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Local Theaters Face Challenges In The Shadow Of The Las Vegas Strip

 

Las Vegas has long branded itself as 'The Entertainment Capital of the World."

It has the one of a kind, glittering Strip, which offers a bundle of experiences from shows to shopping to restaurants.

This suggests the 40 million tourists that visit each year are well taken care of. Jubilee, Cirque du Soleil, and Blue Man Group offer astonishing stage productions and delightful performances.

However, what is left after you've seen the spectacles on the Strip? And where do locals turn for a mixture of art, entertainment and community? 

There are local, independent theaters in the city better known for lounge singers, magicians and acrobatic shows.

“There is a lot more variety and stuff that’s going to be challenging to a viewer, in a good way,” Cindi Reed, arts and entertainment editor at Vegas Seven magazine, said. “On the Strip, it’s done for tourists. People who want something easy and fun to watch. People who might not even speak English. But they are always the same.”

Support comes from

Las Vegas theaters struggle, in part, because it can be challenging to keep up with the Las Vegas Strip next door. Another challenge is the lack of investment and support for local theaters from the biggest corporations in the Las Vegas valley, the casinos.

“It’s not typical for the casino to encourage you to leave the casino with your entertainment dollar,” Sarah O’Connell, an artistic director at The Asylum Theatre, said.

Troy Heard, a producing director of Onyx Theatre and a creative director of Table 8 Productions also points to the "devalue of education in Nevada" as a challenge for theaters.

“When your schools are good and when you got arts in the school, you are obviously teaching them from a very early age an appreciation for the arts and appreciation for the humanities. When you cut that out and you rely on common curriculum, you become automatons,” Heard said.

Despite the challenges, local theaters are surviving.

Supporters of the performing arts say theaters bring the community together and force people to check out what is going on around them.

“You are what you eat, so you should eat more art,” O’Connell said. “So many things you don’t know that you’d enjoy it, until you’ve tried it.” 

GUESTS

Will Adamson, president of the board and co-founder, Cockroach Theatre

Sarah O'Connell, artistic director, The Asylum Theatre

Troy Heard, producing director of Onyx Theatre and a creative director of Table 8 Productions

Cindi Reed, arts and entertainment editor, Vegas Seven magazine

Copyright 2015 KNPR-FM. To see more, visit http://www.knpr.org/.
Guests

Will Adamson, president of the board and co-founder, Cockroach Theatre

Sarah O'Connell, artistic director, The Asylum Theatre

Troy Heard, producing director of Onyx Theatre and a creative director of Table 8 Productions

Cindi Reed, arts and entertainment editor, Vegas Seven magazine

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