The Blue Man Group Theatre
3355 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Blue Man Group at the Venetian is unlike any other show on the Las Vegas Strip. There are no elaborate costumes, no death-defying acrobatics and no scantily clad dancers. There are simply three blue-hued men dressed in black who make music, make you laugh and make you think.
This avant-garde, unorthodox show is part comedy, part performance art and part wacky science experiment, accompanied by a percussion-driven soundtrack. The performers never utter a word, but instead use their eyes, facial expressions and subtle gestures to evoke responses from the audience.
Your first clue that this is no ordinary show is when you are escorted to your seat in the custom-built 1,760-seat theater, handed crepe paper and encouraged to decorate yourself with it…and the adventure is just beginning there. What follows is 90 minutes of fast-paced fun.
The show begins with the Blue Men creating their own brand of unique art by drumming on top of brightly colored paint that splashes onto a blank white paper. They go on to create art by spraying paint from their mouths onto spinning white canvases. The paint comes from rubber balls they toss to each other across the huge stage and catch expertly in their mouths.
Later in the show, a giant video screen is used to explain to the audience how the world is becoming more and more interconnected - not through advances in technology - but by good old fashioned plumbing. What better segue into the group's exploration of PVC pipe as a musical instrument? The Blue Man Group's trademark primitive, tribal percussion sound is generated by a host of specially-designed instruments made from the plastic tubes.
Take for instance the drumbone, which is made from large PVC pipes. As one Blue Man strikes the contraption, another slides sections of it in and out, changing the pitch of the sound, much like a traditional trombone.
Another unique instrument is the Backpack Tubulum, which looks like curvy organ pipes strapped to the Blue Men's backs. The backpacks glow as the Blue Men beat rhythms on them.
Plumbing materials aren't the only unusual instruments the Blue Men use. Believe it or not, they can also make percussion-based music from loudly chewing Cap'n Crunch cereal. Blue Man Group's band, which features seven musicians, also uses some pretty non-traditional instruments including a zither and a Chapman Stick, which looks like the fret of an electric guitar and is played with a tapping motion.
Blue Man Group's show features plenty of wacky, off-the-wall vignettes that will make you laugh, including a tutorial on rock concert moves that everyone needs to know whether they want to become a rock star or just worship one. The show relies heavily on audience reactions - the performers constantly play off and respond to the crowd and there is definitely audience participation.
One of the most spontaneous bits is when a member of the audience is invited on stage to share a snack of Twinkies with the group. The three men watch intently as the volunteer tries to eat the Twinkie with a knife and fork. The Blue Men imitate every move the person makes and they try to get the person to join in on their antics as well. The results are hilarious.
Watching a Blue Man perform is sort of like watching a strange, other-worldly creature explore his surroundings. It also makes you kind of wonder what exactly a Blue Man is and just how someone becomes one.
Blue Man Group was created in New York in the late '80s by three friends, Matt Goldman, Phil Stanton and Chris Wink, who started out performing in the streets and eventually opened their show in an Off-Broadway theater in 1991. They continued to add shows in other cities and debuted in Las Vegas at the Luxor in 2000 before moving to the Venetian in 2005.
Blue Man Group has recorded three albums including the Grammy-nominated "Audio," "The Complex" and "Live At The Venetian - Las Vegas," which is available exclusively on iTunes.
The group also collaborated on the score for the animated motion picture "Robots," for which they created more than 25 new metal percussion instruments to accent the music.
There are always three Blue Men featured in each show and a cast of eight men at the Venetian are constantly rotating in and out of the schedule.
Trying to describe the Blue Man character can be a challenge. Some people believe he's a child, some think he's an alien.
"Blue Man is not an alien in the sense that he's from another planet, but alien in the sense that he's very different than what we've all become," said Matthew Banks, a director and performer who has been with the show for eight years.
KÀ Cirque du Soleil Theatre
3799 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Prepare to leave the real world behind as you enter the KÀ theater. Part Mad Max, part Miyazaki, KÀ's postindustrial theater design transports audiences at the new Cirque du Soleil show into an epic coming-of-age tale in a world full of wonder.
With KÀ, Cirque du Soleil continues to reinvent itself, presenting its first production with a cinematic story line, yet maintaining the flawless imagery, music and acrobatics that fans of the Cirque empire have come to love. The resulting adventure is both exciting and beautiful.
