Despite being world-renowned as the “Entertainment Capital of the World”, Las Vegas is frequently bemoaned as a city of “no culture” by residents and visitors alike. However, there is a thriving and growing performing arts scene with multiple events each week for interested dance and music lovers to attend. Here are some of the venues and companies with the most active programs:
- Charleston Heights Arts Center is a newly-remodeled community arts center, hosting classes in dance and arts, an art gallery, big band dances, and a beautiful, intimate proscenium theatre. Having anchored the Las Vegas arts scene since its opening 40 years ago, The Charleston Heights Arts Center continues to house and nurture the performing arts. Watch for performances scheduled there; they are chosen carefully by the staff ,and always of excellent quality. You’ll fall in love with the arts all over again!
- College of Southern Nevada Performing Arts Center (CSNPAC) On its Cheyenne Campus in North Las Vegas, the CSNPAC boasts the 524-seat Nicholas J.Horn theater, as well as a black box performance space. Each space hosts a variety of events, from student productions to touring groups to arts benefits. Events include dance concerts, musicals, plays, and musical groups. Quite often, performers from the large production shows on the Las Vegas Strip participate in, or create, shows at the CSNPAC. Shows can range from Air Force military band concerts to Shakespeare, jazz bands and modern dance. Ticket prices usually range $15-25.
- University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) Three performance spaces grace this campus: Artemus J. Ham Hall (1800 seats), Judy Bayley Theatre (550 seats) and the Black Box Theatre (175 seats). These theatres host performances by world-renowned artists such as the Russian National Ballet, Wynton Marsalis, Paul Taylor Dance Company and Itzhak Perlman. Local theatre companies such as Nevada Conservatory Theatre and Nevada Ballet Theatre show their works here several times a year. UNLV theatre and music department student productions are also shown in these venues. Ticket prices usually range from $12-30.
- Super Summer Theatre Located in Spring Mountain Ranch State Park, on an outdoor stage 15 miles outside Las Vegas, This open-air venue hosts 5 productions all summer long that include regional productions of Broadway shows, including “Annie” and “Fiddler on the Roof” this year. Plays, musicals, and concerts fill the venue from May to September. Using mostly local talent, the productions boast fantastic singers, dancers, actors, Broadway shows and original revues. Dance companies and musical groups are also featured here. Seating is on grass (bring a blanket or chair, or you can rent a lo-chair). Ticket prices are very affordable (usually $12-20).
- Las Vegas-Clark County Library District (LVCCLD) Several libraries in Las Vegas have full theatre facilities and host local and international performance groups. Several local performing companies mount shows in these spaces. For example, Signature Productions’ most recently produced “Singin’ In The Rain” and “Thoroughly Modern Mille”, and Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theatre presents its annual dance showcase in the library theatres. International groups that have performed at LVCCLD include The Tibetan Monks and Kahurangi Maori Dance Theatre of New Zealand.
- Nevada Ballet Theatre and Las Vegas Philharmonic Surprising to many people is that Las Vegas has its own resident ballet company and philharmonic symphony. Both groups give several annual concerts, ranging from traditional classical style to more contemporary presentations. Both will present future concerts at the Smith Center.
- Las Vegas Strip Las Vegas is home to hundreds of talented performers, many of whom are employed in the evening shows at casinos. When they get together to create original projects or raise donations for a cause, they often offer performances that are open to the public in nightclubs or in the casino production showrooms after hours or in the afternoon. Notices for these performances are usually in the local weekly papers. Many of these original shows benefit charitable causes and are one-time only events. These are opportunities to see wonderful and varied styles of dance and singing by some of the most talented performers in the nation. The longest-running annual event is Golden Rainbow’s “Ribbon of Life”, which has presented exciting shows for 25 years. More recent additions are “Broadway Bares” and “Choreographer’s Showcase”.
- The Smith Center Opened in March 2012, this performing arts center hosts national touring productions, including “Wicked”, “Memphis” and “Mary Poppins” in its first season, as well as concert performance artists such as MOMIX and Yo-Yo Ma in 2012. Local companies Nevada Ballet Theatre, Las Vegas Philharmonic and Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theater will perform at The Smith Center. Tickets are now available for purchase for single events, in packages and for subscription by calling 702.982.7805 or going to their website.
The performing arts scene in Las Vegas is vibrant and just waiting to be explored and enjoyed. Multiple venues offer a variety of cultural experiences and styles to stimulate and delight every artistic taste.