Entertainment » Music

It’s Showtime! Vegas Entertainment Strikes Gold

by Matthew Wexler
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Friday Feb 8, 2013

It may be hard to believe that the Las Vegas Strip - an epicenter of live entertainment - was once an undeveloped part of the city. Ingeniously reinvented by Thomas Hull in 1941, he built El Rancho Vegas Hotel-Casino and presented live entertainment to keep patrons at the property.

The Strip is now home to some of the world's most spectacular acts from the gravity-defying Cirque du Soleil to international superstar Shania Twain. But Vegas is more than a one-street wonder. The recently opened Smith Center for Performing Arts and Fremont Street offer visitors an array of top-tier talent in venues ranging from intimate clubs to grand concert halls.

Don't know where to begin when planning your Vegas entertainment experience? EDGE hits the jackpot with insider information for the hottest tickets on the Strip and beyond.

Shania: Still the One

Shania Twain has set up outpost at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace with her brand new show, Shania: Still the One. As the top-selling female country artist of all time, she has sold a staggering 75 million albums worldwide and has 18 top 10 songs to her credit.

Twain recently received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and her memoir, "From This Moment On," continues to climb The New York Times best sellers list. While you can catch a performance of a lifetime in Vegas, Twain’s behind-the-scenes story is also being captured on her documentary series "Why Not? With Shania Twain" on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.

Click Here for show information and tickets.


The latest surreal creation from Cirque du Soleil recently arrived at ARIA Resort & Casino. Old World theatrics meet spellbinding acrobatics as Cirque’s latest narrative follows a ringmaster and his peculiar collection of circus characters through a world of fantasy and celebration.

Click Here for show information and tickets.

Next page for Michael Jackson, Carlos Santana and more...

Michael Jackson Reimagined

The Estate of Michael Jackson and Cirque du Soleil have joined forces to create touring and permanent shows based on the music and songs of Michael Jackson. This will be the largest-ever music show touring North America and around the world for four non-stop years. The second show will have a permanent home in Las Vegas and will open in 2013 at Mandalay Bay.

Cirque du Soleil President Daniel Lamarre recently told the Las Vegas Sun, "I don’t want to confuse the two Michael shows. They are totally different. None of the acts in the touring show will be used in the theatrical show. They will all be brand new - nothing will have been seen before. He also hinted, "There will be a lot of acrobatic acts, but they will be characters with the storytelling. It will be very different from anything else we have done."

Click Here for production updates.

Carlos Santana

While Vegas has no shortage of spectacle, entertainment options also offer visitors access to legendary musicians in unique settings. Carlos Santana recently launched a two-year run of "An Intimate Evening with Santana: Greatest Hits Live - Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow" in the reconfigured House of Blues at the Mandalay Bay.

Carlos Santana is one of the most iconic guitarists alive, having catapulted onto the scene via San Francisco in the 60s. He has won 10 Grammy awards and the group was inducted into the Rock ’n Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. His most recent album, "Shape Shifter," is an instrumental tour-de-force but so are his philanthropic efforts. His Milagro Foundation has granted more than $5 million in the areas of arts, education and health.

Click Here for show information and tickets.

Next page for "Absinthe," Tim McGraw, Faith Hill and more...


If you’re looking for a truly imaginative evening of live performance, drink the elixir of Absinthe, an experiential carnival that transforms the Roman Plaza at Caesars Palace into a turn of the century European fun house, including a speakeasy and beer garden.

The Spiegeltent pays homage to the heritage wooden show tens of Europe, showcasing mirrors, stained glass and velvet d├ęcor. Captivating from the moment it begins, you’ll wonder if you hallucinated the experience but trust us - it’s all real.

Click Here for show information and tickets.

"Soul2Soul" with Tim McGraw and Faith Hill

The clock is ticking to catch country music’s power couple at The Venetian Las Vegas where they are performing a limited engagement through April 2013. It’s been six years since Tim McGraw and Faith Hill have shared the stage together in the U.S. (though they’ve been married for 15.)

