Known as the “Entertainment Capital of the World”, Las Vegas continually outdoes itself with fantastical productions that bring fantasies to life. Whether you want to experience magic, absurdity, a fairy tale, or the world through a celebrity’s eyes, Las Vegas shows have something for you. Vegas has the dynamic, visionary power to transport you back in time or into the future. It casts present, ordinary life in lights in which you’ve never seen it, revealing the magic in every moment. But before you head over to The Strip, be forewarned: Las Vegas shows were not for the faint of heart thirty years ago, and they certainly aren’t in 2019!
We’ve put together a list of the hottest Las Vegas shows right now that will make you laugh, cry, and love (especially at Cirque du Soleil’s LOVE, a Vegas-style tribute to the Beatles). Some of our most coveted picks will also terrify you in all the right ways. Whatever your entertainment style, the larger-than-life world of Vegas awaits you. Here are some of our favorites right now
A radical comedy that pushes all the boundaries, Absinthe captures the over-the-top essence of Vegas, and then some. A bit of a parody on the Soleil acrobatic show model, Absinthe showcases Circque’s ability to laugh at itself, while also showing off the gymnastic prowess, glamour, and grandeur that defines Circque du Soleil. The show unfolds as a Vaudevenillian variety routine, somehow managing to mock and pay homage to the classic variety shows. Absinthe’s humor combines crassness and intelligence- a rare feat for a show that prides itself on its raunchiness and crudity.
Interestingly, Absinthe can be traced back to humble beginnings. It was originally set to play in a pop-up tent just outside Caesars Palace, but it was such an unexpected hit that Caesars gave it a more permanent tent in 2006. Now, it’s still a little fish in a big pond. It’s the smallest of the Big Vegas shows, seating about 600, yet it’s reached the Best Seller list on Vegas.com. Absinthe’s magnificent gymnastics feats and sideshow performers contribute to its unanimous ranking as number one in the city. The show earned itself a review by the Huffington Post as not only the hottest Las Vegas show, but the show to see in your lifetime! That’s a pretty high standard to live up to, but so far Absinthe is doing it with Cirque du Soleil’s signature flair and finesse. Which, by the way, leads us to our second hottest show in Vegas right now.
As a spin-off of Absinthe’s explosive success, the creators of the prodigal show, Spiegelworld, recently produced a second show called Opium. Opium, which plays in a theater at the Cosmopolitan, transports us to another dimension with all the vibrancy and animation we’ve come to expect from its makers. This topsy-turvy, offbeat smash hit takes you for a wild ride from Uranus to Las Vegas. Aboard the spaceship is an alien chanteuse, a house band with a playlist downloaded from Earth, and a galaxy of other funky, flamboyant characters you’ll fall in love with- or at the very least, love to hate.
Science fiction is brought to flaming life in this ode to absurdity and second-rate science fiction. The talent of Opium’s variety performers are as vast as the show’s universe, which features a vocally talented gay sword-swallower. If you’re not a fan of crude humor or absurdity in general, you might not want to stop by the Cosmopolitan and see it against an intergalactic backdrop. But if your adult humor is out of this world, you’ll get even more than you bargained for with Opium.
LOVE by Cirque du Soleil
One of the things we love most about Vegas is its ability to transport us to another place and time, which is exactly what Cirque du Soleil’s LOVE does. At this top-rated Vegas show, you won’t need mind-altering substances to join the Beatles on the iconic converged journeys that brought them together as one, and inspired their legendary career. LOVE is not just a Beatles’ songbook for die-hard fans. It’s the deftly woven story of the behind-the scenes lives of the band. True to Cirque du Soleil’s ability to put on a multi-dimensional show, LOVE manages to be intricate, heartrending, and explosive at the same time. Merging a poignant, colorful cast of characters with death-defying acrobatics, the entertainers draw us into the vivid world of these four famously interconnected lives. Cirque du Soleil’s trademark powerhouse visuals add to the poignancy and suspense of the storyline rather than take away from it.
The authenticity of this show is even further realized by a custom-designed stage in a 360-degree, 2000-seat theater. This means that every member of the audience has a unique point of view, and there’s not a single bad seat in the house. (The furthest seat is only 98 feet from the stage).
With rollerblading, trampoline acts, and extravagant dance numbers set to Beatles’ classics, LOVE also serves to bring the psychedelic world of the 60s to life. LOVE reminds us that the 60s weren’t just one extended mild-altering experience, but a raw, poignant era in which the nation began to come of age. Even young people who are introduced to Beatles songs for the first time by LOVE will be moved by the spirit of universal love. They’re also likely to fall as deeply in LOVE with Beatles music as previous generations of fans.
