Lifestyle

The Best Shows and Musicals in Las Vegas

The Beatles LOVE
The Beatles LOVE | Matt Beard
The Beatles LOVE | Matt Beard

So many shows, so little time. Most Las Vegas visitors see at least one production while in town, because you can’t spend all your vacation at an amazing pool party, steakhouse, or craps table. But with so many options, picking which tickets to buy can be an overwhelming proposition. So, we narrowed this list down to the best around the the city, whether you’re into magic, comedy, musicals, or something with a little more skin. Enjoy the show, and don’t forget to tip your server.

Cirque du Soleil
Courtesy of Tomasz Rossa

O by Cirque du Soleil

Bellagio
If you pick just one Cirque show to see while in Vegas, it’s hard to go wrong with this one. It’s basically a high-flying stunt show over water. The production is among the very best on the Strip, even if some of the characters look like extras from Eyes Wide Shut.

Blue Men
Courtesy of Denise Truscello

Blue Man Group

Monte Carlo
Yeah, this show about guys in blue paint banging on stuff has been around forever, but stays current with up-to-date references. It’s one of those productions that keeps re-inventing itself year after year, while proving there’s no limit to how many marshmallows one dude can stuff into his mouth.

Penn & Teller
Courtesy of Penn & Teller

Penn & Teller

Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino
This comedy/magic duo are a natural fit in Vegas, and have been quirkily slaying audiences for years with a show that’s big on illusions and stunts, with a touch of political commentary. They may even show you how a few tricks are done. Just don’t ask ‘em to pull a rabbit out of a hat.

Absinthe
Courtesy of Denise Truscello

Absinthe

Caesars Palace
This raunchy show, located inside a tent steps from Caesars’ front door, will take you back to the days of carnies, freak shows, and snake oil salesmen. Like the drink it’s named after, the show packs an intense punch with risqué humor, stunts, and dances. This is hands down the best show on the Strip.

Le Reve
Courtesy of Tomasz Rossa

Le Reve -- The Dream

Wynn Las Vegas 
It’s Cirque in water, basically, so expect lots of synchronized swimming and diving in a theater-in-the-round designed to keep the audience close to the action. The cast includes an army of bald dudes who look like an ensemble of James Bond villains’ henchmen, flipping and flying above and into the 1.1-million gallon tank.

BAZ – Star Crossed Love

The Venetian
BAZ features musical numbers from the "most romantic" moments in Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge, and The Great Gatsby. Sure, all of those stories end tragically, but this is a fun, flashy production inspired by the perennially over-the-top director.

Michael Jackson ONE
Courtesy of Isaac Brekken

Michael Jackson ONE by Cirque du Soleil

Mandalay Bay
Expect a night full of wild stunts and acrobatics performed to Michael Jackson hits like “Man in the Mirror” and “Beat It” as well as lesser-known ones like “Stranger in Moscow” and “They Don’t Care About Us.” It’s perfect for fans of the gloved icon or people who just want to see professionals do the “Thriller” dance.

Purple Reign

The Westgate
There are lots of tribute shows featuring costumed performers paying homage to famous pop stars alive and dead. Once upon a time it was the Elvis impersonators you simply had to see here, but it’s a changing world we live in, and sadly one without Prince. But we still have Purple Reign, which recreates all the flair of The Purple One’s performances with precision. Step aside, King.

50 Shades! The Parody
Courtesy of Matthew Murphy

50 Shades! The Parody

Bally’s 
This onstage musical spoofs the bestselling book and its suburbanite readers, showing that bondage, raunchy behavior, and lame plot lines can be funnier than you realize.

Mondays Dark

The Space
Twice a month, a variety of musicians, Cirque performers, comedians, celebrity chefs, and more gather at The Space on Monday night (a "dark" night for many local productions) for a variety show that only costs guests $20, all of which goes to benefit local charities. It’s a cheap night out in the up-and-coming DTLV, and no two shows are the same.

The Beatles LOVE
Matt Beard

The Beatles LOVE

The Mirage
Look, we could basically populate this entire list with Cirque shows because they are all fantastic in their own way, but The Beatles LOVE is a favorite for good reason. It celebrates the music of the Fab Four, telling their story through interpretive choreography and medleys that are set to the most psychedelic visuals of all the Cirque productions.

Zombie Burlesque

Planet Hollywood
In case the title didn’t clue you in, this revue involves zombies and burlesque. Set in 1958, the undead have taken over the world, and now they do sexy dances and stand-up routines, with tributes to classic horror flicks.

Mgm Grand
Courtesy of Mgm Grand

Jabbawockeez JREAMZ: Journey Within

MGM Grand
The Jabbawockeez, who rose to fame after winning America's Best Dance Crew, are the only hip-hop dance crew to have a residency in Vegas with this immersive, special effects-heavy series. Expect some mind-bending breakdancing along with a celebration of diversity in a show that is appropriate for all ages.

Elton John
Elton John at The Colosseum | Denise Truscello

Pop star residencies

Various Casinos
Vegas is the place pop stars go into semi-retirement, where careers go to be reborn (for tons of money). The old standbys now are Celine and Elton, both of whom have "ended" their slew of shows only to renew again, while Britney Spears took the mantle of "Most Successful Vegas Residency." J. Lo already extended her popular 2016 residency twice (you can bet on this happening again), while Boyz II Men, Santana, and the Backstreet Boys have a run of dates, and Grammy-winning duo The Chainsmokers inked a three-year deal to frequently play The Wynn.

Piff the Magic Dragon

The Flamingo
If you’re looking for something a bit weirder than Penn & Teller, check out the sarcastic, hilarious Piff the Magic Dragon. A fan favorite from the short-lived Vegas Nocturne at Rose.Rabbit.Lie., the "magic" comedy duo of Piff and Mr. Piffles, “the World's Only Magic Performing Chihuahua,” went on to score fame on America's Got Talent and then this regular show at the Flamingo by mixing his tricks with a wry sense of humor.

Cirque du Soleil
Cirque du Soleil

Zumanity

New York-New York
There are a lot of nudie shows on the Strip, but Zumanity is the best bang for your buck in terms of sexiness. Cirque manages to imbue the production with a sensuality not seen elsewhere on the Strip, thanks to the blend of erotic storytelling and acrobatics. The Champagne bath alone is worth seeing, and you’ll probably leave with a few new ideas for the bedroom.

Vegas! The Show!

Planet Hollywood
When Jubilee! closed in 2016, the era of the Vegas showgirl officially ended. Now the only way to see the closest thing to the real deal is at Vegas! The Show! at Planet Hollywood, a musical about Vegas shows, the most meta of Sin City experiences.

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Nicole Rupersburg lives and writes in Las Vegas and still hasn't seen the Blue Man Group, which is borderline absurd. Check out her adventures on Instagram @eatsdrinksandleaves.