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This category covers all the major Las Vegas production shows, and a few of the minor ones as well. Note that shows can close without warning, even ones that have been running just shy of forever, so please call first. You might also want to double-check on days and times of performances; schedules can change without notice. Note: Most ticket prices do not include taxes, fees, or drinks, so you might also check for those potential hidden costs.

Hot Tips! -- Tix4Tonight (www.tix4tonight.com; [tel] 877/849-4868) is a service that puts unsold seats for that evening on sale for as little as half the usual ticket price. There is no way to know in advance what shows will have tickets available for that evening, so the very nature of the service means you can’t plan; you have to stand in line and take your chances. Sales start at 10am, but lines start forming well ahead of that. Although many of the tickets offered are for the B- and C-level shows, some of the bigger productions, like those from Cirque du Soleil and Penn & Teller, will sometimes have discounted tickets. Note that they may not be half-price and they may not be the best seats. So if you have your heart set on a specific show or a specific seat, don’t rely on Tix4Tonight, but if, like a good gambler, you like taking chances, head for any of their nine Las Vegas locations, including the one at 3785 Las Vegas Blvd. S. (in the giant Coke bottle, at the Showcase Mall).

Options are a good thing and Caesars Entertainment is offering 18 of them for one price. Their All Stage Pass allows Vegas visitors to pay $99 (with free membership to their Total Rewards players' club) for the opportunity to see as many of their shows as possible in 48 hours. This includes productions like Chippendales, Jubilee!, Divas Las Vegas, Legends in Concert, Mac King, Human Nature, and more. If you're really committed you could see a couple of afternoon shows and both an early and late evening show during your two days and save hundreds of dollars, but even if you only see two or three you're probably still coming out ahead. Note that you don't get the best seats, and high-end shows at Caesars Entertainment hotels like Céline Dion, Donny and Marie, and Barry Manilow are not included. You must purchase the passes in person at the Show Tickets Direct box office at Bally's, Caesars Palace, or Planet Hollywood (no phone orders, sorry). For more information visit www.caesars.com/allstagepass/index.html.

Family-Friendly Shows

Appropriate shows for kids include the following:

  • Cirque du Soleil's KÀ, at the MGM Grand
  • Cirque du Soleil's LOVE, at The Mirage
  • Cirque du Soleil's Mystère, at Treasure Island
  • David Copperfield, at Treasure Isalnd
  • Mac King, at Harrah's
  • Tournament of Kings, at Excalibur

Bachelorette Party Shows

Las Vegas gained its Sin City reputation for gambling, free-flowing alcohol, and entertainment that often involved big, feathered headdresses and bare breasts. But women also get their titillation in Sin City. Of the several beefcake revues in town, Chippendales ★ at The Rio, 3700 W. Flamingo (www.chippendales.com; [tel] 855/234-7469; nightly 8:30pm with an additional 10:30pm show Thurs–Sat; tickets $50–$73) gets the most attention simply because of its well-known brand name. The show ticks all of the boxes: insanely handsome and fit men; fantasy fulfillment sketches featuring the guys as cowboys and firemen and the like; and an audience of (mostly) women who go quite, quite crazy. Bring earplugs because the screaming is non-stop. Check the website for frequent guest appearances by “famous” hunks like Tyson Beckford, Ian Ziering or Antonio Sabato, Jr. (it’s okay if you don’t know who they are).

If we were the ones screaming for more skin, we’d probably do so for the hunks of Thunder from Down Under ★★ at Excalibur, 3850 Las Vegas Blvd. S. Flamingo (www.thunderfromdownunder.com; [tel] 702/597-7600; Mon–Wed at 9pm; Thurs and Sun at 9 and 11pm; and Fri and Sat at 7, 9, and 11pm; tickets $51–$71). It’s not that the guys are any hotter or the dancing any better, but this production has an edgier, anything-could-happen vibe that amps up the energy and the fun. Plus, the guys here are all Australian. Oh, those accents.

And finally, there’s some fresh meat on the block in Magic Mike Live ★★★ at Hard Rock Hotel, 4455 Paradise Rd (www.MagicMikeLiveLasVegas.com; [tel] 800/745-3000; Wed-Sun 7:30 and 10pm; tickets $49-$128). Even if you’ve never seen the original (artsy, and surprisingly good) Steven Soderbergh film Magic Mike, or its (dumber, but way hotter) sequel, Magic Mike XXL, you’ll get the gist pretty quickly. When I say fresh, I don’t just mean the men—while there’s plenty of buff, well-sculpted eye-candy baring (almost) all, they’re not relegated to just sweating on a single stage. The show replicates a locale from the second film called Club Domina, an immersive, 360-degree cabaret where men cater to the needs and whims of women. Magic Mike himself Channing Tatum had a hand in this production of life imitating art, and it’s a fun, raucous ride that has women screaming “Shut up and take my money!” 

