Casinos may be Las Vegas' bedrock, but in many ways, it is a town whose real reputation was built on its shows. From Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack to Elvis singing "Viva Las Vegas," the big acts are always the ones who have their names and faces up in lights on the Strip.
The biggest difference between now and then is that there's a little more diversity in the type of entertainment you'll see on the signs lining Las Vegas Boulevard -- from first-name-only stars like Britney, Celine, and Elton in long-term residencies, to touring acts ranging from Black Sabbath to Justin Bieber -- as well as performance groups like Cirque du Soleil, comedy stars like Jerry Seinfeld, and Broadway shows like "Jersey Boys."
And of course there are plenty of opportunities to see the current top names like Bruno Mars -- who just choreographed the Fountains of Bellagio to several of his hits -- and Calvin Harris, who was tapped to headline New Years Eve at the super-hot Omnia nightclub at Caesars Palace.
There are many ways groups can take advantage of these acts, from arranging seat blocks and backstage tours all the way to hiring a headliner to perform a special show while they're in town. One of the best opportunities are performance groups like Cirque du Soleil and Blue Man Group, which both offer a variety of ways meeting planners can arrange for their attendees to interact with the performers.
The 100th birthday of Ol' Blue Eyes, aka The Chairman of the Board, aka Frank Sinatra was last month, and the city celebrated the legend who for decades defined Las Vegas Cool in style, with a nationally televised tribute concert at Wynn Las Vegas featuring stars like Celine Dion, Garth Brooks, John Legend, and Lady GaGa.
"Absinthe" at Caesars Palace Las Vegas brings attendees into a risqué theater-in-the-round variety show that combines cabaret and acrobatics.
From rock anthems like 1971's "Maggie May" to his more recent "Great American Songbook Collection" of standards, Rod Stewart has been drawing big crowds for more than four decades. He's currently in his fifth year of a residency at Caesars Palace.
Quebec-based Cirque du Soleil's new SPARK program for groups offers learning sessions focused on topics like innovation, operations excellence, and creativity drawing on its experience and staff. It also offers smaller teambuilding sessions in which participants work with artists on recreating an actual scene -- costumes, props, and all -- from productions like "O" at Bellagio, which creates a world of water.
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld is best known for his TV persona -- gags like the "Soup Nazi" and "Festivus: A Holiday for the Rest of Us" have long since entered the public consciousness -- but he started in stand-up. Here he is working the crowd in The Colosseum at Caesars Palace.
The MGM Grand Las Vegas is the home to "KÀ," Cirque du Soleil's "heroic journey of love and conflict," set on a 360-degree rotating stage.
Tony and Grammy Award-winning musical "Jersey Boys," which tells the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, is a top show on the Strip at its home at Paris Las Vegas.
Dance crew Jabbawockeez recently debuted "JREAMZ," which, "explores the world of fantasy vs. reality," at its newly renovated theater at the MGM Grand Las Vegas.
Blue Man Group, which just moved back to its original Las Vegas home at the Luxor Hotel and Casino, recently created "Behind the Blue," a 90-minute onstage experience featuring a pre-show backstage tour and question-and-answer session with a crew member.
At Wynn Las Vegas, "La Rêve" -- The Dream -- brings attendees "into an exciting and mysterious world inside an incredible aqua theater-in-the-round" on a water-filled stage.
Gone but never forgotten, The King was memorialized this year with the "Elvis Experience" at Westgate Hotel & Casino, which combines a recreation one of his Las Vegas shows with a memorabilia exhibition.