The VIP TOAST TO LOVE completes the experience. A narrated backstage tour that begins before the show, TOAST TO LOVE VIP guides guests through a personal history of The Beatles. Using show props and fun facts, the experience gives guests a secret window into the fascinating personal and musical history of the legendary band.
“O” by Cirque du Soleil
While we’re on the topic of Cirque du Soleil, “O” is pure fairytale. For those of you who’ve had your fill of Vegas freak shows, “O” offers a stunning reprieve of enchanted visuals and ambience. A dazzling ode to the mysticism that hallmarks classics like Fantasia the movie, “O” represents a majesty of dreams come to life. The pristine wonderlands and crystalline waters of “O” make even the most seasoned critics wonder if perhaps fairy tales do exist, after all.
In the case of this trending Vegas show, another Top 10 Best Seller on Vegas.com, this production’s stage is as magnificent as its performers! “O” is the only Cirque du Soleil production to be immersed entirely in water. That’s right, the entire show is performed in and above a 1.5 million gallon pool! The incredible cast features 85 acrobats, synchronized swimmers, athletes, and divers. With a melodic soundtrack provided by live musicians and death-defying stunts, “O” makes a big splash- and still manages to calm the audience with serene serenades at every corner.
“O” also offers a truly unique VIP treatment. Before the show begins, VIPs are invited to wine and dine with the show’s cast. The performers themselves then take guests on a guided video tour in which they learn how the cast realizes its magic. For example, VIPs will learn how cast members can disappear into water, and where they really go after they do. As if that’s not awesome enough, guests are escorted to their own personal suite, where they’ll watch the show VIP-style with a free, delicious bottle of wine or champagne!
Another water-based Las Vegas show is currently bringing dreams to life. But Le Reve, which aptly translates to “The Dream” in French, is not simply a fairytale, and it does more than enchant. This top-rated Las Vegas show leaves reality behind to immerse your senses in the subterranean world of the subconscious mind in sleep. Le Reve manages to incorporate vast beauty and intrigue into the darkness and surrealism of this representation of the subconscious mind.
Added to Le Reve’s intrigue is the inspiration behind it. The show was actually inspired by a 1932 painting by Pablo Picasso. Also titled “Le Reve”, the painting is a vivid, abstract portrait of Picasso’s mistress. The abstract quality of the show hints at the existence of other dimensions, as well as the multiple layers of the human psyche- how cool is that?
Although not entirely immersed in water, this water-based show at Wynn Las Vegas happens in and around a 1.1. million-gallon tank of water that serves as the actual stage. Although the premise of this show is edgier than that of “O”, it shares the same trademark grandeur, synergistic grace, and masterful visuals. It also features the same athletic prowess and aerial dynamism that one comes to expect from a Cirque du Soleil show. If you’ve seen it, you may be wondering: Why does it share so many similarities with “O” and other Cirque du Soleil shows? Although Le Reve is not, in fact, a Cirque show, it was created by Franco Dragone, the artistic mastermind behind “O” and Mystere. (By the way, Mystere is another Cirque masterpiece you won’t want to miss. For the sake of diversity, it’s not included in our list because we didn’t want to dominate this post with Cirque shows. But is it worth a spot on our list of coveted Las Vegas shows to see right now? Hell, yes, so look it up).
Blue Man Group
Blue Man Group is a dynamic example of the cutting edge surrealism that’s trending in Vegas. The show combines sensationalism, technology, and innovation to bring such surrealism to vivid life on the Las Vegas strip. Blue Man Group plays with unique instruments along with the group’s trademark drum, which they bang on while saturated with paint. But that’s not all this innovative Las Vegas show does.
Blue Man Group is almost (but not quite) what it sounds like. It follows the strange, comedic behaviors of three blue men in their high-tech daily lives. Infused with a futuristic vibe, Blue Man Group actually debuted in Vegas in 2000, adding vigor and style to the millennial hype. The show opened at a time when people’s minds were very much in the future, which had opened up to a world of technology on which we stood at the precipice. Blue Man Group made the new world of technology look like a fun, colorful new dimension. Really, their antics make life look like a constant party. This amazing Las Vegas show also symbolizes the concept of limitless possibilities, all accessible in daily life. (Well, at least in the daily life of the three blue men on stage).
Now you can follow the daily playful antics of Blue Man Group once more. The innovative music, lighting, and multimedia technology make this Las Vegas show an unforgettable, interactive experience.
