Top Stage Shows
By Sarah Sekula
Stage shows are sensational for a night out on the town. Take a look at the performances that took top honors.
Cirque du Soleil is one of the most magical shows in town. Described as a “theatrical ride for the senses," La Nouba creates a world of fantasy for the audience. Filled with original music, colorful and outlandish costumes, creative sets and daring performers, this show will have you hooked from the opening scene. For a cultural performance, Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Dinner show is a great choice. Not only do you get to watch as the cast weaves an enchanting, traditionally South Pacific tale augmented by elaborate costumes and impressive choreography, guests as they dine on barbecued pork ribs, island rice and an array of other authentic, Polynesian dishes.
The Blue Man Group might be the perfect fit for anyone looking for a good belly laugh. The three silent performers present their own unique brand of entertainment including comedy, rhythmic drums, flashing lights, and toilet paper during this lively, interactive show. Or get ready to laugh with Sak Comedy Lab. They are all about improv and bring different themes to different nights, including the popular improv competition "Duel of Fools" (Thursday through Saturday) and Saturday's late-night "Early Show."
Those searching for a great concert or comedian should take a look at the Hard Rock Live. Artists from far and near grace the stage, and in addition to popular bands and music groups, comedy performances have included the Shaquille O'Neil All Star Comedy Weekend, They Might Be Giants, George Lopez, Kevin Smith, and others.
10 Orlando Improv Comedy Club and Dinner Theatre
You have come to the right place if you're looking for quality stand up comedy in Orlando and a delicious meal. Guests who arrive early can enjoy a leisurely dinner of items like the Comedy Club Cornbread, Bacon & Bleu Cheese Burger or the Roasted Chicken Salad, and some beers while they wait for the show to start (the sweet potato fries with bourbon butter sauce are a must!) The lineups at Orlando Improv are usually varied between local talent and more well-known headliners like Cedric the Entertainer and Tommy Davidson. Plan on going early to snag a good table. (407-480-5233)
9 SAK Comedy Lab
An Orlando fixture since 1991, The SAK Comedy Lab features a variety of nationally and internationally recognized comedians. The SAK Comedy Lab is all about improv, and they do it well. One of Orlando's most popular comedy clubs, they recently relocated to the trendy CityArts Factory, in the heart of downtown. The SAK Comedy Lab brings different themes to different nights, including the popular improv competition "Duel of Fools" (Thursday through Saturday) and Saturday's late-night "Early Show." For those wanting to pursue the trade or just bring some A-game to the water cooler, workshops are offered on Mondays � call for more details. Casual attire is suggested, as are reservations. (407-648-0001, 407-648-1333)
8 Comedy Buffet
Some of the best comedy has always been away from the spotlight, in the back alleys and small clubs of the performance underground. Comedy Buffett is one of Orlando's hidden secrets � an improv comedy troupe performing at various locations all over Central Florida. Featuring a group of local performers, the Comedy Buffet serves up cheap and clean comedy that's never the same twice. You'll have to follow their website to track down a show, but the reward is usually small venues and big comedy. If you're looking to hone your improv skills, the troupe puts on comedy classes periodically � check their website for details. (863-299-5698)
7 Blue Man Group · Entertainers
An extravaganza of sensory perception awaits at the new Sharp AQUOS Theatre at Universal Orlando's City Walk, where the Blue Man Group -- three silent performers adorned with blue face paint -- present their own unique brand of entertainment. Comedy, rhythmic drums, flashing lights, and toilet paper (!), are all part of this lively, interactive show. Ponchos are provided for guests in the first few rows since certain portions of the show tend to get sloppy. (407-363-8000, 888-340-5476)
6 Capone's Dinner & Show
Enter the world of gangster Chicago through a stylized ice cream parlor. Once you make it into the speakeasy (or dining room) via password, you'll come face to face with cabaret dancers ready to transport you back to this glam yet shady era via an evening-long vehicle of song and dance. Guests enjoy an Italian buffet dinner with free beverages (including beer, wine and cocktails) and dessert. (407-397-2378, 800-220-8428)
5 Sleuths Mystery Dinner Shows
These engaging shows are performed in a dinner party atmosphere that serves as the backdrop for an unsolved murder. Intriguing, funny and hard-to-crack plots keep guests on the edge of their seats as they participate by questioning suspects. An improv aspect means that every show is different, which keeps the action fresh for patrons and performers alike. Meals include salad, appetizer, beer, wine and main courses like lasagna, Cornish game hen or prime rib. (407-363-1985, 800-393-1985)
4 Arabian Nights
This upscale dinner show features a romantic narrative and satisfying meal, but the horses are the main attraction. Watch as the glorious steeds perform captivating stunts, race vigorously and even make you laugh! The stately Black Stallion Arena, a vast indoor equestrian center, offers an atmosphere conducive to all the hype. Several main course options are available including prime rib, vegetable lasagna and chicken strips, and the meal also comes with salad, garlic mashed potatoes, bread and a beverage. (407-239-9223, 800-553-6116)
3 Disney's Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show
Disney's Polynesian Luau is one of the most spellbinding performances in Orlando. The open-air theater is ideally situated right on the idyllic Seven Seas Lagoon, offering a spectacular view to guests as they dine on barbecued pork ribs, island rice and an array of other authentic, Polynesian dishes. As the cast weaves an enchanting, traditionally South Pacific tale augmented by elaborate costumes and impressive choreography, visitors will feel sure they've been transported to tropical paradise. (407-934-7639, 407-939-3463)
2 Hard Rock Live
Located at Universal's CityWalk, this live concert venue boasts tremendous appeal. Modeled after the Roman coliseum, the dramatic structure seats 2000, features six bars, and adjoins the legendary Hard Rock Cafe. Artists from far and near grace the stage, and in addition to popular bands and music groups, comedy performances have included the Shaquille O'Neil All Star Comedy Weekend, They Might Be Giants, George Lopez, Kevin Smith, and others. In addition to the great food and drink to be found at the Hard Rock Cafe, CityWalk provides a great atmosphere before and after the show, featuring a ton of bars, clubs, and restaurants. (407-351-5483)
1 Cirque du Soleil: La Nouba
Billed as a "theatrical ride for the senses," La Nouba is one of a handful of permanent Cirque du Soleil shows. Consistent, rave reviews make the show, written and directed by Franco Dragone, a must-see for the whole family. The theater is set up so that each spectator has the best possible view, and performances live up to their reputation, featuring unbelievably magical talents. Reservations can be made up to 6 months in advance. (407-939-7600)
About Sarah Sekula
When Sarah's not zigzagging around the planet — swimming with sea lions in the Galapagos Islands, scaling glaciers in Iceland or roaming through remote jungles in India — she's writing about her adventures, the environment, fitness, health/wellness, extraordinary people and social injustice issues.
Sarah's written for USA Today, ISLANDS, Sherman’s Travel, Caribbean Travel & Life, Cayman Airways Skies, American Eagle Latitudes, Orlando Sentinel, abcnews.com, Where Orlando, Where First Coast, nileguide.com, tripatlas.com, Upscale and Wild Blue Yonder.
She's also an editor and photographer, and has a strong background in public relations. She has a real knack for rounding up facts, making deadlines, project-juggling, storytelling, and wiggling her ears (which she claims hasn’t come in handy yet).
Read more about Sarah Sekula here.