Inspired by the ancient Egyptian concept of ka, a spiritual duplicate, the show tells the story of twins, male and female, who are separated from each other. In their quest to reunite and fulfill their linked destinies, the twins are exposed to the power of duality. Along with their travel companions, a court jester and a nanny, the twins experience duality in every form, from the power of love and conflict to the power of good and evil.
Throughout their journey, the twins must overcome obstacles and elude pursuers, who take the form of archers and spearmen. Their quest takes them through a variety of landscapes, carefully accented by creative lighting, a rotating screen and Cirque's inventive music.
The star of the show is the stage, which first appears bottomless. Then, two extraordinary mechanical platforms rise from the mysterious space, rotate, hang vertical and transform into whatever the scene requires. From a sandy beach populated with playful sea animals to a forest of curious creatures, the set, story and music (piped into every seat back) make you feel as though you are there with the twins, participating in their journey.
With the skillful set and story line, KÀ provides breathtaking moments, from the sheer beauty of the illusion of swimming to the acrobatic abilities of two characters balancing on a rotating "Wheel of Death" high above all others.
Battles occur on various incarnations of the stage and epitomize the famous athleticism and aestheticism of Cirque du Soleil, while effortlessly pushing the inventive envelope. As archers attack, the arrows form foot- and handholds on a tilting stage. Those meeting their demise artfully swing along the arrows on their way down to the dark void. Avoiding danger, others battle in a balletlike dance, hopping around on various heights of tree stumps. And in the final struggle, good and evil collide on a vertical plane as characters fly into formations while fighting.
In an effort to display the duality of the spirit, KÀ makes your spirit rejoice, as a world created in your wildest dreams comes to life.
La Reve Wynn Theater
Wynn Las Vegas
3131 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Le Rêve, the show at Wynn Las Vegas, is a masterpiece just like the Picasso painting it's named after.
French for "the dream," Le Rêve is a stunning journey of the soul. Through amazing acrobatics, aquatics and even flight, it explores concepts of damnation, redemption, lust, love, loss and laughter.
Casino mogul Steve Wynn is an avid art collector so it comes as no surprise that he chose the artistic and creative Le Rêve as the show for his hotel.
Paintings by Johannes Vermeer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Claude Monet, Édouard Manet, Andy Warhol and more have all graced the walls of Wynn Las Vegas.
The show shares its name with a Pablo Picasso painting owned by Wynn. Where the 1932 painting explores a single intimate moment, Picasso's mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter caught in sensual dishabille asleep in a chair, the show explores all the possibilities this single image suggests. The result is a stunning ode to the human spirit that equals the masterwork that supplied it with a name.
"Le Rêve means the dream, and my aim is to create an entirely new universe, to transport the spectators into a unique world where the theater, performance and audience become one and the same reality. To take you on a magical, sacred journey that touches your emotions in a way that is different to anything I have done before," said show creator Franco Dragone.
From the moment you enter the Le Rêve Theater that journey begins. Designed in the round, its circular banks of seats evoke memories of ancient amphitheaters where theater and spectacle were one. The design also serves a practical purpose, ensuring that no seat is more than 12 rows from the liquid stage.
Overhead, a massive domed ceiling houses a bank of digital screens that offer fantastical views of the heavens, while surrounding the audience are three clock towers, like the points on some strange compass.
A recent $8 million renovation serves to reinforce the venue's unique atmosphere. Wynn Las Vegas has made the extraordinary decision to reduce the venue's number of seats from 2,087 to 1,606. This allows the hotel to offer some of the widest and most luxurious theater seats in Vegas.
It also facilitated the creation of the Strip's first ever bottle-service VIP theater seats. Dubbed the Champagne Circle, these seats are only available as part of a special VIP Indulgence package. Guests seated in them enjoy complimentary Perrier-Jouët champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries, plush lounge seating and the ultimate insider's look at Le Rêve a video screen that shows behind-the-scenes, underwater and overhead shots before and during the show.
The remodel also re-imagined the colors and décor of the theater. Gone are the cold blue walls and seats, replaced with deep reds and bronzes a color palette inspired by the Picasso painting. All the changes serve to better unite the show and the theater, erasing the line between stage and audience to the point where you become a part of the dream that is Le Rêve.
