Friday, September 21, 2007

Leaving Las Vegas

Leaving Las Vegas

Although it may have seemed like I was in Las Vegas all last week, I was actually safely ensconced in my own bed back home a week ago Wednesday evening.

Fortunately, I didn't suffer any altercations this visit, but what's with all the lazy people on escalators and moving sidewalks, or for that matter all those using scooters when they really don't need to? I was practically run over a couple times!

I'm someone who enjoys walking at a brisk, if not rigorous, pace. Seems like no matter where I turned, lethargic and hopelessly slow people were in my way. I practically had to slug my way through just to walk beyond a snail's pace.

But I digress.

I wanted to share the best top shows I've ever seen in Las Vegas, and fortunately for those of you who may be traveling there, each of them is still playing for your maximum enjoyment and pleasure.

You should note that my short list does not include any singing or stand-up acts or magicians.

Nor does my list include any Broadway shows, past or present. For the most part -- the surprisingly lackluster Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular notwithstanding -- given Vegas' propensity for cutting shows down to 90 minutes or so, I'd rather spend my bucks to see the real deal on the Great White Way. (It should be noted here that according to Variety, Phantom and Monty Python's Spamalot are bucking a recent trend by doing great business along Vegas' strip.)

I'd much rather see shows I can't see anywhere else -- in other words, a true splashy, glitzy Vegas spectacle. And yes, with these shows being tantamount to a royal flush, I would agree with San Jose Mercury News Karen D'Souza that in most cases, Sin City trumps the aces currently showing on Broadway (hat tip to Man In Chair!).

So here's my top three:

1 - The Beatles Love - Love Theatre, Mirage

**** (out of ****)

In the excellent, mind-blowing The Beatles Love, I found that all you need is love. Providing the ultimate in sensory overload, this wild ride transports to another time and place. As an exquisite showcase for the catalogue of The Beatles, the Fab Four's classic tunes are brought to life in a most magical way by Cirque du Soleil.

2 - O - "O" Theatre, Bellagio

**** (out of ****)

O, Franco Dragone's revolutionary, jaw-dropping and awe-inspiring Cirque du Soleil spectacle was on my personal top five list of all shows I saw during the 2000-01 Theatrical Season. With performers scampering across the stage one moment and high-divers plunging into the very same space the next, this show makes a theme park water ride seem dull and boring. O is still playing at one of Vegas' most prestigious hotels.

3 - KÀ - The KÀ Theatre, MGM Grand

Sure, Wicked talks a good game about defying gravity, but with its continually evolving stage, the performers in this Asian-tinged spectacle called really do. Yes, it's another Cirque du Soleil show, but it's the first to tell a story. When I say it revolves around a pair of twins as they face the opposing forces of good and evil, I mean that quite literally. While the storyline could be stronger, remains awesome to behold.

Since three of Cirque du Soleil's five current Vegas shows reign supreme on my top three list -- and yes, I've seen many other non-Cirque shows in Vegas, and no, don't bother seeing the other two -- it's worth noting that the troupe is already working on an Elvis-themed show along the lines of The Beatles Love that will make its debut at the all-new MGM Mirage City Center in late 2009. The new spectacle will essentially recreate the experience of seeing The King perform. If any organization can pull it off, it's Cirque du Soleil.

Viva, Las Vegas, indeed.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for tickets.
Click here for O tickets.
Click here for The Beatles Love tickets.
Related Stories:
Mystère (The SOB Review) (September 13, 2007)
Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular (The SOB Review) (September 12, 2007)
The Beatles Love (The SOB Review) (September 11, 2007)
Becoming SOL (September 10, 2007)
Which British Hits Will Be Broadway-Bound? (September 20, 2006)
Critics: True Spectacle for the Senses and Beatles' Fans (July 1, 2006)
The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil Opens in Vegas Tonight (June 30, 2006)
Broadway's Gamble on Vegas No Sure Bet (June 6, 2006)
Flashback: Best of 2000-01 (May 23, 2006)

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At 22 September, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there any hope that a person who did not enjoy "O" would enjoy Love? That person is me, by the way. I loved your rave review of Love, and I'm sure a trip to Las Vegas will be coming up soon, seeing as I've gone 4 times in the last 6 years. Last time we saw "O" and yes, it was pretty to look at, but I was thoroughly bored. Maybe Cirque du Soleil isn't my cup of tea? (I feel like Little Edie saying this, but I think my main problem with Cirque du Soleil is that it needs more singing and dancing.)

But I DO want to see Love for some strange reason. I'm not a Beatles fanatic, so that doesn't really have anything to do with it.

Just for the record, my favorite show I've seen in Vegas is Blue Man Group. But, you can see them practically anywhere.

At 22 September, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Yes, there is a HUGE hope that someone who didn't enjoy O would love The Beatles Love.

As much as the inherent Cirque du Soleil fundamentals are all accounted for, it's the music and dancing here that really matters. It's among the best shows I've seen anywhere in the last year. It's the least Cirque du Soleilish type show of all their efforts

And, just for the record, I have seen Blue Man Group in Vegas, which I enjoyed tremendously, but as you said, you can see it anywhere. And The Beatles Love is dramatically different and eminently more enjoyable, IMHO.

At 24 September, 2007, Blogger SarahB said...

Cirque du Soleil makes me want to pull my hair out and die. It's like some sort of new age hypmotism. I saw "Mystere" first and then "O" on a subsequent trip to Vegas. I had to be talked into O - "oh, give it another chance, you'll love it." No way in hell am I ever falling that again.

At 24 September, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Sarah, Would love to know more about why you didn't enjoy O. But I can also tell you that The Beatles Love is nothing like any other Cirque du Soleil show I've seen before. It's one of those rare shows that I never wanted to end.

At 11 September, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am really looking forward to seeing the Cirque 'Viva Elvis' production at Aria. Elvis is synonamous with Las Vegas throughout the World and I predict that this show will be the most spectacular yet.


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