It’s (Always) Showtime!

One great thing about living in the shadow of the Strip is that you can go to a show almost any time you get the urge. The only limiting factor is the price. With tickets running anywhere from $20 to more than $200 apiece, a serious show habit could easily compete with a recreational drug addiction. Fortunately, there are a few ways to reduce the cost of entertainment besides the time-honored method of gambling a lot and getting “comps.”

One good way to find out about cheap previews, two-for-one deals, locals discounts, and other price reductions is to sign up for e-newsletters like the Review-Journal’s eNeon and InsiderLV. Las Vegas Advisor has lots of discounts and specials listed on its Web site, and if you pay to join, you’ll receive more than your money’s worth of other discounts.

A recent addition to the locals scene is ShowTickets4Locals is a free service that allows show producers to fill up their otherwise vacant seats with locals who are flexible enough to go to a show at the last minute. Update March, 2012: The system from 2005 to March, 2012 involved e-mail notifications about available seats throughout the day. Members made a telephone call to reserve seats, and then they simply showed up at the appointed time. Now, technology has improved that system. When you first join the service, you’ll be enrolled as a FREE member which means you can view the list of discount show coupons anytime you log in. You can also view the list of complimentary show tickets between the hours of 11:00AM to 5:00PM. There is a also a PREMIUM membership option ($10 per month) that provides 24/7 access to the list of complimentary show tickets.

There aren’t any hidden costs or “drink minimums.” I signed up a few months ago, and so far, I’ve been notified about a variety of both production and limited engagement shows, and I’ve attended about a dozen. (I’m not going to reveal which ones, because I’m not sure the show producers want to admit that they’re giving seats away free.) The only surprise I’ve had so far is a parking charge at one venue, and I could have avoided even that if I’d felt like walking a block.

Something to keep in mind is that there are many shows and lounge acts in Las Vegas that are always free. The standards are high here, and I’ve found myself marveling as I watch outstanding performances for which I have paid not a dime. Search for “Shows Under $25,” and prepare to be amazed at how many are completely free.

One last cool thing about being on the ground in Sin City. Sometimes tickets just come your way. A friend calls with two tickets to Rita Rudner and a family crisis in Duluth. A relative comes to town for a trade show, gets comped two tickets to “LOVE,” and hates the Beatles.

I guess I should mention that every so often, I buy tickets. Ever since Siegfried and Roy vanished from the Mirage’s stage so abruptly a few years ago, I don’t put off seeing the shows I really care about. I went to Spamalot before it officially opened, for example. I had heard about a special preview performance that was a fundraiser for KNPR, the local public radio station. Not only did I get to see the show early, but I enjoyed it in a theater full of Monty Python junkies. Some of them even brought their own coconuts.