For nearly as long as Las Vegas has been a dazzling oasis in the Nevada desert, it’s been a magnet for some of the best talent on the planet. From live music to mind-bending magic, audiences flock to Sin City for the fantastic entertainment here. Unlike most cities, where shows blow in one day and out the next, many Las Vegas shows stick around for a while. Years, even. These residencies give loads of people the opportunity to soak up the spectacular theatrics of iconic Vegas performances. These five shows are some of the longest running in the history of Las Vegas – and they’ve all left their footprint on the city’s entertainment scene in one way or another.
1. Les Folies Bergère
This topless showgirl revue lasted in Las Vegas for nearly 50 years. It stands today as the longest-running show in Las Vegas history, and its run will be difficult to beat. In the height of the show’s popularity, it helped earn its host casino, the Tropicana, a nickname: “Tiffany’s of the Strip.” High-end celebrities and guests, including Frank Sinatra, would show up to see the show and then rub elbows with showgirls at the bar afterward. It was as glamorous as it sounds, and the show certainly left its mark on the city.
It wasn’t all about Les Folies Bergère — Las Vegas showgirls were a staple of entertainment on The Strip for decades, and Jubilee at Bally’s was also at the heart of the trend. Their dancers were clad in rhinestones and giant feather headwear, kicking their way across the stage and bewitching audiences. While the show closed in 2016, it enjoyed a historic 34-year run and entertained thousands of visitors from around the world. In fact, it will go down in history as the last showgirl production in the city…at least, for now.
When Mystère opened in 1993, it became the first permanent production of any Cirque du Soleil show in the world. It also earned the title of the first Cirque du Soleil performance in Las Vegas. The elaborate show ushered in an era of vibrant, acrobatic shows that blend music and props with elaborate gymnastics. The show is still going strong in Las Vegas, as are many of the other Cirque du Soleil shows for which it paved the way.
O came along just a few years after Mystère – it’s been in Vegas since 1998. This Cirque du Soleil show stands out because of its huge onstage pool, which is incorporated into the acrobatic movements of the performers. The production celebrates water and Mother Earth, and it enchants audiences with flowing movements and a 14th century-themed storyline.
5. Legends in Concert
As of 2017, Legends in Concert has celebrated 34 years in Las Vegas. It began as a six-week residency at the Imperial Palace, but it now wows audiences all year long from a venue in The Flamingo. Legends in Concert is legendary not only because of its longevity, but because it allows music lovers to enjoy the classic songs of their favorite artists all in one place. Impersonators take the stage to perform the hits of musicians including Adele, Prince, and Lady Gaga.