McGraw has been on the music scene for more than 20 years. In addition to his three Grammy Awards, his award shelves include 14 Academy of Country Music Awards, 12 Country Music Association Awards, and 10 American Music Awards.

Not resting on his laurels, McGraw’s latest album explores new musical territory. "I feel like I’ve progressed in my work, and I’ve gotten better," says McGraw. "On my last album, Emotional Traffic, I was discovering some new sounds and new things that I wanted to do, scratching the surface of the direction I wanted to head. This album was a way to reach a little further back, to all that I’d done throughout my career, and bring both sides together-it’s a combination of that discovery, along with some rediscovery."

Faith Hill has her own substantial track record of music stardom. With more than 30 million records sold worldwide, Hill has been able to seamlessly cross genres between pop and country. Fans are eagerly awaiting this year’s release of her first studio album of original music since 2008, tentatively titled "Illusion." Be the first to hear the new songs performed live, along with duets featuring husband McGraw.

Click Here for show information and tickets.

Next page for the best of Broadway, the Smith Center and the Fremont Street Experience...

The Best of Broadway

No longer do you need to rely on the Great White Way for hit theatrical entertainment.

"Rock of Ages"
The Venetian Las Vegas raises the curtain on "Rock of Ages." This huge hit follows the dreams of Drew and Sherrie as they pursue their dreams of love and music set against the backdrop of L.A.’s famous Sunset Strip in the 80s. The score features classic hits including "Every Rose Has Its Thorn," "I Wanna Know What Love Is," "Here I Go Again," "Don’t Stop Believin’" and more.

Click Here for show information and tickets.

"Million Dollar Quartet"
While "Rock of Ages" features mullets and neon spandex, Harrah’s Las Vegas will come alive with the untold story of four rock n’ roll pioneers in "Million Dollar Quartet." Fate brought Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis together on a cold December night in 1954. Experience the recreation of one of the greatest rock ’n roll jam sessions of all time as this hit musical moves into the Harrah’s Showroom in February 2013.

Click Here for show information and tickets.

Big girls, they don’t cry-ay-ay. Why should they when they can ease their sorrows with the golden tones of "Jersey Boys," playing at Paris Las Vegas. This Tony Award-winning musical captures the heart and spirit of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, featuring great such as "Sherry," "Can’t Take My Eyes Off You," and many more.

Click Here for show information and tickets.

The Smith Center and Fremont Street Experience

The Smith Center
Until now most visitors have turned to the Strip for their entertainment options. The Smith Center, an astounding $320 million cultural arts campus is a game changer. The complex includes Reynolds Hall (a 2,500-seat theatre with an orchestra pit capable of seating 1000 musicians), an intimate cabaret space, and a studio theatre. The upcoming Broadway series includes recent revivals of "Anything Goes" and "West Side Story" while the cabaret space will feature the first Las Vegas appearance of Bruce Cockburn, whose 31-album career spans folk, blues, jazz and rock.

Click Here for The Smith Center’s performance schedule.

Fremont Street Experience
For vintage Vegas with a fresh coat of bling, head to Fremont Street where legendary Vegas nightlife began more than a century ago. Today you’ll stumble upon free entertainment where you may discover an array of acts ranging from live music to classic showgirls. You can even zipline over the action or be mesmerized by Viva Vision, the largest video and animation screen in the world, comprised of 12.5 million synchronized LED modules and backed up by a 550,000-watt concert quality sound system.

Click Here to learn more about the Fremont Street Experience.

Can’t make up your mind?
Visit LasVegas.com where you can plan your entire itinerary from hotels to shows and special offers.

Matthew Wexler is EDGE's National Senior Editor of Travel, Lifestyle, Health & Branded Content. More of his writing can be found at www.wexlerwrites.com. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @wexlerwrites.


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