Las Vegas

The very name Las Vegas has been synonymous with a certain style of showbiz ever since Jimmy Durante first headlined at Bugsy Siegel's Flamingo Hotel in 1946. Through the years this entertainment mecca has redefined itself a number of times, but one thing has remained consistent: doing things big.

The star power that made the old "supper club" days glitter with names like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin is making a latter-day comeback in showcases by veteran concert acts Rod Stewart and Elton John. Nationally known performers such as Penn & Teller and Boyz II Men have come to roost on the Strip after years of living out of a suitcase. While Jubilee! hangs in there as a shimmering example of the "feather shows" that made an icon of the showgirl, Cirque du Soleil dominates the Strip with its technologically advanced shows presenting little or no language barrier to the city's large numbers of international tourists. Contemporary entries such as the break-dancing Jabbawockeez try to lure younger audiences the nightclubs have skimmed from the ticketed shows.

In the not-so-olden days, shows were loss leaders intended to draw patrons who would eventually wind up in the casino. Nowadays the accounting's separate and it can cost you more than $100 to see name performers such as Donny and Marie Osmond and $250 for Celine Dion. Meanwhile, the lesser names and production shows that run year-round have become a confusing, "never pay face value" circus of discount outlets and offers.

The new generation of resident headliners ranges from ventriloquist Terry Fator to "mindfreak" Criss Angel to pop star Britney Spears. There’s still no other place in the world to find such a concentration of female impersonators, "dirty" dancers, magicians, and comedians—all continuing the razzle-dazzle tradition Las Vegas has popularized for the world.

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  • 1. Las Vegas Little Theatre

    West Side | Theater

    Las Vegas's oldest community theater has branched out beyond the Neil Simon basics. Its mainstage season is augmented by a black-box season...Read More

  • 2. Orleans Arena

    West Side | Arts Centers

    The Orleans Arena plays to locals with such family favorites as the Harlem Globetrotters and ice shows. When it comes to concert acts, the Orleans...Read More

  • 3. Orleans Showroom

    West Side | Arts Centers

    A superwide stage (originally designed to lure TV production) highlights this 800-seat room slightly west of the Strip, which draws almost an...Read More

  • 4. Pearl Concert Theater

    West Side | Arts Centers

    The Palms set out to make its 2,500-capacity music hall better than both the original Joint at the Hard Rock and the House of Blues at Mandalay...Read More

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