In the past 20 years, Las Vegas has been revitalized as a hub for modern entertainment, and that trend continues into 2019.
There was a time when Las Vegas shows were for the middle-aged fans. Names like Liberace, Wayne Newton, and the Rat Pack were synonymous with Las Vegas entertainment.
These names did start out in Las Vegas as younger talent. But after 20 or 30 years of entertaining, they toured nationally or internationally less and less and found a home in the form of a Las Vegas residency.
As they aged, their fan base aged, and Las Vegas saw no need to upset the apple cart by bringing in acts in the modern zeitgeist.
But a problem occurred. The entertainers started retiring and dying. Among some of the more famous entertainers that performed from the 1950s until the 1990s were:
Elvis Presley (died in 1977)
Liberace (died in 1987)
Frank Sinatra (died in 1998)
Sammy Davis Jr. (died in 1990)
Dean Martin (died in 1995)
But that started to change in the early 2000s. Las Vegas realized they needed to do something to rebrand and combat their reputation as a place to see Wayne Newton and to hit the buffet before heading back to the slot machines.
The beginning of this change was led with multi-platinum recording star Celine Dion. In 2002, Dion signed a 600-appearance residency with Caesars Palace. She went on to become the most successful and profitable star in residence in Las Vegas.
Dion’s residency led to other stars throughout the 2000s and 2010s signing multi-year residencies in Las Vegas.
Over the past few years, Las Vegas has fused more modern acts with older acts to create options for everyone from millennials to baby boomers.
Many of these headlining acts like the stability of performing in one place over a long period of time. It allows them to perform without the rigor of touring. Some California-based artists can travel to Las Vegas, perform, and head home after the show. Others based elsewhere are usually given suites in the hotel that they’re performing in and can enjoy the comforts of home while performing each night of their residency.
1 – Aerosmith
The Boston rockers are in their 49th year of performing and have taken up residency in the Park Theater at the Park MGM for 35 shows that run throughout 2019.
The arena rock band will play in the more intimate 5,200 seat theater for fans making the trek to Sin City to see Steven Tyler and Joe Perry play the band’s greatest hits.
Their Deuces Are Wild residency will feature a new technology called THX Certified n L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound.
2 – Barry Manilow
He may be 75 years old, but he still writes and croons the songs that make the whole world sing. Barry Manilow has been on the Billboard Top 200 constantly since 2002 and has had a Top 40 album in every decade since the 1970s.
Manilow isn’t a stranger to Las Vegas residencies, and his latest isn’t an exception. He’s performing to standing room only audiences at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino.
He performs three shows a week at the resort, and shows run through the summer.
Tickets may be hard to come by, as they tend to sell out quickly, but if you’re lucky enough to get to see him, the show is fabulous.
3 – Billy Idol
Unlike other residencies, the white-haired rocker Billy Idol has a limited engagement set for Vegas in 2019. In fact, he only had ten shows scheduled. Five were in January, and five will be in October.
The man whose Rebel Yell has been an anthem for raucous behavior since its release in 1983 has been touring and playing for five decades.
Idol will rock the Pearl Theater at Palms Casino Resort for his residency, and the Palms is offering a VIP package that includes a meet and greet with Idol for the shows.
4 – Cher
The Oscar-, Grammy-, and Emmy-winning songstress and actress is a perfect fit for Las Vegas.
Her six decades of music and showmanship will be on display in 2019 at the Park Theater at the Park MGM Hotel and Casino.
The show, called Classic Cher, is a retrospective on her 50+ years in the industry and includes hits from her time with Sonny Bono right up until today.
She’s performing in limited engagements at the Park MGM in August and September.
5 – Christina Aguilera
As only the fourth female artist to chart number one songs on Billboard over three decades (the 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s), Christina is in a unique club.
She’s sold over 43 million records, won six Grammys, and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
But all of those accolades are a result of the electric performances of the blond diva who’ll grace the stage during her Las Vegas residency in 2019.
Aguilera started her Planet Hollywood Las Vegas Resort and Casino residency at the end of May in the resort’s Zappos Theater and will have a limited engagement through September.
6 – Def Leppard
August and September of 2019 will see the residency of Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Def Leppard take the stage at the Planet Hollywood Las Vegas Resorts and Casino’s Zappos Theater.
This is the second residency for the supergroup that saw them originally take the stage at the Hard Rock Las Vegas Hotel and Casino in 2013, which saw them play songs mostly from the albums Hysteria and High and Dry.
7 – Donny & Marie Osmond
America watched Donny and Marie grow up on stage and television — the epitome of the wholesome family.
