MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Dozens of Mid-South women are outraged after buying tickets for a traveling male dance show, which was supposed to make a stop in Raleigh Saturday night, only to show up and find the show had been canceled and the venue was shut down.
But instead of a refund, they say they’re getting the runaround.
Its Facebook page dubs it the “Ultimate Magic Mike Experience,” but women hoping for a fun night on the town and a close-up glimpse at some oiled-up abs say they were scammed.
“There was no lights on. Nothing,” said Tina Gill. “Not even a note on the door.”
She and her friend, Melissa Benefield, spent $90 on VIP tickets for Girls Night Out, a national, traveling male dance show that was set to perform at The Stage Stop on Cela Road.
When they got there, the building was empty and there were no dancers.
Gill and Benefield say at least 20 other women showed up around the same time and sat in the parking lot wondering and waiting until well past the scheduled start time.
“One of the girls got out of her car, went to the door and couldn’t get in,” Gill said.
“For everybody to show up and stand out here and I’m thinking, ‘All these people spent all this money. Where is everybody?’ It was unbelievable really,” Benefield said.
For a moment, they had a fleeting glimpse of hope.
“We saw a limo pull in. We thought possibly that might have been the dancers, but it turns out that was just somebody that spent money to make it to the show and they got screwed out of their money, too,” Gill said.
The women immediately went to social media looking for answers.
“We couldn’t find anything out from anybody,” Gill said.
It turns out, the building has been shut down for months.
“I was mad,” Benefield said. “I said a few choice words that I won’t say here.”
When WREG called the Stage Stop Sunday morning, the number was disconnected.
So, we tried the website listed on its Facebook page, but it doesn’t exist.
Then we sent the business a Facebook message and email. The email bounced back.
WREG finally tracked down the owner, Burt Wright, who told us the bar closed for regular business in January, but still holds special events.
He says he was forced to cancel the show because of a death in the family.
“I regret that I had to cancel, but it was something that was unforeseen,” Wright said.
But no one bothered to tell the women who bought tickets, some of whom traveled from out of state for the show.
“He should have let us know,” Gill said. “There should have been something – a post on the event page, something to let us know not to come.”
When asked why he didn’t post something to Facebook alerting ticket holders of the cancellation, Wright said, “I wasn’t able to be there. I couldn’t get up there and do anything. A Facebook post about anything wasn’t on my mind at that particular moment.”
Tina and Melissa say tickets were still being sold up until Saturday night’s scheduled showtime.
Wright didn’t respond to a message asking when his employees and Girls Night Out were informed of the cancellation.
He says Girls Night Out is responsible for handling refunds.
Another woman says she insured her tickets through the website www.bookingprotect.com, but according to its own policy, it doesn’t seem to cover venue closures.
“I think a lot of people were disappointed last night. A lot,” Benefield said.
They say they want their money back or for the show to be rescheduled somewhere else.
“I don’t think any of us are willing to come back this time. Not after this,” Gill said.
In a message Monday, Girls Night Out told WREG it lost $3,000 because of the last-minute cancellation.
“We had received reports a few weeks ago from a few people that Stage Stop had shut down, but when we reached out to management there they told us they’d be opening Stage Stop for special events like ours. They gave us no reason to believe that they wouldn’t be open for the event,” a spokesperson said. “Come the day of the show, they contact us right before showtime and tell us they’re cancelling. We were really disappointed that they cancelled on us… it was going to be a great show.”
Girls Night Out says it is offering refunds or credits for double the amount of the ticket purchase.