Insider Tips for Finding the Best Shows in Las Vegas

Fabulous Las Vegas is also the entertainment capital of the world…or so we say.
Photo courtesy of the Las Vegas News Bureau.

Do people actually “live” in Las Vegas? They do, and they do it for many reasons. One of the many draws are the number of shows one can attend in Las Vegas.

My husband and I moved to Las Vegas ten and a half years ago. Yes, we missed the “rat pack” glory days, but most recently, I’ve come to appreciate, more than ever, the shows available in Las Vegas for the over 40 (50?) crowd. I’m talking mostly about entertainers who make us laugh and swoon and forget those horrible headlines on CNN. My husband’s brother and his wife visited us in Las Vegas recently, and entertainment was a must. Following their visit, even more shows were on my personal schedule.

As a “local”, we always want to see the best and pay the least, so we scan area publications for special offers and 2 for 1 discounts. We may also enroll in “free seat” programs such as Fillaseat Las Vegas, House Seats Las Vegas or Show Tickets 4 Locals.

Free seats are often in venues that serve cocktails, and I always feel I should at least order a cocktail (or two) if the seats were free.

Frankie Scinta and Clint Holmes at the Bootlegger Bistro.
Photo by Diane Taylor

Among the shows our guests and I saw was the Gordie Brown Live show at the Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino in downtown Las Vegas. Gordie is “the world’s greatest impressionist” (so the sign says). He is handsome, talented and runs a fast-paced show, supported by a live band. His impressions are mostly spot on, and his comedy is wonderful. If you ask locals about the best entertainment in Las Vegas, Gordie Brown’s name will definitely make the list.

Appearing at The D Las Vegas is another local favorite, all-around entertainer Frankie Scinta. Here’s a singer, musician, impressionist, comedian that represents what the word “entertainer” is all about. He appears with a live band Saturdays through Wednesdays. His brother Joey, drummer Pete O’Donnell and singer Janien Valentine are also part of the show. The trio adds laughs, music and beauty to the show. Again, you should be able to see this show at reasonable prices (we got a lovely Groupon deal). A good time awaits.

The poster for the Luxor comic, Carrot Top.

The one big Cirque-like show our visitors attended was Le Reve at The Wynn Las Vegas. As with many shows, purchasing tickets at the box office and showing a locals driver’s license elicits a locals discount. Our visitors loved the show.

Of course, readers of this web site know that I am always a fan of Clint Holmes, resident artist at Smith Center’s Cabaret Jazz, and his wife, singer/comedienne Kelly Clinton. Kelly hosts a Monday Night Open Mic night at the Bootlegger Bistro on Las Vegas Boulevard. Make a dinner reservation for 8 or 8:30 p.m. The show starts at 9 and lasts till Midnight. Holmes occasionally performs, as do many professional and hope-to-be-professional entertainers in Las Vegas. Clinton is naturally funny and makes open-mic night fun. You’ll enjoy this show for the price of dinner, another locals bargain.

Kelly Clinton, left, hosts an Open Mic Monday nights at the Bootlegger Bistro.
Photo by Diane Taylor

Kelly Clinton also recently opened a couple of the Lipshtick Comedy Shows at The Venetian Las Vegas. A friend and I attended the second week of the show, featuring comediennes Carolyn Rhea and Wendy Liebman. The headliners were very funny, but it was our local gal, Kelly, who warmed up the audience. Tickets online were $52 plus plus, but we got our tickets at Tix4Tonight at the Town Square Shopping Center. We used a $2 per ticket discount coupon downloaded from the website, so our tickets were just $33.00 each with no plus plus. Tix4Tonight has 10 locations throughout Las Vegas.

After his show at The D Las Vegas, Frankie Scinta and the cast of his show meet audience members for photos and conversation.
Photo by Diane Taylor

A friend, Clem Altherr, recently won tickets to the Laugh Factory, a comedy club, at the New Tropicana Las Vegas. Clem was nice enough to invite my husband and me along. Three comics appeared on the bill, and they were all quite good. We had lots of laughs, though would have had more fun if the over-served lady behind us had stopped talking. The comic line-up changes every week, and two shows are performed every night. Prices are reasonable, and the crowd is typically diverse in age. Fun!

When my brothers come to town each December, we don’t have to ask which show they want to see. They ALWAYS want to see Carrot Top (aka Scott Thompson) at the Luxor Las Vegas. Red-headed Carrot Top is known as a “prop comic” (he builds funny props for very specific uses), but the show we saw last week was as much pure comedy as props. My friend Gerri and I were able to get bargain Carrot Top tickets, sat in one of the top rows of the theater and had a great time. Carrot Top is entertaining in an offbeat way, and his brain seems to work non-stop. Getting to the show theater requires a rather long walk up a circular ramp, but the theater is small enough that every seat gives a good view. Carrot Top is recommended for adults of all ages. The show is dark Tuesdays.

