It was nearly unheard of when Chippendales originally launched all-male striptease shows in the late 1970s. Chippendales became the go-to place for many women as these performances gained prominence. However, tensions between the owners behind the scenes led to a tragic saga of murder, attempted murder, and suicide in the years after that.
‘Secrets of the Chippendales,’ a new A&E series, goes into the company’s past and what happened to a successful corporation. If you’re wondering the same thing, don’t worry; we’ve got you covered.
Is “Chippendales” Still Around?
Somen “Steve” Banerjee was the owner of a nightclub in Los Angeles, California, where he hosted the first all-male stripper act in 1979. Over the next two years, it became clear that these events had made the club a highly profitable operation, and Steve, ever the entrepreneur, wanted to build on it. Nick De Noia, a television producer and choreographer, was hired as a result of this.
Chippendales had clubs in multiple states at their peak, and Nick took them on the road with dancers, visiting many locations and putting on a show. In a now-famous napkin arrangement, Steve had signed over the rights to and half of the revenues from touring to Nick.
Nick and Steve’s friendship disintegrated as it became evident that touring was a more profitable venture than running a club. This led to a murder-for-hire plan in which Steve hired someone to kill Nick, which culminated in the choreographer’s death in 1987.
Steve committed suicide in prison in October 1994, just before his planned sentencing hearing, after pleading guilty to the murder-for-hire plot. Chippendales has had a few owners since then, but it is still going strong. It continues to perform concerts at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, with the dancers dressed in their signature bowtie, collar, and shirt cuff attire.
They provide services for bachelorette parties, birthday parties, and other events in addition to the typical shows. Despite the fact that numerous other male revue performances have sprung up since Chippendales’ inception, the latter is still regarded as a classic and draws a significant audience.
The Chippendales’ dancers were also slated to go on a planned world tour, but the COVID-19 outbreak appears to have put a stop to that for the time being.
Chippendales: Who Owns Them Now?
Lou Pearlman, the record producer who founded and handled the Backstreet Boys, purchased the Chippendale brand in the 1990s. Lou tried to make it into a boy band at the time, but it didn’t work out. He was later convicted of fraud and died in prison. According to a 2013 report, Chippendales is owned by a group of New York businessmen.
Aside from the club concerts, the company also distributes licenced items as part of its operations. Christian Banerjee, Steve’s son, is also a stripper who started his own firm, Strippendales, in 2020. He aspires to achieve the same degree of success as his father’s company did in the 1980s.