Wednesday, April 17, 2019 | 2 a.m.
Editor’s Note: Thanks to the Vegas Golden Knights and other new sports and entertainment offerings, Las Vegans are spending more time having fun on the Strip than ever before. The Sun’s new Strip for Locals series is designed to highlight different destinations and attractions along Las Vegas Boulevard we think residents will enjoy just as much as tourists do.
The constant activity and fresh features at Park MGM, the Park and T-Mobile Arena have injected new energy into New York-New York Hotel & Casino, the instantly recognizable 22-year-old south Strip resort that has never had a true entertainment identity beyond its Big Apple theme.
There are plenty of amenities here that deserve more attention but none more than “Zumanity,” which is sometimes brushed aside as merely the sexier sibling of Cirque du Soleil’s family of Las Vegas Strip shows. Like its Cirque relatives, “Zumanity” reveals more thrills, humor and audaciousness upon repeat viewings, but unlike most other current productions on the Strip, this show actually exceeds expectations when it comes to being edgy and provocative. “Absinthe” and other buzzy, irreverent favorites get a lot of credit for pushing such entertainment boundaries while “Zumanity” has been evolving its own brand of erotic artistry in this cozy 1,200-seat theater for more than 15 years.
It’s so much more than sexy, which is why it’s the Cirque show I recommend most to locals. “Zumanity” has something for everyone — other than kids, as it’s an 18-and-over show — but still pushes beyond what would be considered mainstream. There are astounding, dangerous aerial acts from Brazilian-born circus artist Alan Jones Silva and born-and-raised Vegas native Brandon Pereyda, who did his thing during the Valentine’s Day Golden Knights game over the ice at T-Mobile. There are jokes and jabs from host Christopher Kenney (as Edie) and Shannan Calcutt (who does the riotous “Scotch baggies” routine). Two-person hand-balancing acrobatics are a reliable act in so many shows, but the one in “Zumanity” is straight-up seductive, and the equally daring duo that slides and splashes through the iconic “water bowl” act remains unforgettable.
It’s rare that a show with so many different kinds of performances maintains such consistency from act to act, and its all bolstered by an incredible group of musicians and singers that help give “Zumanity” a spirit all its own. If that’s not enough to make this a show that locals love for themselves and their Vegas visitors, there’s always the value: Tickets usually start at $69 and a current special offer is just $49.
“Zumanity” is presented at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Friday through Tuesday at New York-New York (3790 Las Vegas Blvd. South, 702) and more information can be found at cirquedusoleil.com.