Terry Fator’s dressing room area was filled with photos and friends the night of the meet-and-greet.
Photo by Diane Taylor

Among the best reasons to live in Las Vegas are benefit concerts, shows that raise monies for local charities. You will often see the best of Las Vegas for reasonable prices, AND, if you are like my friend Libby Hoover, you may also bid on offerings at the accompanying auctions. You can bid on dinners, shows, spa days…. and often your bid means a bargain price as well. Libby recently bid for tickets and a meet-and-greet with Mirage Las Vegas headliner, ventriloquist Terry Fator. She invited me as her guest.

Fator’s meet-and-greet was pre-show. We were taken to his dressing room by his assistant, a perky young woman named B.J. The dressing area was large, with lots of celebrity pictures on the wall, lots of people around and with Terry Fator’s wife, Taylor Makakoa, at the doorway. Libby is quite the Terry Fator fan and knew everything about Taylor as I just looked at this stunning tall beauty — in person even more captivating than on stage (she’s her husband’s “assistant”). Taylor, who Libby says recently earned a master’s degree, was extremely gracious, as was Terry Fator, as nice as he seems in interviews, posing for photos, etc. Two small dogs were also in the dressing room area, one belonging to the Fators and one belonging to one of the mothers, also visiting.

Terry Fator and Libby Hoover.
Photo by Diane Taylor

Later, we had two of the best seats in the house in terms of ticket location. I hadn’t seen Terry Fator’s show for several years and it was a new show to me and thoroughly wonderful, with lots of production values in terms of videos, a seven-piece band and Taylor’s ravishing costume changes. Before the show, DJ Ben Harris gets the audience in a party mood, and he was quite the dancer as well. Terry Fator tickets are typically not available on the free ticket sites mentioned above, but this is one show you won’t soon forget, so pay the price … or follow Libby to benefits. Video screens are always close up on Terry, and damn, his lips really don’t move, and that is amazing.

Other shows I’ve seen and recommend (though I haven’t seen them lately) are Penn & Teller at the Rio Las Vegas given an A rating by the Las Vegas Review Journal and magician/comedian Mac King at Harrah’s Las Vegas who also gets a newspaper A rating and my A rating as well. Mac King’s show is an afternoon show FOR ALL AGES. Louis Anderson is at the Plaza Las Vegas downtown. Louis gives me tears of laughter AND I recently saw him in line at the Green Valley Luxury theater and was able to tell him just how much I have enjoyed his shows. Vegas the Show at the Saxe Theater, Planet Hollywood is a musical history of Las Vegas and features a huge cast of talented performers singing and dancing twice a night. The Las Vegas Tenors are appearing now-and-then at the former LVH, now the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, and they are great. Celine Dion has (had) a wonderful show at Caesars Palace, but she is dealing with a number of personal and family issues and won’t be performing there for several months. And lest I forget….Tournament of Kings at the Excalibur is always fun (for all ages), as is Jersey Boys at Paris Las Vegas.

The good news: I still have lots of Vegas shows to see, and I’m sure I’ll be laughing and swooning all over again.

Please leave your tips and suggestions for YOUR favorite shows in Las Vegas in the comments below!


2 responses on “Insider Tips for Finding the Best Shows in Las Vegas

  1. I have an idea . Several months ago , one of your ” Here’s Las Vegas ” videos went kinda national . It was an amazing number of “hits ” . What that means is there is a DEMAND for information from the public all over the country . I’ll bet 85% of visitors begin their entertainment plan on arriving in Las Vegas . Why not take this past video and put it in a descriptive sense for the ” out of town visitor ” . Sell it as a local Las V resident gives the inside tips on how to have fun for less money etc. ( ” I know where all the good deals are , plus , shows you just won’t find , also , I go to the shows myself to be sure they are of good quality ) It would maybe be in a suggestive order : day one – lunch at so and sos , a drive to this place , and , at night , the show would be at – – – etc. ) Obviously , you would have to re-arrange everything from this article \ video . AND , the most important thing would be to see if you could get this on some kind of media that goes further than L.V. Headline : Midwest Gal , who now lives in Las Vegas , gives tips for your visit .

  2. DIANE! Your giving away our secrets! Not really. Being a local has its perks. Thanks for another great article.

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