Entertainment in Las Vegas is more than just showrooms and headliners. Step away from the casinos, and you’ll find plays, music, comedy and more.
When one thinks of a show in Las Vegas, casinos and headliners spring to mind. But there are plenty of other options. There are theaters with Broadway touring shows and edgy interactive productions, concert venues featuring big-name acts and local indie bands, and spaces for burlesque and comedy.
Based in a warehouse downtown, A Public Fit Theater Company’s repertoire ranges from site-specific pieces to classics of American theater. Productions have included a live adaptation of the film M, Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie and contemporary works such as When the Rain Stops Falling. A Public Fit provides additional theatrical opportunities through staged readings.
The Las Vegas version of Beauty Bar was one of the first bars to open on East Fremont Street. Now, of course, it is one of many. The indoor portion is a pink-tinted, salon-themed bar with drinks, DJs, and the occasional manicurist. The backyard is a music venue that hosts mostly alternative and hip-hop acts, such as the Blues Explosion or KRS-One.
The Las Vegas version of Brooklyn Bowl combines food, drink, and music in one expansive venue. The food comes courtesy of Blue Ribbon—dig that fried chicken—and the highlight of the full bar is beer from Brooklyn Brewery. Concerts may be anything from local bands and tribute acts to big names that sell out the house, from Adam Ant to Gary Clark Jr., with acts like Ween and the Roots doing multi-night stands.
In one incarnation or another, the Bunkhouse Saloon has been a part of the downtown scene since 1953. This Western-themed bar was renovated and reopened a few years back with a new stage and sound system. Bands that have played here include the Breeders and Downtown Boys; the Las Vaudeville variety show and comedy acts have also taken the stage. An outdoor area accommodates larger shows or allows for a break from the volume inside (possibly with a visit to the food truck).
The Las Vegas Little Theatre is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2018. With two separate stages, it almost always has something going on. There are dark comedies, romantic musicals, classic dramas, and shows for younger audiences. One of the great things about LVLT is its Chinatown location, which means there are plenty of choices for a post-show dinner or drink stop.
Located in the Arts District, the Majestic Repertory Theater is one of the neighborhood’s busiest artistic institutions. Shows range from theatrical stalwarts like Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Measure for Measure to recent Broadway and Off-Broadway hits like Hand to God and An Octoroon. Majestic also offers off-center projects like Showgirls: The Musical, a version of the camp-classic film, and Reservoir Dolls, an all-female take on Tarantino.
Nevada Ballet Theatre rehearses in Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center | courtesy Nevada Ballet Theatre
The Smith Center for the Performing Arts contains three performance spaces. Reynolds Hall is home to the Nevada Ballet Theatre and the Las Vegas Philharmonic, while Myron’s Cabaret Jazz and the Troesh Studio Theater host smaller-scale music and theater performances. National companies of touring Broadway shows play the Smith Center, which has also featured the Alvin Ailey dance company, musician Lyle Lovett and comedian Lily Tomlin. Alan Cumming and Arturo Sandoval have played Cabaret Jazz, while productions like Reanimator: The Musical and Dixie’s Tupperware Party have been onstage in the Troesh space.
This beloved blues bar has been playing and pouring since 1976. The Sand Dollar Lounge is a hangout for those who work in the casino and nightlife industries, offering nightly music and a solid beer and liquor selection. The Sand Dollar has long been a post-show stop for musicians after gigs in larger, on-Strip venues.
Located in the shadow of the Strip, The Space is where many performers step away from the showroom to work on more personal projects. The long-running “Mondays Dark” event brings musicians together to have fun onstage and raise money for a good cause. The cabaret-style room draws singers like Sinatra’s granddaughter A.J. Lambert, as well as world music and jazz artists and one-man shows.
With a theater, art gallery, skate park, and garden, the Winchester Cultural Center is one of the cultural hubs of Las Vegas. Local artists are frequently featured in galleries, and the annual Dia De Los Muertos celebration inspires an array of altars, sculptures, and other works. The theater showcases productions by Sin City Opera and regional music and dance troupes, as well as national touring artists.