When people think of taking a trip to Las Vegas they are most likely motivated by the two forms of entertainment most synonymous with thoughts of the city which are gambling and shows. There is good reason for this. For well over a half-century Las Vegas has been the gambling capital of the United States., and has long rivaled New York City's Broadway for spectacular entertainment, with good reason.
Las Vegas shows, in recent years, have come a long way from the now nearly extinct lounge act to shows featuring the biggest stars in the most spectacular of settings. As an example, Celine Dione, the hugely popular French-Canadian singing star signed a long term contract to perform for Caesar's Palace with the proviso that a theatre specially built for her performances was constructed. That agreement, resulted in the state-of-the-art Coliseum, constructed at the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo.
Celine Dione's enormously successful debut at the Coliseum in 2003, set the stage for what would be an agreement with Elton John to share the venue with Celine in repeated alternate engagements over a period of several years. Elton's "Red Piano" show has also received rave reviews and audience acclaim. The highly popular singer-songwriter Barry Manilow now regularly performs at the Las Vegas Hilton under still another long term contract.
Founded in Canada in 1984, the Cirque du Soleil has achieved unprecedented success since the show's original debut in Las Vegas. The "Circus of the Sun" (English translation from the French), is a "circus" in the loosest sense, and is actually a series of absolutely amazing acrobatic performances by outstanding performers recruited from around the world. The shows revolve along a central story line that is a backdrop for the performers.
"Cirque's" huge popularity among Las Vegas visitors prompted a number of the largest Hotel-Casino Resorts to contract with Guy Laliberte, one of the shows two founders and the creative force behind the shows, to create Cirque du Soleil shows with different themes for their showrooms. The venture has proven successful beyond everyone's wildest expectations and various Cirque de Soleil "spinoffs" can now be seen at the following Las Vegas venues:
"Mystere" - Treasure Island
"O" - Bellagio
"Zumanity" - New York, New York
"KA" - MGM Grand
"Love" - Mirage
Most of the "giants" of the entertainment industry, particularly in the music and comedy genres have performed here, and many do on a revolving basis, usually for one-night or weekend performances around holiday time. Such recognizable names as Cher, the Rolling Stones. Rod Stewart, Tony Bennet, comedy icons George Carlin, Don Rickles, Jerry Seinfeld, Harvey Korman and Tim Conway, among with many others can all be seen here.
Locals are not neglected either. Many off-the-Strip hotel casinos catering to the burgeoning local population have contracted with many performers to entertain on a revolving basis. Some of the performers that can be seen at local venues are Frankie Avalon, Paul Anka, Vickie Lawrence ( " Momma's Family" ), the Smothers Brothers and many others.