business changed over the years, it became Act2PV. In 2018, Alfonso Lopez and Oscar Cisneros were named by Mining as partners, and they continue to operate the theater today.

Incanto Theater

Opened in 2017 (This theater closed at the end of October, 2023 with plans to reopen at a new location at some point in the future.)

Incanto Theater opened on January 20, 2017  featuring New York City cabaret legend Michael McAssey performing in the piano bar. The opening of the cabaret theater quickly followed on January 27, with the premier of Luna Rumba Production’s show called Duende..

Tracy Parks, owner of Incanto, was working with his family in an oil field service business before he opened Incanto. Prior to that he was with Lyric Opera and learned arts management.

“I started coming to PV  in 2001, about the time The Palm opened,” he said in the 2018 interview. 

Amazing Performers

Stars Visiting PV

The Palm’s Mark Rome was responsible for booking original performers like Ida Slapter, Carrie Chesnutt, Kim Kuzma, Amy and Freddy. 

And since 1999 Puerto Vallarta has hosted international stars including  Lady Bunny, Jackie Beat, late Cashetta, Coco Peru, Miss Ritchfield 1981, Hedda Lettuce, Mama Tits, Sutton Lee Seymour, Miss Conception, Marla Jean Merman, Chi Chi Rones, and JoAnna. 

Mama Tits (Brian Peters) has been a mainstay performing in PV since 2014.

Hedda Lettuce, known as New York City’s premiere comic queen since 1985, captivates audiences with her whit and unique green look.

Miss Conception celebrates 23 years of performing in n PV, having first arrived here in 2011. She is a true mistress of disguise and is a queen of costume changes. 

The legendary Gouda Gabor has done TV, stage, and performed at most of the theaters in Vallarta, recently calling Incanto her “home”. 

Some other non-drag entertainers who have performed in Puerto Vallarta include Kim Kuzma, Leslie Jordan, Steve Grand, Well Strung, Lorna Luft, and Levi Kreis.

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