For every hotel on the Las Vegas Strip, there are at least three different kinds of entertainment acts. It varies by hotel, but at each one you’re bound to run into some kind of lounge act, comedy club, diva, impersonator, concert, puppet show, showgirl or acrobat. With so many choices at your fingertips in the Entertainment Capital of the World, it can be hard to narrow down what to see while you’re on vacation. Below are five of the best shows to see on the Las Vegas Strip; some will make you laugh, and others will leave you in awe.
Seven Shows to See on The Strip
Mystère is a Las Vegas classic. It is the longest-running resident Cirque du Soleil in the United States, first raising its curtains in 1993 inside Treasure Island. It is a ninety-minute show that tells the story of the circle of life, set against colorful backdrops and filled with a vibrant and eclectic cast of characters and performers. Mystère culminates in one final celebration of life, dance, art and music with a giant caterpillar puppet that has been seen in the feature film Knocked Up. One nice thing about the Mystère theatre is that no matter where you sit, you get a decent view of the stage and the performers. My favorite acts are the aerial silks and the hand-to-hand balancing, the latter of which has been a part of the show since its beginning. Mystère is very family-friendly, unlike many other shows on the Strip. It’s also the most budget-friendly Cirque show; tickets average at around 100 per person depending on your seats. Las Vegas locals get great discounts for this show, so if you know a local ask them to hook it up.
Blue Man Group.
Blue Man Group is another staple, even though it’s more of an experience than a show with a linear storyline. The show has migrated from hotel to hotel throughout its run, but for now it is located inside The Luxor. The Blue Man Group has been playing the drums and splashing paint on the Las Vegas Strip off and on for the last 11 years, and they have always managed to keep the show innovative and entertaining. The Blue Man Group puts on a show full of video clips, wind, rain, neon paint and live music that leaves its audience breathless by the end. One important thing to know if you go to this show is that if you sit in the very front, it’s likely you will get pulled on stage, or wet. The theater provides ponchos for those in the potentially hazardous rows, but you’ll want to choose your attire accordingly just to be safe. Another thing worth nothing – the Blue Man performers comes out to meet and greet the audience after the show, which doesn’t happen very often on the Strip. Tickets for Blue Man Group start at 85.00 per person.
Terry Fator has been talking with his hands on the Las Vegas Strip since 2008 with his lovable cast of puppets. A longtime resident at the Mirage Hotel & Casino, he entertains his audience throughout the week with a troupe of wild and sometimes naughty puppets. The lineup includes a cowboy, a turtle, a cougar and a crash test dummy. If you’re a big fan of Jeff Dunham or Avenue Q, chances are Terry Fator will be right up your alley. Personally I would recommend another show for this price range, but it’s still makes for a fun night out with your spouse, especially if you see it using the dinner and show combo package that Mirage offers. Tickets range from 65-140.00 and shows nightly Monday through Thursday every week.
“O” by Cirque du Soleil.
‘O’ is one of the most recognizable Cirque shows across the world, and that is due in part to its long run and feature in Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away. “O” has been performing nightly at the Bellagio since 1998, and it shows no signs of slowing down. The delicate baroque design to the set and costumes sets it apart from its sister shows on the Strip, as well as its watery stage. Like Mystère, “O” doesn’t have a distinguishable plot, but from the curtain’s opening we follow a young man in search of a young woman who has captured his heart. He meets the strange and surreal cast of characters of “O” along the way, including clowns, contortionists, and fire jugglers. “O” is one of the only Las Vegas Strip shows that offer backstage tours, so audience members can see the unique complexity of a show that takes place mostly in water. It’s more expensive than most other Cirque shows in terms of ticket prices, but if you’ve got the budget for it then it’s a must see. There is no official dress code to get into the “O” Theater, but dress attire is strongly encouraged. Tickets prices range from 99-207.00 and the show is dark from October 9-11, and November 28-December 13 for the rest of the year.
Divas Las Vegas starring Frank Marino.
Frank Marino is yet another classic performer that still graces the Las Vegas Strip after nearly 30 years. The razor-sharp female impersonator headlines a drag show that features performers such as Madonna, Cher, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Whitney Houston and Dolly Parton. In a city that likes to remodel and implode and stay current, Frank Marino has managed to keep his place as one of the most beloved local entertainers. Like the Blue Man Group, Frank Marino has had to migrate from hotel to hotel, but now he and his cast of divas call the LINQ home. While Frank is named as the star of the show, I was surprised to find the show is not all about him; he emcees the entire evening, but most of the stage time is dedicated to his troupe of classic and modern divas. Tina Turner may get out in the audience and shake a tailfeather, but the rendition of “What Makes a Man a Man?” will bring the audience to tears. An important thing to know about this show is that it is not set up with actual theater style seating; if you get front row seats you’ll most likely be sitting at a table with strangers. If you sit in the back of the showroom, you’ll likely share a dining booth with strangers. Frank Marino and the rest of the divas perform inside the LINQ nightly and tickets start at 25.00.
Zombie Burlesque is a newer addition to Planet Hollywood, but it’s earned its place among the top shows on the Las Vegas Strip. Zombie Burlesque takes its audience back to a simple time, a time when zombies ruled the Earth and the humans had to make deals to survive. The club’s host, an eccentric zombie with a wicked sense of humor takes the audience through an evening full of awe-inspiring acrobatics, mind-bending contortion and the best rendition of “Tiny Bubbles” that has graced the Las Vegas Strip. It’s unique, it’s funny, it’s sexy and it’s entertaining from beginning to end. If you like zombie movies, John Waters or girls in pasties, Zombie Burlesque will be worth every penny. Tickets for Zombie Burlesque start about 35.00 USD but Living Social coupons pop up for this show on a regular basis. Keep in mind that there are no assigned seats in the “V” theater; unless you pay for VIP tickets, the entire showroom is first come, first served.
This list starts and ends with two very different kinds of Cirque shows. Where Mystere is full of wonder and life, Zumanity is all about sex. Zumanity is billed often as “the other side of Cirque du Soleil”, and it does not disappoint. The show is an exploration and celebration of sexuality, and it manages to do so without ever seeming gratuitous or excessive. While you will get a decent view from anywhere inside the Zumanity theater, I recommend spending the extra money for closer seats. This show is highly interactive however, so keep that in mind if you are the least bit shy. Each act, from the aerialist wrapped in bondage straps to the girls swimming and playing in the water bowl act, evokes sensuality and desire from the audience and the others on stage. The cast of Zumanity includes a gigolo that will try every trick to steal your girl, two Botero sisters that will do the same your man, a wind goddess and a dominatrix. Zumanity performs Fridays – Tuesdays and ticket prices range from 88-130 dollars.