CATCH A SHOW
The production shows and headliner entertainment in Las Vegas know no equal, and in recent years, an increasing number of the shows have included content of gay interest, from live performances by Cher, Elton John, and Bette Midler, to musicals inspired by Queen and ABBA, to the comedy of Rita Rudner and female impersonator Frank Marino. If the show you're seeing doesn't offer reserved seating, consider going on an off night, and/or tipping the maitre d' or captain $10-$20 for better seats.
The legendary Caesars Palace is currently playing host to not one, not two, but three legendary divas. Cher (866-510-2437; $95-250) has just commenced a three-year/200-show run at the Colosseum. Elton John's The Red Piano (888-435-8665; www.caesarspalace.com; $100-250) is also here in a musical extravaganza featuring the gay legend's best music and flashy costumes. And Bette Midler stars in her own music/dance/theater explosion, The Showgirl Must Go On (877-723-8836; $95-$250). Meanwhile the Divine Miss M's former bathhouse piano player Barry Manilow headlines his own show, Music and Passion, over at the Las Vegas Hilton (702-732-5755 or 800-222-5361; www.lvhilton.com; $95-$225) through 2008.
Our favorite production shows are Myst?re, the Cirque du Soleil show at Treasure Island (702-894-7722 or 800-392-1999; $60-95) and O (702-693-7722 or 888-488-7111; $93.50-150), the water-based Cirque du Soleil show at Bellagio. The risqu? Cirque production Zumanity (866/606-7111; $69-129) is playing at New York-New York; it's another of the Strip's hottest and priciest shows, and the pansexual content definitely includes a bit of woman-on-woman and man-on-man action. If you're bashful, don't sit near the front -- they love dragging guests up onto the stage at this one. Ka (702-796-9999 or 877-264-1844, $69-$150) is the MGM Grand's more theatrical version of Cirque's acrobatic shows, while the latest addition to the Soleil family is the Mirage's terrific LOVE (702-792-7777 or 800-963-9634; $93.50-150), based around the music of The Beatles.
Probably the most famous show in town among those with a gay following is An Evening at La Cage (Riviera Hotel & Casino, 702-794-9433 or 877-892-7469; $75), which features masterful female impersonator Frank Marino as Joan Rivers. A host of fellow performers impersonate everybody from Diana Ross to Liza Minnelli. This show is so strangely campy that it's plenty of fun. Through January 2009 at Mandalay Bay, you can catch the fab musical Mamma Mia! (877-632-7400; $49.50-$110), based on the music of Abba.
Although it mostly draws eager straight women and bachelorette parties, Chippendales (Rio Hotel and Casino; 702-777-7776; $40-50) is great fun if you like gawking at hunky beefcake. For even saucier meat, try Australia's Thunder from Down Under (702-597-7600; $40-50) at the Excalibur, voted Best Adult Revue by Nevada Magazine readers in 2007. Here the show's far more interactive, with lucky ladies (or those who closely resemble them) being pulled up on stage for hot little bursts of interaction with the near-nekkid Aussie gents. For a gander at the gals, the MGM Grand is host to Crazy Horse Paris (877-880-0880; $49-59), a stylish and racy direct-from-France female burlesque show that's been scoring rave reviews.
If you're in the mood for comedy, check out Rita Rudner (702-369-5222; $54), at New York-New York casino. Lance Burton at Monte Carlo (702-730-7160 or 877-386-8224; $66.50-$72.55) is the town's master magician, best appreciated up close to the stage.