Michael Jackson ONE
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. But with Michael Jackson ONE by Cirque du Soleil, what happens in Michael Jackson’s imagination no longer has to stay there! Take a minute to process that. Then buy tickets to see ONE, and embark on the extraordinary, iconic journey of the King of Pop. Hallmarked by greatest hits from the king of pop himself, this Las Vegas cult classic explores the controversial, multi-faceted life and times of Michael Jackson. The audience not only gets the unique perspective of Jackson’s point of view, but the over-the-top experience of his life. ONE follows four main characters into the magical, often skewered world of the iconic singer’s imagination. You’d think it would be hard to lend authenticity to such a fanciful simulation of one of the most famous lives in history. But ONE succeeds in the lofty mission, bringing Michael’s infamous inner world to life. The four main characters immerse themselves deeply in that world, even donning famous pieces of Michael Jackson’s wardrobe.
Like other classic Cirque du Soleil performances, ONE boasts top-of-the-line acrobatics, state-of-the-art technology, and awe-inspiring dance numbers. But what really makes it stand out is Michael Jackson himself. The spirit of his life and essence infiltrates every second of the performance, making this Las Vegas show almost as fascinating as the legend himself.
Penn & Teller
Another one of the hottest shows right now is Penn & Teller. Las Vegas shows are famous for their over-the-top theatrical performances and dynamic athleticism, and Penn & Teller is no exception to that rule. However, it offers something no other Las Vegas shows do: a window into how the spectacular shows are put on. For years, we’ve sat on the edge of our seats through performances and reviews, dying to know the secrets behind the magic. How do performers seem to disappear into thin air on stage? How do divers disappear into an fantastical ocean, and where do they surface out of view? What is the technology behind the innovation and illusions that make Cirque du Soleil famous?
Although fascinating, this kind of performance could quickly take on the rote demeanor of a tutorial if not for Penn & Teller’s hilarious narration. The inseparable comedy duo is characterized by Penn’s dry, wacky humor and Teller’s stoic reactions- which work in tandem to make this Las Vegas show one to watch out for. While calling the bluff of industry fakes, they simultaneously regale you with their own set of unique illusions that really do the trick. Older kids and teenagers will be especially fascinated by the technology behind the tricks, but be forewarned that some of them simulate violence- such as catching live bullets in their mouth!
Magic Mike Live
Magic Mike Live is not just one for the ladies or gay guys! Magic Mike Live, created by Channing Tatum in response to the success of the movie, is bold, daring, and erotic. But it’s also funny, and its over-the-top antics draw a diverse crowd. It’s also one of the less expensive Las Vegas shows to make our list, so save your dollar bills! (Magic Mike Live actually provides you with colorful “You’re Welcome” slips to throw at the man candy). What’s better than an affordable night of strip teases, eroticism, and laughs? Don’t answer that. Magic Mike Live errs on the cheesy side, but it’s classic Vegas, and totally worth the guilty pleasure.
This Las Vegas show relies heavily on sexy choreography, and successfully seduces its audience. True to Vegas’s famous, ongoing celebration of diversity, Magic Mike Live avoids veering toward sexist ideals. What do sexy bachelors, women’s empowerment, and unicorns have in common? They all exist in Magic Mike Live!
Vegas! The Show
We figure there’s no better way to end a list of the hottest Las Vegas shows than with one that commemorates the history of Vegas. Vegas! The Show is a celebration of the people who historically define Vegas, setting the stage for its years of success. Can you really think “Vegas” without conjuring Elvis, Gladys Knight and the Pips, and Tom Jones back to life? If you can, you won’t want to miss out on Vegas! The Show. These first legendary performers helped form the style, character, and essence of the Vegas we all know and love today.
Opening in the “Neon Boneyard”, where beautiful signs graced the city in its first glory days, Vegas! brings droves of singers, dancers, “big bands”, and iconic showgirls back to life. Vegas is decades in the making, and this nostalgic, entertaining production goes back in time to show you where it all began.
Embodying the glamour and seduction that defines Vegas, this production features a juggler, a hula hooper, an acrobat, and The Quiddlers, who will have the audience laughing until they cry. If you’re a sucker for the ornate, risqué costumes that are on parade in every Las Vegas show, then this one won’t disappoint! It unfolds like a variety show, and what could be more “Vegas” than that?
In our opinion, the very best thing about Las Vegas shows is that they’re open to interpretation. Sure, the classic, stunning visuals are windows into the creator’s mind, and Vegas has no shortages of creative masterminds behind their best shows. But Las Vegas shows can also be a window into your own creative subconscious. Designed to break boundaries and open audiences up to brand new worlds (and dimensions), Vegas is everything its current namesake show claims it is: Groundbreaking and fantastical while retaining its artistic integrity- and trademark eye for beauty. No other entertainment icon in the world continually reinvents itself with more cutting edge creativity while holding onto its character. That’s why we’re so in love with Las Vegas shows.
Now that we’ve shared our current favorites with you, you can go explore them through your own eyes! Indulge your flair for the dramatic and head over to The Strip for some serious entertainment.