The Best Shows and Musicals in Las Vegas Right Now
The most mind-blowing acts from magic shows to the Beatles to RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Live shows have come roaring back in Sin City, so for all you revenge travelers out there making up for lost time, these are the best-bang-for-your-buck shows in Vegas—some tried-and-true favorites, some attention-stealing upstarts, some screen-to-stage phenoms, and some deeply weird WTFs. We’re also highlighting the new era of the posh supper club that Vegas has ushered in. As for all the A-list residencies now in Vegas, it’s getting hard to keep up—the residency roster is ever changing, so don’t miss our run-down of the shows you need to see before they’re gone forever. Meanwhile, here are the best shows in Vegas for spring 2022.
People love the Beatles and people who love the Beatles love this show. The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil is effectively the visual companion to the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s days, by which we mean their psychedelic drug days. Seriously, does anyone actually buy John Lennon’s claim that “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” isn’t about LSD? We rest our case. Since the future of The Mirage is a Hard Rock Hotel conversion, the future of this show is up in the air (lol get it, because acrobats and aerialists?!?), so this is definitely one you want to see before it’s gone forever (or moved to a different theater in a different property on the Strip).
Luxor Hotel & Casino
One criticism of some of the longest-running shows on the Strip is that, after five nights a week for 10 or 15 or 25 years or so, the schtick can get a little stale. You never have to worry about that with AGT Las Vegas LIVE at the Luxor, where the talent lineup is always changing, drawing from AGT’s deep well of talent, including thrill acts, comedians, magicians, musicians, singers, and acrobats. It also makes sense that AGT would launch a permanent show on the Strip, after several current Strip performers first came to national fame on that very same show (including Piff the Magic Dragon, below). So, go see this show, and maybe get a sneak peek at a future Vegas headliner!
Bally’s Las Vegas
Showgirls are back on stage in their longtime home of the Jubilee Theater inside Bally’s with the new-ish show EXTRAVAGANZA. This time around it’s a little different, though…this is a family-friendly production, so the showgirls keep their sparkly tops on. This production also has acrobats, aerialists, circus acts, motorcyclists, comedians, and tributes to some of the most famous acts to ever headline the Las Vegas Strip: Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, and Elvis. EXTRAVAGANZA had the extremely unfortunate timing of holding its only preview show on March 14, 2020…yeah. But against all odds, it soldiered on to open late that year under extremely limited capacity, and has continued, gaining popular momentum with its grab-bag PG approach to the Vegas revue.
The new era of the Vegas supper club
Dinner and a show is a classic go-to night-out combo, and the concept of dinner and a show— as in, at the same place, simultaneously—isn’t anything new, either. But this modern era of the Las Vegas supper club that we currently find ourselves in is really unlike anything that came before it, at least in Vegas. The venues are some of the most sumptuously designed spaces in Sin City; the revolving roster of singers, dancers, and musicians that perform throughout the night put on some of the best shows you’ll see on the Strip. And the food is some of the most decadent and extravagant of any restaurant in a city where decadent and extravagant are the baseline.
At the Mayfair Supper Club inside the Bellagio, the Golden Age of Jazz lives on seven nights a week in an opulent venue that opens up to the iconic Bellagio Fountains. Mayfair is really the most painstakingly posh of the bunch, where every element is meant to be evocative of a glamorous bygone era, and the experience is truly transportive. At Delilah inside the Wynn, 1920s Old Hollywood glam meets 2020s new Hollywood. As in celebrities. Celebrities hang out here, and so do people who like to be around celebrities, and celebrities will also randomly take the stage here with no prior announcement (like The Weeknd, or Doja Cat, or 50 Cent, or…John Fogerty(!?)). It’s a vibe, and it’s a place where saying “It’s a vibe” is a vibe. At Superfrico, the vibe is “Italian American psychedelic,” and because you’re already asking “?” just scroll a couple clicks down this article, look for the section on Spiegelworld, and understand that this is a restaurant that comes from the Spiegelmind. The classic Italian comfort food with a disco twist is enough to put this place at the top of any “best Vegas restaurants'' list, but it’s the wandering performers from the Haus of Spiegel who perform tableside that really seal the deal for Superfrico as your new Vegas bucket list experience. (There is also a year-round Ski Lodge.)
Speaking of Vegas headliners that started as AGT acts! iLUMINATE is the brainchild of dancer/choreographer and software engineer, Miral Kotb, who was able to fuse her two professional and creative passions into a wholly unique form of dance troupe, where the performers all wear custom LED suits and dance in the dark. Wireless lighting programs set to original choreography create spectacular lighting effects for a show that is as much illusion and it is dance, with a hearty dose of comedy and whimsy thrown in. iLUMINATE is a fascinating exploration of the blending of movement with technology, and the truly incredible sensory experience it can produce.
