Las Vegas - 2005-11-01(2)

Las Vegas has not only taken the best from Broadway, it has also attracted and retained a number of performers and troupes that prefer its energy, ambiance, and access to either coast. The following list of what's available "Off-Strip" was compiled from abridged reviews by Anthony Del Valle, whose features appear on the* Web site. Planners should consider them as either a value-added alternative to the blockbusters appearing on the Strip or as a talent pool for private performances.

• Asylum. A small group that presents staged readings and simple versions of mostly original works from across the country.

• Cockroach Theatre. Made up of some of the top recent graduates of the local university's theatre department who wanted to stay in Vegas and do experimental works.

• Insomniac Project. A late-night performing-arts troupe (under the wing of Las Vegas Little Theatre) that specializes in bare-bones one-acts, short plays, and original works.

• Jade Productions. A group formed to showcase the acting/singing talents of its founder, Joy Demain, and her husband, musician Pat Demain.

• Las Vegas Academy of International Studies, Performing and Visual Arts. A magnet high school whose productions sometimes achieve professional caliber.

• Nevada Conservatory Theatre. The performing arm of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas theatre department. Excellent quality, with the city's most eclectic selection of scripts performed on three different stages. (702) 895-ARTS

• Rainbow Company. A children's theater troupe (part of the city's cultural affairs department). It is highly regarded for its inventive stagings and thoughtful scripts. www.rainbow

• Signature Productions. A well-funded troupe that usually produces two traditional family musicals per year. www.

• Stage Door Entertainment. Now in its second full season, Stage Door combines children's productions with "adult," which tend to be adventurous scripts, at least by Vegas' standards. Quality tends to be high.

• Super Summer Theatre. An outdoor venue that performs musicals at the Spring Mountain Ranch State Park. Lately, the productions have also been among Vegas' best. www.super

• Test Market. A group that specializes in absurdist theatre. TM just lost its performance space so it is now doing shows at various venues, whenever the mood strikes artistic director and founder Ernest Hemmings.