A scene from LOVE
(Photo © Tomas Muscionico)
A scene from LOVE
(Photo © Tomas Muscionico)
The newest Cirque du Soleil show, LOVE, has just opened at the Mirage. The busy-busy folks at Cirque has been working hard to depart from its usual formula, and LOVE is no exception, with it's jukebox musical-meets-circus concept. The show, which was written and directed by Dominic Champagne, uses the songs of legendary pop group The Beatles as inspiration and backdrop for the always-amazing aerial acrobatics and dance Cirque fans have come to know and love.

The experiment of bringing Broadway to the desert has met with some seriously mixed results. The latest casualty was , which closed on June 11, the very night that Broadway was celebrating itself with the Tony Awards. In the wake of Hairspray's closure, there have been some whispers that Spamalot -- expected to come to the Wynn in 2007 -- may rethink its plans to make a home in Vegas. But The Producers, which has been auditioning recently, is still advertising an opening either late summer or early fall at the Paris. Until then, all eyes are on the Venetian, which is home to Phantom -- The Las Vegas Spectacular. If any show is built to last, this is it. What's more, the show's legendary original director, 21-time Tony winner Harold Prince, has endeavored to make this production utterly unique, giving audiences something that they can only get in Vegas.

Thankfully, no matter what happens, there will always be life beyond the Strip in the world of Las Vegas theater. At the Community College of Southern Nevada, it's the eighth annual Dance in the Desert Festival (July 21-22). The Festival brings together not only the most accomplished choreographers and finest dance companies of Las Vegas, but also attracts dancers from all over the U.S. and the world.

The Super Summer Theatre takes Vegas audiences back in time with Return to the Forbidden Planet (July 12-29). Bob Carlton's science fiction musical comedy was a smash in London's West End in 1989, going on to win the Olivier Award for Best Musical that year. The musical takes the story from the Shakespeare classic The Tempest, gives it a sci-fi spin via the 1956 cult flick Forbidden Planet, and then throws in a bunch of the biggest hits of the 1950s including "Wipe Out," "Great Balls Of Fire," "Shake Rattle and Roll," "Good Vibrations," "Only the Lonely," and "Born to Be Wild." The production comes courtesy of Stagedoor Entertainment, and Terrence Williams and David Tapper will serve as directors. Performed at SST's outdoor theater, seeing Return to the Forbidden Planet should be just like going to the old drive-in again -- a real blast from the past.