From top singers to dancers and magicians and others, Las Vegas is a great city to put down some temporary roots.
Las Vegas is a city that is built on entertainment. Since it’s early beginnings, entertainers from across the world have been booked to perform in the showrooms of the casino resorts, and over the years, those rooms have gotten bigger, and the performers are staying for longer!
This page will take a look at the Celebrity Residences in Las Vegas – how they started, what has evolved over the decades, and what kind of residencies you will find in Las Vegas today.
The History of Las Vegas Celebrity Residencies
All the way back to the 1950s and 1960s, there have been entertainers that have called Las Vegas home for the majority of the year. These singers and other acts would play multiple shows a week at a resort and would travel on the off times to other cities to perform. The list of names that you could regularly see at these resorts was a veritable “who’s who” of the top acts of the day. From Elvis Presley to Sammy Davis Jr to the legend Frank Sinatra, the city was littered with incredible acts. It truly was a magical time for entertainment in the city.
Why would entertainers agree to residencies in Las Vegas?
The names listed above were some of the most popular acts on the planet in those days, which begs the question: wouldn’t they make more money touring all over than just playing in one city? Well, while that might be true in some cases, the fact is that touring is grueling, with an ongoing pattern of waking up in a new city, going through the motions, and then moving on to another town overnight. Many of these artists were at a stage in their careers where they wanted more stability, and this is why these residencies became so popular.
Look at it from an artist’s perspective. Las Vegas is a very transient city, with most people changing out every weekend in the hotels and casinos. This means that there is a whole new potential audience coming to town on almost a daily basis, meaning that there will always be a demand for tickets to see top performers. The resorts also pay well, and in many cases, provide the top acts with a place to stay during their residency. This means that those artists with families can spend more time with them versus always being on the road. There are some significant benefits to the artists by sticking around in Las Vegas for more than a couple of consecutive nights.
Bigger is Better
The original residencies in Las Vegas happened in showrooms that held up to about 1,000 people. This ensured that the room would always be full and that everyone felt like they were getting a VIP experience. Of course, like everything else in Las Vegas, the growth of interest in traveling to the city combined with the new “mega-resort” concept meant that there was a greater demand for tickets. Resorts responded by building larger theatres for these residencies.
One of the most famous celebrity residencies of the last 20 years was Caesars signing of Celine Dion to a multi-year deal. She agreed to perform over 75 times a year, and the resort built a theatre specifically for her show. They gave her an entire floor of Caesars Palace for her and her family to live, and with that, the era of the superstar residency was back in Las Vegas! Of course, building a theater for just one performer leaves a lot of empty nights, so to fill those, Caesars started to book other artists like Elton John to take the stage. This practice has continued over the years so that resorts can cover the costs of building out these massive theaters that hold thousands of ticketholders.
Types of Las Vegas Celebrity Residencies
We have already covered the superstar version of a residency in Las Vegas, and there aren’t too many of those out there. Let’s take a quick look at the other types of residencies that you will encounter in the city.
There are more than just singers who are granted long-term gigs in Las Vegas. Magicians like Penn and Teller have been a mainstay in the city for a couple of decades, for example. Some of the residencies are simple – an artist and a stage, while others, like the Criss Angel residency, come with a full-scale production behind them.
This is a very popular form of residency in Las Vegas. Some comedians have set up shop in the city and perform over two hundred shows a year, while others book far shorter runs but still offer guests a chance to choose from several showtimes, whereas they may only have one night in any particular town across the country.
This seems to be the most popular form of “residency” in Las Vegas these days. These are primarily performed by older musicians who are banking on the nostalgia factor of Las Vegas tourists, but recently more contemporary artists have gotten into the act. A short term residency can last a few nights or a couple of weeks but could be recurring throughout the year.
Some of the top acts in the world currently have some ongoing short-term residencies in Las Vegas. This list includes Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, and Jennifer Lope, amongst others.
Make sure to plan ahead!
Just because an artist is planning to play multiple shows in Las Vegas over a period of time doesn’t mean that you will be able to get tickets easily. Many theaters have tickets set aside for VIP players, and with the demand for entertainment coming from the tens of thousands of hotel guests every single night, you may find the show you want to see is unavailable. The best thing to do once you have determined your dates for traveling to Las Vegas is to scour the internet for a list of the shows taking place in town. If a residency is happening at your casino, speak to a concierge on the phone before you arrive to see about getting tickets, so you aren’t left disappointed.
As the entertainment world continues to change, and many popular acts increase in age, the celebrity residency is a great way for artists to continue to perform without the wear and tear of the road. Hopefully, when you visit Las Vegas, you will be able to catch a show or two!