Which is why there’s an irony of the brother and sister duo having as much success as they have had in Sin City.
For the last 11 years, Donnie and Marie have been in residence at the Donny & Marie Showroom at Flamingo Las Vegas. They recently announced that the six-week run that turned into 11 years will come to an end at the end of 2019.
But plenty of shows are still on the books until then, and fans have the chance not only to see the duo perform, but the Flamingo also offers the opportunity to meet them after the show via a meet and greet package.
8 – Gwen Stefani
The flaxen-haired lead singer of the 1990s band No Doubt has made a pretty successful solo career for herself.
Stefani has won Grammys with both her band and as a solo artist and is in her first residency in Las Vegas, which was originally only through March but has been extended throughout 2019.
She’s appearing at the Zappos Theater in the Planet Hollywood Las Vegas Resort and Casino.
9 – Janet Jackson
Marking the 30th anniversary of her breakthrough album Rhythm Nation, the youngest sibling of the Jackson clan returns to Las Vegas for her new show Metamorphosis.
When discussing the show, Jackson stated that it was about her “path to self-love, empowerment, motherhood, and activism, amidst the challenges [she] has faced along [her] personal journey.”
She’s appearing at the Park Theater at the Park MGM in August.
10 – Lady Gaga
With nine Grammy Awards, as well as over 30 million albums and 150 million singles sold, Lady Gaga is one of the most popular musicians of all time.
Her creativity makes her appealing to the masses, and that’s on display with her Park Theater at the Park MGM residency.
Lady Gaga has two distinct shows for her “Little Monsters” that come to see her play. The first, called Enigma, is a more traditional show, at least for Lady Gaga, where she plays her hits in traditional style.
The second is Jazz and Piano, where she plays stripped-down versions of her music and songs from the Great American Songbook.
Shows can alternate from one night to the next, so there are two totally different ways to see this superstar should you want to take in her show while in Las Vegas.
11 – Rod Stewart
This September and October, the two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer returns to the Las Vegas stage with his full 13-piece band to perform all of his greatest hits and more.
At 73, Sir Roderick, as he’s properly known in the UK, is still wowing audiences with his performances in 2015 being voted Best Headliner by Casino Player magazine.
He takes the stage at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace this fall.
12 – Carrot Top
Arguably the best prop comic of all time, Carrot Top has been a perennial favorite in Las Vegas for years.
The orange-mopped, muscle-bound comedian has been in residency at the Luxor Hotel and Casino since last year and has over 100 shows scheduled for 2019.
The comedian usually has a meet and greet available an hour before his show where fans that attend get a “goodie bag” with Carrot top schwag and promotional items.
13 – Jay Leno
The former Tonight Show host has a limited residency at the Terry Fator Theatre in the Mirage Las Vegas.
The 90-minute show reminds attendees of his monologues from his time with the Tonight Show and is thoroughly entertaining.
Leno appeared in May, June, and July and will return for a single show in December.
14 – Jerry Seinfeld
The man who became famous with his show about nothing and was nominated for an Emmy for a show about driving around in a car with celebrity friends to grab a cup of coffee is appearing on the Las Vegas stage.
Seinfeld’s observational humor and self-mocking comedy is always a hit with audiences.
He’s appearing twice in September and twice in November at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace.
15 – Rich Little
Known as “The Man of a Thousand Voices,” Rich Little has been one of the most sought-after voice actors and impersonators for 60 years.
He’s best known for his impersonations of President Richard Nixon, comedian Jack Benny, and sportscaster Howard Cosell.
His show may not be a must-see for anyone born after 1985, but those who grew up in the age of television before cable will recognize most of his portrayals. The show also includes charcoal drawings Little does of the characters and a video retrospective.
Little performs at the Tropicana Las Vegas Sundays through Wednesdays throughout 2019.
16 – Ron White
Ron “Tater Salad” White will be sipping on scotch and talking about humorous anecdotes about his life on the Las Vegas stage.
The two-time Grammy nominee appears at the Terry Fator Theatre in the Mirage Las Vegas for performances in August, October, and December in 2019.
Fans have the opportunity to buy a VIP package which includes a meet and greet after the show.
17 – Tim Allen
The man famous for the TV shows Home Improvement and Last Man Standing stands up and talks about the funny parts of his life and the world in general in his limited engagement residency.
Appearing at the Terry Fator Theatre in the Mirage Las Vegas, Allen is slated for two appearances in November.
18 – Criss Angel
The master illusionist Criss Angel has returned to Planet Hollywood, where he started his first residency almost 15 years ago.
His latest incarnation of MINDFREAK showcases more than 75 illusions, including 20 never-before-seen spectacles.