Literally anything from Spiegelworld
Welcome to Las Vegas, aka the Spiegelverse, which started with Absinthe’s debut over a decade ago in the big top in front of Caesars Palace and has since metastasized all over Sin City (and soon also Atlantic City and New Orleans!). Spiegelworld is the anti-matter Cirque, the yin to Cirque’s yang, the pebble—nay, shard of glass—inside Cirque’s shoe. At this point, the Vegas audience is accustomed to seeing acrobats, aerialists, and contortionists in shows; while Cirque’s brand is colorful and whimsical and usually kid-friendly (Zumanity aside, RIP), Spiegelworld’s brand—which currently includes Absinthe, Atomic Saloon Show, and OPIUM—is booze-soaked seedy 1970s peep show meets sleazy spaghetti western meets space odyssey porn parody, respectively. Actually, the “booze-soaked seedy 1970s peep show” part may be getting ahead of itself—add a healthy dose of glitter and Studio 54 sleaze and that’s more likely to be the new DiscoShow set to open inside The LINQ later this year. There are a lot of talented performers and great shows in Vegas, but Spiegelworld’s are unlike anything else you’ve ever seen.
There is a little bit of “if you’ve seen one…” with Cirque shows. There are only so many ways to experience colorfully costumed characters performing incredible physical feats against jaw-dropping set pieces, larger-than-life props, and mind-blowing multimedia effects…right?? Clearly you haven’t seen ONE. Honestly, you don’t even need to like the music of Michael Jackson to be utterly blown away by this show.
Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino
Penn & Teller have been headlining Las Vegas for longer than most of you reading this have been alive, and you should go see them to pay respect to your elders and also to see for yourselves exactly why this dynamic illusionist duo have been successfully headlining in Vegas for the last three decades. Theirs is the longest-running residency in Las Vegas history, and their unique blend of timeless magic and timely comedy keeps fans coming back time and time again.
If Penn & Teller represent the magical monarchy of Las Vegas, then Piff the Magic Dragon is the Shakespearean fool…and not just because he actually appeared in an episode of Penn & Teller: Fool Us (spoiler: he very nearly did!). Much like history’s greatest jesters, Piff uses self-deprecating humor to serve his own purposes and wears a ridiculous costume that distracts attention away from his stunning stage work. Mr. Piffles, the world’s only magic-performing chihuahua, also provides plenty of audience distraction as Piff performs the kind of illusions that might leave you thinking, “This guy? In the dragon costume??” His piercing-sharp humor makes him all the more suited to make a mockery out of the more ridiculous stereotypes of stage magic (and magicians).
The second-longest-running Cirque show in Las Vegas, “O” takes the classic Cirque formula—circus performers; vibrant, colorful costumes; lots of whimsical and fantastical elements—and puts it in a 1.5-million-gallon pool, adding divers, synchronized swimmers, and other aquatic performances to the equation.
Legends in Concert, the longest-running and most-awarded show in Las Vegas hosted by the Strip’s longest-running headliner (Marino, here as legendary comedy diva Joan Rivers), is currently running a brand-new female-focused show called Legendary Divas. Some of the world’s greatest tribute artists will bring some of your favorite pop and R&B divas to life, including Adele, Celine Dion, Cher, and Lady Gaga—and, given the postponements of their highly anticipated new residencies, this will be the only chance you’ll have to see Adele or Celine in Vegas any time soon.
Speaking of queens: the fiercest queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race can be seen slaying at their very own show at the Flamingo, and these “showgirls” know how to WERK. RuPaul’s Drag Race LIVE! is an original production based on the Emmy Award-winning reality competition with original numbers, costumes, and choreography. Sashay! Shante!
SAHARA Las Vegas
Las Vegas is a place of equal-opportunity sexy shows with varying degrees of nudity—the Chippendales have long been mainstays at The Rio, and there are plenty of similarly ab-centric shows from Thunder from Down Under, Aussie Heat, etc. Magic Mike Live is different. This is a full-blown theatrical production, not just a glute-clenching, ab-flexing, all-male beefcake parade. It is, dare we say, classier, and sexier for it, with fully choreographed dance numbers, super-sexy audience member seductions, and an overall sex-positive message that celebrates female desire. There is still plenty of glute-clenching and ab-flexing, but this show also has heart.
We’re not going to lie: Criss Angel’s “evil” persona is cheesy. MINDFREAK is cheesy. But…it’s also super fun. Look, there are a lot of magic shows in Vegas, including a few on this list. And we, the magic-show-viewing audience, know it’s all BS. We know the most convincing levitation and conjuring and vanishing illusions are the stuff of, literally, smoke and mirrors (and wires and trap doors). But even then, even knowing that, a show like MINDFREAK still impresses and entertains, especially when you add in all the talented dancers, contortionists, musicians, and pyrotechnics surrounding Angel. Is it cheesy? Yes, but you will enjoy it all the same. Angel has a brand-new companion show debuting in April called AMYSTIKA, the “prequel” to MINDFREAK, which will run at 10 p.m. after MINDFREAK at 7 p.m. (same nights, same theater), so you can make it a mind-melting Criss Angel double-header.