By Marie Gilmore
Taking a long weekend to escape reality? Las Vegas is the place to go. Nightlife, 24 hours of…..everything including food, entertainment, shows, massive themed hotels, a Las Vegas strip that provides people-watching entertainment, there is no better place to get away.
Sixteen years ago, Doug and I were married in Las Vegas at the National Register of Historic Places, Little Church of the West, and despite multiple trips over the years, we still find a ton of things to do in Las Vegas! Like a kid in a candy store, Las Vegas has thousands of opportunities for entertainment on each visit, but on this latest trip, courtesy of a piggy back business trip for Doug, we were fortunate enough to stay for the first time at the Bellagio. And, to our delight, our room had a fountain-facing view with the Eiffel Tour at the Paris Hotel directly across the way. I don’t think we have ever had a nicer view and spending an afternoon watching the fountains and reading a book is a luxury I may not have again, soon. We did leave our hotel room and saw three great shows, ate at three signature restaurants and even expanded our horizons by learning about the finer things at an art show. From the central location of the Bellagio, we were able to walk to every show and dinner. The highlight of this trip to Vegas was the educational opportunity provided at The Flamingo Hotel: The X Burlesque University class. This class teaches the finer points of Burlesque, including take-home make-up and eyelash application, a real routine on a boni fide Las Vegas stage and a photo and certificate of the experience. During our class, 20 women ages 21-70 spent 75 minutes laughing, dancing and sashaying across the stage while learning eyelash application and a simple routine. This was a fun experience and a must-do for every Vegas vacation. Visit www.xburlesqueuniversity.com for details. Also at the Flamingo, Donny and Marie, two of the talented Osmond clan, have been performing together since they were three years old. That professionalism and camaraderie shines through as the duo parry on stage. Each has their own time to shine as well and their song list includes a few classics, a contemporary mixing and some Broadway show tunes.
With the lighting, staging, dancers and live accompaniment plus the awesome skills learned at each of their turns at Dancing-With-The-Stars, Donny & Marie is a sleeper hit in an intimate setting and well worth the evening. After having been to several Cirque du Soleil shows and enjoying all of them, we decided to see Cirque du Soleil Beatles LOVE right next door to the Bellagio at Caesar’s Palace. The show is a masterful mixture of Beatles classics paired with Olympic- caliber performers in a round theater setting that brings the audience into the show. From the sound effects built right into the seats to the full floor to ceiling flexible screens and the transforming stages, there is no bad seat in the house and audience members can not help but leave with a sense of satisfaction. Visit www.cirquedusoleil.com. In fact, right here close to home, there are two opportunities to immerse in Cirque du Soleil artistry. KOOZA is bringing 53 unique artists to perform under the big top at St. Petersburg’s Tropicana Field through December 16. In addition, the permanent show, La Nouba, is an avant-garde circus spectacle performed by Cirque du Soleil exclusively in the Downtown Disney West Side area at Walt Disney World Resort. La Nouba is performed at an exceptional theater built especially for Cirque du Soleil. The show’s international cast of acrobats, athletes and performance artists—including more than 65 artists representing 15 countries—delights and mystifies with daring acts of grace.
Another great performance-based theatrical show in Las Vegas performing in its permanent home at the Wynn Las Vegas is Le Rêve, set in a one million-gallon (water) capacity theater and features diving and feats of strength with state-of-the-art special effects, where no seat is more than 40 feet (12 m) from the stage. The production was created by Franco Dragone and is similar to the shows produced by Cirque du Soleil. Dragone, who was the director behind O, La Nouba, Mystère, Alegría, and Quidam. “Le Rêve” means “The Dream” in French, and is the name of the centerpiece painting that Steve Wynn owns, Le Rêve by Picasso. Each member of the cast must become scuba-certified before performing in the theater and the show is a heart-stopping spectacle of music, performance and visual effects that leaves the guest catching their breath and smiling throughout the show. http://www.wynnlasvegas.com/Las Vegas is truly the city that never sleeps and with its world class resorts and shows every night of the week, every day of the year, there is no better time to travel and get away, than with a trip to Las Vegas. Viva Las Vegas!