Southern Nevada may not have foliage tours and apple-picking excursions, but autumn here brings a full calendar of arts and culture to keep us busy. Find a guide to this year’s season here, along with book reviews, interviews, profiles, and a true-crime tale from the annals of punk rock.View as a flipbook or download the PDF on Issuu>>
Fall Culture Guide 2023: Theater and Dance
Dance has a wonderful way of visualizing music: the lyrical pauses, the shifts, the tempo increases, are all expressed easily through human movement. Tap and piano seem to be especially natural companions, harkening back to the ragtime and big band ages. This is perhaps why pianist Conrad Tao and tap dancer Caleb Teicher decided to join forces in Counterpoint, where tap and piano play off one another on one stage in choreographed (and improvised) fashion.
Very few people love a good autumn pun more than I do, especially when it’s associated with a stellar dance theatre, as the Fall in Love with Contemporary West Dance Theatre Fall Concert Series is. Featuring four contemporary dance performances choreographed by artists Ray Mercer, Adrienne Hurd, and Contemporary West founder Bernard Gaddis, it’s a great introduction for those unfamiliar with the first dance company in Las Vegas (and the wider state of Nevada) to be founded by two people of color.
I ain’t too proud to say that I grew up listening to Motown. And why would I be? The Detroit-based record label helped to define the music of the 1960s and '70s, and provided a launchpad for some of the best Black singers and songwriters of the 20th century. Of all those mid-century music icons, the Temptations stand out as perhaps the most enduringly popular, as demonstrated by this Tony Award-winning musical based on their lives and music. Speaking for myself, I’ll be a rolling stone to the box office for this one.
Music and dance transcend borders and language barriers, making this showcase of Meico's region-defining bailes not only a fun and beautiful event, but also one with cultural significance. The folk dances of Jalisco, Nayarit, and Sinaloa all make appearances, along with traditional music and colorful costumes. Fiesta is the correct term for this event, which promises to bring all attendants together, regardless of cultural barriers. Grab your Jalisco Dress or your dancing shoes, and get ready to baile the afternoon away!
Oct. 20-Nov. 5
Written by Neil Simon — who, for those unaware, was a television comedy writer in the 50s — this play opens the door to a smoke-filled and politically-charged writers’ room at NBC in the mid-20th century. Though dishing out plenty of laughs, the play also serves as a powerful reminder that while much has changed, some things will always stay the same.
Oct. 27-Nov. 20
Religion, prostitution, and lesbianism — all controversial topics in their own right — come together in one early-20th century drama, giving context for the outrage that Sholem Asch's God of Vengeance inspired. Indecent, A Public Fit’s newest production, tells the story behind this play, one of history’s most censored, parodied, and praised stage works. Yet, God of Vengeance is only a secondary character in Indecent — the real story is about its creator, Asch, and his travails in staging the play, and dealing with the fallout the show caused him and his family. Human resilience, rebellion, and relationships are all center stage in this powerful, Tony Award-winning show.
Little can hold a jack-o'-lantern candle to Contemporary West Dance Theatre’s (CWDT) Halloween Spooktacular. Including dance performances by CWDT, cameos from Dracula, and a post-show dance party and costume competition, parents can rest assured that it’s a safe way to celebrate the scariest day of the year.
Prepare for a rendition of one of the Bard’s most beloved love (?) stories, Romeo and Juliet, but with a twist! While remaining true to the beloved play and its dialogue, the Nevada Shakespeare Festival promises to add “a bit of Bon Jovi,” in this updated iteration. Parting is such sweet sorrow, when there are only two performances, so snap up tickets while they’re available.
Through Nov. 4
Scary musicals — an unconventional genre of theater that’s more common than you’d think. The latest installment, Troy Heard and Brandon Scott Grayson’s Scream’d, is having its world premiere at Majestic Repertory Theatre. Based on my experience with the original source material, the 1996 slasher flick Scream, I fully expect to laugh, sit in suspense, and (of course) scream. This musical will be showing on multiple dates; check the website for details.
The Wonderful World of Was, a play staged by the Social Issues Theatre, aims to correct a lack of education on Lewy Body Dementia by telling the story of Lareaux, a high-achieving real estate developer who develops the disease and is left caregiver-less when his wife passes away. The show is a compelling educational tool on dementia’s wide-reaching effects, along with an exploration of thorny relational dynamics, including the question of whether children have a moral imperative to care for their parents. This play will be showing on multiple dates; check the website for details.
Happy Days is quite the deceptive name for Samuel Beckett’s 1960 play, which revolves around the alienating relationship between Winnie and her husband, Willie. Spending the play buried up to various parts of her body, Winnie banters to the mostly-invisible Willie about their past, their future, and their love story. In so doing, Beckett’s 60-year-old show is a feast of the surreal, strange, and sorrowful. How do we react when life seems to be passing us by, seemingly burying us in the sands of time? This play will be showing on multiple dates; check the website for details.
Nov. 24-Dec. 10
Think you’ve seen every version of the classic Brothers Grimm story about lost glass slippers and true love? Think again! The Judy Bayley Theatre is the site of the world premiere of Cinderella Under the Mistletoe, a Nevada Conservatory Theatre original production. It sports a similar premise as the one we all loved as kids, but has been updated with quirky slapstick gags and a very dry British humor — courtesy of director Laura Jane James. Perhaps the most unconventional twist on the fairytale? This time, it’s set in Vegas (or somewhere that looks like Vegas, at least). Bring the kids, but leave your woodland friends at home, so you can get back before the clock strikes midnight.
You're sure to swoon for this musical version of the eponymous holiday film. In Elf the Musical, the banter is creative, the musical numbers have a certain jingle to them, and Buddy the elf is predictably lovable, which all wrapped together, makes seeing the show feel like an early Christmas gift. This musical will be showing on multiple dates; check the website for details.
Dec. 1-3 and 8-10
With The Odyssey, the Rainbow Company Youth Theatre has managed to create a show that remains faithful enough to Homer's famous poem about the post-Trojan War era to get the story across, but cleans it up enough to be safe for younger eyes and ears. And for prospective audience members who are hard of hearing, not to worry: The Company has an ASL interpreter during the second weekend’s Saturday (Dec. 9) matinee, making this version of the epic even more accessible. This play will be showing on multiple dates; check the website for details.
There’s a reason why, out of the half-dozen shows in Nevada Ballet Theatre’s yearly seasons, The Nutcracker is consistently one of them. The sumptuous costumes, the large corps of dancers required to put it on, and the ever-festive music of Tchaikovsky — it's simply the whole holiday package. If it’s not yet a tradition for you, there’s no time like now to start! This performance will be showing on multiple dates; check the website for details.