The show can be seen most weeks Wednesday through Saturday at the Zappos Theater.
19 – David Copperfield
A fixture of Las Vegas for years, illusionist David Copperfield has a multi-year residency at the MGM Grand Las Vegas.
His Las Vegas show isn’t like others. There’s very little pageantry. No flash or over-the-top productions. It is referred to as “magic in the raw.”
While the show may lack pyrotechnics and flashy showgirls, the magic is extraordinary. Illusions on par with the disappearance of the Statue of Liberty and walking through the Great Wall of China are presented to the audience.
20 – Mat Franco
The 30-year-old illusionist came to fame via the reality contest America’s Got Talent. His Las Vegas show has been selected as the “Best Magic Show in Las Vegas” for two years running by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
His immersive magic show is performed several nights a week at the LINQ Hotel & Casino Las Vegas in the aptly named Mat Franco Theater.
21 – Penn & Teller
One of the longest-running shows in Las Vegas is that of Penn & Teller. In residence since 2001, the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino named the theater after them: The Penn & Teller Theater.
The duo appears several nights a week sharing their brand of comedy, magic, and social commentary.
Cirque du Soleil
The Cirque du Soleil franchise got its start in Quebec, Canada, in the 1980s. Born out of La Fête Foraine, it featured workshops to teach the circus arts to the public, after which those who participated could take part in a performance.
In 1983, the government of Quebec provided a $1.5 million grant to host a production as part of Quebec’s 450th-anniversary celebration of the discovery of Canada. The production was called Le Grand Tour du Cirque du Soleil.
Originally planned as a 13-week show, it turned into the largest entertainment company in the world. At any time, 20 to 25 different shows are appearing around the world under the Cirque du Soleil banner.
In 2017, Cirque du Soleil acquired the Blue Man Group, which has upwards of ten shows appearing simultaneously around the world.
22 – Blue Man Group
A staple in Las Vegas for two decades, the Blue Man Group combines theatrics, music, and blue body paint to provide a show like no other on the Strip.
Currently in residence in the Luxor in Las Vegas, the Blue Man Group usually features two to three shows daily and provides fans with not only the stage show but the opportunity (for an extra fee) to go “Behind the Blue” and take a 75-minute behind the scenes tour of what it takes to put on the Blue Man Group show.
23 – Cirque du Soleil – Mystère
The longest-running of all the Cirque du Soleil shows, Mystère features a mixture of circus skills, dance, elaborate sets, opera, world beat music, and street theater-style comedy.
Honored eight times as “Best Production Show” by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the show resides at the Treasure Island Hotel and Casino and can be seen most weeks Saturday through Wednesday.
24 – Cirque du Soleil – O
2018 marked the 20th year of O. The show gets its name from the French word for water: “eau.”
The show takes place in a 1.5-million-gallon pool of water and features water acts such as synchronized swimming as well as aerial and ground acts.
Because Cirque du Soleil heavily relies on music and water, and musical instruments aren’t a great combination, the musicians play from glass enclosures in the theater.
O appears at the O Theater in the Bellagio Hotel and Casino and can be seen Wednesday through Sundays most weeks.
25 – Cirque du Soleil – The Beatles LOVE
Since 2006, the Cirque du Soleil tribute to the Beatles has been housed in the aptly named The Beatles LOVE Theatre at The Mirage Las Vegas.
The show follows the Beatles from their founding to their breakup and shows each song as a character. The show features songs and fictional characters that they’re based on, such as Sgt. Pepper, Lucy in the Sky, Eleanor Rigby, Lady Madonna, and Mr. Kite, among others.
The show culminates with a happy reunion of the members.
Life imitated art to some extent at the show’s premiere when Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono, Cynthia Lennon, Julian Lennon, Olivia Harrison, Dhani Harrison, and long-time manager George Martin appeared at the show.
26 – KÀ by Cirque Du Soleil
Kà is the story of the coming of age of a young man and a young woman. The experience love, conflict, and the duality of Kà, “the fire that can unite or separate, destroy or illuminate.”
Kà has been in residence at The KÀ Theatre in the MGM Grand since its premiere in 2006.
Las Vegas has come a long way from the stodgy old shows that it was known for in the 1970s. Even regulars like Wayne Newton have had to “step up” their game with all the talent in town.
Casinos realized that marquee value entertainers will increase foot traffic and visitors to their venues, so they’ve gone all-out in a lot of cases to bring in the most popular entertainers in the world.
And when you look at the revenue artists like Lady Gaga and Céline Dion have generated, the plan has worked.
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...
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