Las Vegas, long recognized for its dazzling lights and entertainment, is also being celebrated as a prestigious stage for artists, a significant shift from its past reputation. This transformation into an entertainment hub is highlighted by the success of performers like Shania Twain and Donny Osmond, who view their Vegas residencies as a badge of honor.
Donny Osmond, performing solo at Harrah’s for over two years, showcases a vibrant career spanning six decades. His show, performed five nights a week, takes audiences on a journey through his hits, including a nostalgic trip back to the ’70s and a nod to his role as Captain Shang in “Mulan.”
“I’ve been playing here since I was 7. I know that,” said Osmond.
He first came here with the Osmond Brothers in 1964, and later had an 11-year residency with his sister, Marie.
“You want the people to walk out saying, ‘That was not a show. That was an experience,'” he said.
Shania Twain, set to launch her third residency in May at Planet Hollywood, celebrates the 25th anniversary of “Come On Over,” the best-selling album ever by a solo female artist. Twain’s approach to her performances is heavily influenced by audience interaction, making each show a thrilling and unpredictable experience.
“I have to be prepared for the spirit of the audience,” she said. “Because I do interact so much with them and I do bring them up on stage, I never know who I’m gonna meet and what I’m in for.”
Las Vegas has been a cornerstone of entertainment since the 1940s, with historic residencies by the Rat Pack in the 1960s and Elvis Presley’s comeback in 1969. The city has evolved into a place where legends are made and careers are celebrated. Celine Dion, for example, revolutionized the concept of a residency with her 16-year stint starting in 2003, setting a high bar for Twain.
“I’ve learned that when you’re doing all of that you’re vocally an athlete more than you’ve ever been before and you need serious discipline,” said Twain.
Artists like Twain and Osmond also debunk the myth of Vegas as a “graveyard” for entertainers.
“Not anymore,” Osmond said. “I mean, you go up and down the street. You know, you see the A-listers.”
Twain echoed Osmond’s sentiment, considering her residency a privilege and a challenge, “because there’s not room for everyone.”
Twain added that having a Las Vegas residency sets a high bar.
“You’ve gotta earn your way in there,” she said. “And it’s demanding. It’s the most demanding stage, I think, in the world.”
Another factor is the fact that audiences have a wide range of options.
“The standard is so high. The audiences, they have so much choice,” said Twain.