Comic musician Sarah Hester Ross is ready to get back behind the keys
Wednesday, June 10, 2020 | 2 a.m.
When her Strip gigs were paused by the pandemic, Sarah Hester Ross took to TikTok, the video-sharing social network known for millions of short lip-sync and dance videos posted by teens.
“I should know better. I am a grown woman,” she jokes. “But it’s [become] my biggest creative outlet. I am having a blast and it’s forcing me to create new things almost every day. I’m constantly writing down ideas and bits for songs and really enjoying it.”
Normally Ross would be spending her rare downtime learning new songs to sing and play on piano as she’s a regular performer at the Bar at Times Square at New York-New York. The dueling piano show there is a veritable Vegas institution, and it requires not only musical proficiency, but extensive knowledge of classic tunes and new popular tracks that will be requested by the party-ready audience.
“When it comes to [creating] music, I don’t have a lot of time. But with my job on hold, I have so much time and it’s kind of blowing my mind,” she says.
Her quick comedy tunes have garnered more than 110,000 followers and 1.1 million likes on TikTok, and she’s using the platform to drive new fans to her YouTube and Spotify pages, also stocked with videos and original music. If you think she’s on a roll now, wait until she’s back onstage.
“I’m the only girl that works at the Bar at Times Square. It’s kind of a boys club and I love the boys, but it’s … an honor that they trust me and I’m able to hold my own with these amazing, talented players,” Ross says. “Some of them have been playing this bar since it opened 22 years ago. It’s super fun, it’s different every night and it’s a blast. I love my job.”
The Florida native has been living and working in Las Vegas for seven years and has also played the Piano Bar at Harrah’s, the Big Bang Bar at Excalibur and previously took a turn in “Raiding the Rock Vault” when it was at Westgate Las Vegas, when the property was known as LVH. She also created her own show, “Pianos to the Death,” which she describes as a cross between dueling pianos and the Arnold Schwarzenegger futuristic action movie “The Running Man.”
For Ross, it’s all about combining music and comedy and playing off the crowd’s energy.
“I always did musical theater and comedy characters came naturally to me, but I never started doing my own type of comedy and writing and improv stuff until dueling pianos,” she says. “And I love it. It’s given me my revelation that, oh, I’m funny, and I like it.”
Listen to this and more on the Sun on the Strip, also available at Apple Podcasts.