Pick of the Week – April 13-19, 2015

Last week I started a series of Picks of things to do in Las Vegas that don’t involve drinking or gambling.  One thing that might be surprising to the Vegas neophyte is the sheer number of shows running in the city.  The large resort casinos each have a theater and often more than one for shows and events.

Talk of a Las Vegas show may bring a few images to mind.  Are you thinking of showgirls in over-the-top outfits…or possibly missing-the-top outfits?  You can see those; although, there aren’t many left.  Jubilee at Bally’s Casino is probably the best known one.

Maybe you think of Vegas as a place where older performers set up shop in the latter stages of their career.  There’s some of that as well.  While Wayne Newton seems to have retired for good, Donny and Marie Osmond are appearing several nights a week at the Flamingo.  The last time I was in Vegas with our beloved site mistress, we saw Britney Spears in concert. 

Las Vegas may possibly remind you of magicians.  I’m not sure how magic acts became a staple of the city’s stages, but there are many of them ranging from small-scale performers in the lower-end casinos to some of the biggest names in magic such as Nathan Burton, David Copperfield, and, my Pick this week, Penn & Teller.

Penn Jillette and Teller (That is his legal name now) began performing together in the 1970s and have racked up many film and television appearances over the years.  In the last year, they’ve been judges on two magic-themed series: Penn & Teller: Fool Us and Wizard Wars

But most weeks, they are performing on stage at the Rio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, where they have been appearing since 2001.  If you’ve ever seen them perform on TV, you know what to expect.  They mix comedy, commentary, and fantastic magic in a very entertaining show.  And when the show is over, they meet the audience in the lobby.  I don’t mean you can pay a ton extra for a meet and greet VIP experience ticket or something like that.  They are there to talk to everyone.  And yes, Teller talks too, which I have to admit was a bit jarring at first.

Two tips if you decide to go:

1)      Discount tickets are usually available (This is true of almost every show in Las Vegas).  Look for coupons in brochures in your cab, the monorail stations, or in the magazines in your hotel room.  There are also Tix4Tonight books at many locations along the Strip, where you can purchase same night tickets at a substantial discount.

2)      The Rio is a little ways off the Strip to the west.  It may look close, but it’s probably farther than you want to walk.  There’s no need to pay for a cab, though. The Rio is owned by the same company as Bally’s, Paris, and Harrah’s, and there is a free shuttle that runs between Bally’s/Paris and Rio and another that runs between Harrah’s and Rio.  You don’t have to be staying at any of those hotels to use the shuttle.  Take advantage of the service and save yourself the cab fare.

- Alan Decker

@CmdrAJD on Twitter