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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 Harvard’s 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 what’s to come when The Tempest arrives at The Smith Center's Symphony Park, it’s 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 Shakespeare’s 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 Rio’s 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.
Downtown / Downtown Vegas / The Smith Center / Concerts / Music / Events / John Legend / → All Tags
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 Shatner’s one-man show, Shatner’s 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.
Downtown / Downtown Vegas / The Smith Center / Fourth of July / Music / Fireworks / Events / → All Tags
Fourth of July virgins may not know what to expect in Vegas from the holiday, but for the rest of us, things can get a bit ho hum. Even most Strip resorts pass on firework displays. But, The Smith Center in downtown Vegas has us jazzed about the Fourth all over again.
The cultural center is inviting all to spend the 4th with the Phil, pairing an indoor concert by the Las Vegas Philharmonic with an outdoor fireworks celebration. The Phil will perform at 7:30 p.m. while fireworks will begin at 9 p.m. Tickets will be sold separately so you can chose to do one, the other, or both.
Downtown / Downtown Vegas / The Smith Center / Neon Museum / Discovery Children's Museum / → All Tags
Love Downtown Vegas so much you find yourself returning to certain offerings, time after time? Or, want to return again and again, but don't have the unending cash for that? Now, you can save some bills while becoming a regular fixture by considering annual memberships, especially if your fave spots include the Neon Museum, Discovery Children's Museum or Smith Center.
When we turned 21 in 1999, we celebrated with our bestest girl friends by getting loaded at the bar down the street from where we lived. It was a school night but that didn't matter. All that mattered was that we could finally use our real ID to get into a real bar that served real alcohol (not Zima). The night was glorious and the last thing we remember was face-planting on the sidewalk in front of our house while our friends blamed one another for letting us try to walk on our own. We woke up the next morning bruised, but happy. We were 21!
Clearly, that was a much simpler time. For the generation that grew up throwing "Super Sweet 16" parties complete with a brand-new car at the end of the bash, celebrating at a townie bar in a college town will not do. Celebrating at Tao Las Vegas inside the Venetian, however, is clearly the better option.
The mega club has launched a new 21st birthday club which gives the birthday boy or girl complimentary admission, a round of shots for them and their friends, a custom birthday invite, a photo on TAO's famous red carpet, an "I turned 21 @TaoLasVegas" T-shirt and a special tweet shout out from @TaoLasVegas."
Available for add-ons are appetizer platters in the TAO lounge, a dessert platter with a dinner reservation at the Tao restaurant, special VIP table reservations and even a birthday message on the LED screen in the nightclub and a shout-out from the DJ. (Not sure if there's an add-on that has a bouncer prevent you from face-planting, but you could ask!)
Pricing varies from case to case, depending on whether the party includes dinner or a table in the nightclub along with the number of people in the party. So email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit taolasvegas.com to start your bday planning.
Happy Birthday, Smith Center.
It's been a full year since its taped for PBS, star-filled debut hosted by Doogie Howser and official first performance by Bela Fleck. It was love at first sight for us, making the Smith Center the easy winner of our Best New Opening of 2012 award.
Bean counters confirm we weren't the only ones to welcome The Smith Center with open arms. 420,000 others did, too, according to ticket sales and not counting special events. 5,575 people were interested enough to take a free tour of the grand old gal.