Las Vegas’ vibrant cultural community is packed with colorful and edgy local theaters, powerhouse performance spaces and actors, dancers and singers who have been refining their crafts for years. Join us as we go beyond the Strip and pull back the curtain on this rich scene.
Las Vegas Little Theatre, founded in 1978, is Southern Nevada’s longest-running community theater. In addition to a mainstage season that consists of six plays and a summer musical, it also has a black box stage, hosts an annual “new works” competition and is the host theater for the Vegas Fringe Festival.
LVLT excels in comedy, and there is much of it in the 2019/2020 Mainstage season (“Six Degrees of Separation” plays through Nov. 3). Everyone who’s anyone in community theater in Vegas has trodden the boards at LVLT. 702.362.7996.
Don’t miss: One street over from Las Vegas Little Theatre, the deliciously dim yet energetic The Golden Tiki is one of Vegas’ best hangouts; after a performance, you’re likely to run into not only theater folk, but Strip performers. You don’t have to be a fan of rum—although we suggest you try a Dole whip with rum—to have a great time at this near-Strip haunt. 702.222.3196.
Known for pushing the boundaries of local theater, Poor Richard’s Players recently moved into its permanent space, but it has been a Las Vegas theater mainstay since 2011, the date of its founding. Headed by a troupe of actors who were trained at Improv Vegas and Second City, Poor Richard’s regularly performs a Happy Hour Improv in addition to its theater schedule. The troupe has won six “Best of Fringe” awards and organizes the Downtown Vegas Improv Festival. 702.703.4485.
If you’re looking for edgier productions such as “Horrorwood Video” (through Nov. 3) or “The Manson Family: An Opera” (Nov. 21-Dec. 8), Majestic Repertory Theatre effortlessly blends theater with performance art. Bringing many regional premieres and world premieres to Las Vegas, this critically acclaimed theater is the most eclectic of the bunch, but also performs musicals and rock operas— with its own unique spin. 702.423.6366.
Don’t miss: Beauty alone will make you want to come back to the Velveteen Rabbit, across the street from Majestic Repertory. But the cocktails are works of art in themselves. All are carefully crafted with fresh and house-made ingredients; the menu changes by the season. Peruse local art while making your way through the mouth-watering menu. 702.685.9645.
Public Fit offers theatergoers many ways to stay connected. In addition to its productions (“August: Osage County,” through Nov. 17), it does free readings staged at the Clark County Library and follows up with a BUZZZ session to discuss the play and its themes with audiences. Additional offerings include “Outburst: Youth Will Be Served” (Nov. 6) and “The Playwright’s Tirade” (Nov. 10). 702.735.2114.
With its support of emerging talent and as the anchor to downtown Las Vegas’ Art Square, Vegas Theatre Company is a must for those seeking thought-provoking subject matter. It operates out of an 80-seat black box space, so if there’s a show that intrigues you (“Holmes and Watson,” Nov. 13-Dec. 8), it’s best to get tickets early. 925.222.9661.
Performances from world-renowned artists and troupes and a special focus on the guitar are on deck at the UNLV Performing Arts Center this season. Early this month, Australian guitar sensations Slava and Leonard Grigoryan take the stage at the Lee and Thomas Beam Music Center (Grigoryan Brothers, Nov. 1), while a 2014 Pulitzer Prize-winning play does so at the Alta Ham Fine Arts black box (“The Flick,” Nov. 1-3 and 7-10). Opera and dance are also on the docket at the Ham (Nov. 14-17). 702.895.1940.
Don’t miss: UNLV is Guy Fieri’s old stomping grounds, and there are plenty of spots near the performing arts center that he’s frequented. Fieri calls Four Kegs’ stromboli the best in town, and loves the carne asada burritos at the original Roberto’s Taco Shop on Maryland Parkway and east Harmon Avenue. Four Kegs, 702.870.0255; Roberto’s, 702.792,3611.
Boasting some of the most coveted tickets in town, The Smith Center is home to touring Broadway shows (“Jesus Christ Superstar,” Nov. 5-10; “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” Nov. 26-Dec. 1), the Nevada Ballet Theatre and the Las Vegas Philharmonic (“The Music of Danny Elfman—From Beetlejuice to Batman,” Nov. 2; “Spotlight on Rachmaninoff,” Nov. 21). For smaller—but no less-engaging shows—there’s a jazz cabaret and a studio theater. 702.749.2000.
Before performances make it to the stage, they go to conservancy, similar, we suspect, to Las Vegas Academy of the Arts—the magnet school has conservancies in music, dance, theater and the visual arts. It has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a Blue Ribbon School, one of only 17 in the country. Seeing a production here (Andrew York, Nov. 1; Fall Vocal Jazz & Acapella Concert, Nov. 19) is a true treat. You never know, you just may see the world’s next famous face. 702.799.7800.
A community event that showcases the art and everything artistic in downtown Las Vegas, First Friday (Nov. 1, 5-11 pm) headquarters are at the Arts Factory, Las Vegas’ ultimate creative space, and Art Square. Meander through the Arts Factory and browse through artist galleries (and find the artists themselves on site) and boutique shops before heading to the Art Square for special events and great drinks and cheer at Artifice Bar. When you’re ready for a stroll, head outdoors to watch street performers, browse booths from local artisans and nosh at the many food trucks that show up at the event.
Expert tip: Park at the City Hall Garage (500 S. Main St.) for $5 and take a free City Loop shuttle to the event.