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In Downtown Vegas, The Smith Center is a very classy place, known for bringing the stage to Sin City. Whether it be a hilarious, but blasphemous comedy, a Broadway show that brought kinky boots to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade or just something that can only be described as "Shrektacular," the venue's Art Deco halls offer something for everyone, but are rarely graced by high-profile fine arts. Despite our image as a city of wild abandon and debauchery, we do have stunning jazz, philharmonic orchestras, and the incredible Nevada Ballet Theatre (NBT) troupe.
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Las Vegas is ready to show its colors once more as the city's annual PRIDE celebration will blanket the valley in rainbow hues September 2-7. This yearís gathering of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning community features a slimmed-down roster and a new host hotel.
If you happened to catch our wrap-up of last yearís PRIDE events, you may remember this writer remarking on the chaotic presentation. Three separate organizations (Las Vegas PRIDE, Orlandoís GAY DAYS, and MGM's FABULOUS) were all vying for the pink dollar, consequently stepping on each othersí kinky boots (Iíll explain that reference later).
Front row seats to Book of Mormon might not be in everybodyís budget, but did you know you can check out The Smith Center for free? By check out we donít mean a full-fledged show, but zero dollars buys you an interesting docent-led tour of one of the most beautiful buildings in Las Vegas.
A short cab ride from The Strip or an even shorter one from Fremont Street, The Smith Center is one of the most interesting and unique buildings in Las Vegas. Home to Symphony Park, Reynolds Hall and Bowman Pavilion which houses the Troesh Studio Theater and Cabaret Jazz, the campus glorifies the unique architecture of the Art Deco age.
A little bit of South Park comes to The Smith Center tonight when The Book of Mormon kicks off a run through July 6. The popular musical is a multiple Tony award winner from the same folks behind the also popular Comedy Central cartoon. So popular is the BOM (think about it...) that the show will institute a same-day tickey lottery, a system it has successfully used in other cities as well.
One of the things Las Vegas gets criticized for is its lack of culture. It is a relatively new place without the historical roots of New York or Chicago, and culture takes time. While big Strip casinos occasionally showcase a Broadway production like Avenue Q or Jersey Boys, we are usually stuck with some variation of French Canadian sky ballet.
In Downtown Vegas, 2012 saw the introduction of The Smith Center, providing the valley with a guaranteed spot for live theatre to reach a new audience. It is here that Las Vegas legend Teller (of famed magic act Penn & Teller), working with longtime theatre partner Aaron Posner and Harvardís American Repetory Theatre, has brought a new twist on a famous production to a town that has probably never seen it.
Events / Downtown / Downtown Vegas / The Smith Center / Symphony Park / Penn & Teller / The Tempest / Music / Entertainment / → All Tags
When one thinks classic Shakespeare, Tom Waits is probably pretty far removed from the topic. After seeing (and hearing) a glimpse of whatís to come when The Tempest arrives at The Smith Center's Symphony Park, itís now almost impossible to imagine the tale of romance and vengeance without a soundtrack by Waits.
The plaintive vocals and steady, drudging beats the singer is known for give powerful support to Shakespeareís poetic writing. The music is brought to life with a four-piece band and instruments created by Kenny Wollesen. Because so many of the instruments in this production are created uniquely for it, The Tempest will truly be unlike anything you have ever heard before. Music by Kathleen Brennan and Tom Waits is not the only unusual aspect of this production. Teller, of the Rioís headlining duo Penn & Teller, has offered his magic expertise to give this show an extra kick.
Broadway In Vegas / The Smith Center / Events / Shows / Entertainment / Music / → All Tags
The Smith Center is ready to get a leg up on the Broadway Series to come. The downtown performing arts center has announced its full schedule of shows set to begin August 2014 and continue through May 2014 and we're, once again, geeked out about it.
This season will bring nine productions to Downtown Vegas, ranging from the touring debut of Kinky Boots to the return of Wicked. Tickets will be available to season subscribers beginning March 3. The general public will be able to purchase new subscriptions beginning May 12. Individual tickets will be announced at a later date.
Here's a complete rundown of what to expect and when as well as video previews from their Broadway counterparts:
Screenings of Casablanca will be shown on Valentine's weekend at The Smith Center, but it's not the plot of the movie that will have hearts pounding -- it's the fact that the musical score will be performed live by an orchestra.
The Las Vegas Philharmonic, South Nevada's only professional symphony orchestra, is about to make two things happen simultaneously: A classic film appear even more classic, and make a holiday all about love even more romantic.
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A lot of money is going into the redevelopment of Downtown Las Vegas to lure not just tourists, but locals, too. It's not as if downtown has been ignored by any means of late, but it still lives in the shadow of the Strip for many.
Star Trek fans will probably fill the front row, but the appeal of William Shatnerís one-man show, Shatnerís World: We Just Live In It, will go well beyond science fiction.
On January 20, the 90-minute production will come to The Smith Center. Shatner will lead the audience through his life and career, from his time as a Shakespearean stage actor in the mid-50s to his current status as an internationally recognized entertainer. The promotional video swirling around doesn't give us much to go on, but a recent review painted one hell of a picture:
No matter which side your opinion falls in the great debate, it's hard to argue against the fact that Tony Hsieh has had a large part in defining the current and future states of Downtown Vegas. His interest in community and transforming the area into more than what Fremont has traditionally offered earned him runner-up in VegasChatter's Favorite Celeb category in 2011
before others jumped on the bandwagon.
Between inspiring theaters, investing in nachos, land grabs, or Spiking Gold into shuffleboard, bean bags and beers (among a host of countless other Downtown Project ventures), Hsieh keeps tirelessly busy. And, all while readying to move 1,500 Zappos employees into their new downtown digs before year's end.
Broadway in Vegas / The Smith Center / Events / Kinky Boots / Downtown / Downtown Vegas / → All Tags
You've just won six Tony awards what are you going to do? Go to Vegas, of course!
The new toast of Broadway, Kinky Boots, will kick off a national tour in September 2014. And, in quite a coup, its first stop will be downtown's Smith Center. Right now, there's no word on the specific date or dates of the run, nor when tickets will go on sale. In fact, it's not even known what the other stops will be on the reportedly 'coast to coast' tour. You can probably count on it being a city near you, though.