3355 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89109
By Kristine McKenzie
When the Venetian resort announced it was spending $40 million to design a custom-built theater for "Phantom of the Opera" and renaming the show "Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular," audiences knew they were going to be getting a little something extra in this version of the popular Broadway musical. Even though the Las Vegas production has been enhanced, fans of the original will not be disappointed. Creator Andrew Lloyd Webber, director Hal Prince, choreographer Gillian Lynne and others from the show's original creative team helped develop "Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular" and pared the show from its original two and a half hours down to one hour 35 minutes. Some dialogue and the intermission have been cut from the original, but all of Webber's well-known songs remain intact.
The things that distinguish the Las Vegas version of "Phantom" from its Broadway counterpart are elaborate new sets and special effects and the 1,800-seat theater, which is itself a spectacle.
Welcome to 19th century Paris
The Venetian employed renowned architect David Rockwell to design the Phantom Theatre, which took 11 months to build. Rockwell's work includes the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood and Nobu restaurant in Las Vegas. The site, which is located in a space formerly occupied by the Guggenheim Museum, had to be completely excavated and the theater was built from the ground up.
Designed to closely resemble the Opera Garnier in Paris, the lavish Phantom Theatre features plush red seats and curtains, gold statues and carvings, a hand-painted ceiling topped with an 80-foot wide dome and opera boxes lining the sides. The opera boxes are inhabited by 70 colorful mannequins, which were built in Belgium. No two are alike and each one is completely outfitted in an authentic period costume.
Those wishing to see the extravagant venue can now go in and view it free of charge every Tuesday - Friday from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
The centerpiece of the theater (and major plot point of the show) is the chandelier, which weighs 2,100 pounds and cost $4.5 million to create. The shimmering chandelier is comprised of 29,444 individual crystals that were hand strung.
In this version of "Phantom," the chandelier hangs in four pieces, which assemble in dramatic fashion during the beginning of the show. The spokes of the ceiling's dome support 32 cables that guide the chandelier into place and it takes 40 individual computers, complete with navigational software, to run the chandelier. During the show's climactic scene, the chandelier falls 45 feet in three seconds and stops only 10 feet above those seated beneath it - an effect that always causes a stir in the audience.
3645 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89109
By Kristine McKenzie
The showgirl is synonymous with Las Vegas and there's no show in town that glorifies showgirls quite like Jubilee! at Bally's.
It's obvious from the opening song about "Hundreds of Girls" that this show is going to be all about the statuesque, sequined beauties. While there aren't quite hundreds of girls in the show, there are about 85 performers -- both topless and covered.
The Jubilee! showgirls are everything you expect to see in a Vegas production show. Bob Mackie (think Cher's elaborate outfits) and Peter Menefee are the show's original costume designers. There are 1,000 different costumes in the show made with 8,000 miles of sequins. The rhinestones used on the costumes are silver-plated Swarovski crystals and the headpieces can weigh up to 35 pounds.
The rhinestones aren't the only things that make Jubilee! sparkle. Besides elaborate costumes, Jubilee! features some pretty elaborate production numbers as well. The massive stage is half the length of a football field and the sets weigh up to 4 tons. The show features technically complicated scenes including a Samson and Delilah number complete with the destruction of the temple and the show's signature number - the sinking of the Titanic.
In between the huge productions, Jubilee! is filled with singing, dancing and some entertaining specialty acts as well. Among the rotating cast of performers are the Long Twins -- two acrobats/contortionists who leave you wondering how it's humanly possible to bend and balance the way they do. Aerialists Stoyan & Dmitri dazzle audiences with their high-flying act and Los Huincas Argentinean Gauchos amaze the audience with their fast-paced drumming and boleadoras twirling.
Jubilee! closes with the requisite grand finale - a top hat and tails number paying tribute to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The act features a mammoth staircase with an endless parade of showgirls dressed in every hue imaginable descending it.
Jubilee! has been a Vegas staple since it opened in 1981 under the direction of Donn Arden, who first brought "Lido de Paris" to Vegas in 1959. "Lido" was one of the first topless shows in town and Arden certainly came up with a winning formula. If you're looking for classic Vegas, Jubilee! is the epitome of the topless production show.