Broadway and Beyond

The opening of the Smith Center for the Performing Arts in 2012 changed the scope of entertainment for Las Vegas in dramatic ways. Despite the numerous showrooms, arenas, and theaters in this town, the closest thing to a performing arts stage was a 40-year-old concert hall in the middle of a shopping mall, adjacent to a casino that occasionally hosted a third-string Broadway touring show.

The Smith Center is now a legitimate home for cultural pursuits of all types, including the Las Vegas Philharmonic; in-demand Broadway touring companies like Book of Mormon and A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder—they’re even getting Hamilton in 2018; a New York Stage series with concerts from Broadway luminaries like Patty Lupone and Audra McDonald; a monthly jazz-tinged set from longtime Vegas showman Clint Holmes (which is one of the best shows and best values in town); a speaker series that has hosted legends like Carol Burnett to Alan Alda; and a host of other concerts from classical to contemporary to choral and more. This is all in a multi-venue facility that has become the envy of cities around the globe.

Visit the Smith Center website at www.thesmithcenter.com or call tel 702/749-2000 for information on shows that will be playing when you are in town.

Entertainment Alternatives

We have provided you with detailed information on the biggest and best shows in town, but for those times when you either can't get a ticket to one of the major productions or simply can't afford one, here are some alternatives that are still worth your time and money.

Don't feel like spending $150 for a ticket to see the spectacle of a Cirque show? Try the variety acts in V: The Ultimate Variety Show (in the Miracle Mile Shops, 3663 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; (tel. 866/932-1818; www.vtheshow.com; nightly 7 and 8:30pm; tickets $50-$70). It's not Cirque but it's still fun.

If Penn and Teller is sold out, try the genial comic tricks from America's Got Talent winner Nathan Burton (in the Flamingo, 3355 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; tel. 702/733-3333; www.flamingolv.com; Sun-Fri 4pm; tickets $34-$44).

What's that? Jubilee! is too tame and Crazy Horse Paris is too classy? There are a host of other sexy alternatives including the naughty fairy tale- themed Peepshow (at Planet Hollywood, 3667 Las Vegas Blvd., S.; tel. 877/333-9474; www.lasvegaspeepshow.com; Thurs-Tues 9pm; tickets $65), currently starring Playboy Playmate Holly Madison as Little Bo Peep. It's better than it sounds and certainly no sillier than the topless vampire-themed Bite (at The Stratosphere, 2000 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; tel. 800/998-6937; www.stratospherehotel.com; Fri-Wed 10:30pm; tickets $50), which should give Twilight fans a thrill.

Ladies, if you can't get into Chippendales, you can get your beefcake thrills at Thunder From Down Under (at Excalibur, 3850 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; tel. 702/597-7600; www.luxor.com; Sun-Thurs 9pm, Fri-Sat 9 and 11pm; tickets $41-$51), which puts a Down Under spin on the proceedings with a cast of Australian hotties.

If you are looking for a more contemporary cast of celebrity impersonators than what you'll find at Legends in Concert, try the Lady Gaga-type mimics at American Superstars (at The Stratosphere, 2000 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; tel. 800/998-6937; www.stratospherehotel.com; Sun-Tues 7pm, Wed and Fri-Sat 6:30 and 8:30pm; tickets $40).

Finally, if you want to try to win something but don't want to put your money in a slot machine, you can "Come on Down!" at the Price is Right Live (at Bally's, 3645 Las Vegas Blvd. S., tel. 800/237-7469; www.ballyslv.com; Tues-Thurs, and Sat 2:30pm, Fri 7:30pm; tickets $56), which offers audience members a chance to play classic TPIR games and win prizes.

Just for Laughs

Depressed over all the money you lost in the casino? A surefire way to get cheered up is to check out one of the shows from stand-up comics currently playing in Las Vegas.

Aces of Comedy, at The Mirage, 3355 Las Vegas Blvd. S. (www.mirage.com; [tel] 702-792-7777; select Fridays through Sundays at 10pm; tickets $75–$104) features a rotating list of headliners who are already making you laugh on cable television, including Trevor Noah, Bill Maher, Daniel Tosh and Kathy Griffin.

Or, if you’re feeling absurdist, you can try the outrageous, stream-of-consciousness prop comedy of Carrot Top, at Luxor Las Vegas, 3900 Las Vegas Blvd. S. (tel 800/557-7428; www.luxor.com; Mon and Wed–Sun 8:30pm; tickets $50–$65).

Also be sure to see who is playing at the comedy clubs in Vegas.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.