By Pj Pérez
From the moment you enter the Zumanity Theatre at the New York-New York Hotel & Casino, the sense of something "different" surrounds you. A lobby reminiscent of a classic opera house, complete with a winding staircase leading up to balcony seats, creates a sophisticated, alluring feeling. Moving toward the entrance to the theater proper, cushioned walls covered in soft fabric summon you forward, shades of red and blue creating a sensual atmosphere before even being seated.
Inside, the European opera house feeling is reinforced. Unlike other Cirque du Soleil productions, this purpose-built theater -- like Zumanity itself -- does not involve a lot of technical trickery or mechanical constructs. It is intimate and refined, a seemingly simple stage with an extended apron protruding from beneath gorgeous dark red curtains. Winding staircases flank both sides of the stage, leading up to a movable platform for the Zumanity Orchestra -- the interactive house band that provides the live soundtrack for the show.
Well before the show begins, characters appear from all sides, interacting with audience members in their individual, playfully erotic ways. Latin lothario Antonio arouses the interest of women (and some men) with his irresistible gigolo charm, while the lusciously voluptuous Botero Sisters -- in matching risqué maid uniforms -- offer fresh strawberries to audience members, managing to squeeze themselves into tightly packed aisles with comical results.
Zumanity begins organically, with the various preshow characters merging on stage with more of the cast, until the emcee appears to guide the audience through the show, beginning with a brief introduction to each character as they parade down the catwalk to the fanfare of drums and horns.
Unlike recent Cirque productions, Zumanity makes no attempt at a storyline. In true cabaret style, each act stands alone, the only connecting factor being the emcee's narrative songs and jokes. But the elements still come together smoothly, transitions eased by music and subtle set changes.
Despite the warm, sensual atmosphere, Zumanity still features dazzling displays of human capabilities stretched to their limits. Sara Joel and Stéphan Choinière demonstrate amazing strength and balance as they support each other in Kama Sutra-inspired positions. Gyulnara Karaeva and Bolormaa engage in an astonishing display of poise, beauty and skill in and on a giant water bowl. The beautiful Olga Vershinina performs with acrobatic grace high above the stage, suspended only by her own strength and skill upon two lengths of silk.
Mandalay Bay Theatre
3950 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89119
By Caroline Fontein
Mamma Mia! The exclamation point says it all for a show that has high-energy song and dance numbers paired with the beloved music of ABBA for an all-around hand-clapping, toe tapping good time. It has been wowing audiences for over five years as the longest running, most successful Broadway show in Las Vegas.
If you love the music of ABBA, you might find it hard to remain in your seat and refrain from jumping up and singing along with the actors on stage, but what could be better than being able to sing and dance to your favorite music, a live orchestra and some lighting special effects?
Before the show even starts, someone comes on the loudspeaker and jokingly warns the audience that this show contains white spandex, platform boots and feathers in the event that they are not up for a night of excitement and fun.
The show tells the story of a young woman, Sophie and her quest to find her father before her wedding day. She ends up inviting three men and potential fathers without telling her mom, Donna.
A comedic confrontation ensues as the three men, Bill, Harry and Sam, arrive at the hotel ready for a wedding and Donna is confronted with a few skeletons from her past. Luckily she has her sisters there to help her along the way.
Abba's songs are seamlessly integrated throughout the show for non-stop excitement, thrills and a chance to indulge in everything you ever loved about their music. If you like singing along to their songs then this is an amazing opportunity to not only hear the music but delight in a captivating story and the talent of some fabulous performers.
“I Have a Dream,” sung by Sophie, starts the show and then the hits keep rolling out enhanced with bold choreography and the spunky personalities of the different characters in the show. Donna complains about her non-stop work schedule through the song “Money, Money, Money.” She has her first confrontation with the supposed fathers and sings “Mamma Mia.”
Las Vegas shows are a big part of the excitement of this city that never sleeps. Las Vegas draws travelers from all parts of the world to come to this entertainment capitol that is open for business 24 hours a day, which means you'll never run out of things to do in Las Vegas . The infamous Las Vegas Show Girls are the highlight of many musical shows and topless reviews. Their elaborate costumes, singing and aerobic ability combine to create a truly enjoyable Las Vegas entertainment experience.
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