Friday, March 18, 2011 | 11:57 a.m.
Robin Leach's Vegas DeLuxe
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Celine Dion at Caesars Palace
Three top executives with Celine Dion’s new show at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace reflected on opening night for members of the world’s press corp. Perhaps Ken Ehrlich, the Grammy Award-winning director, summed it up best as he linked his thoughts to Celine’s new twin boys Eddy and Nelson:
“Creating a show is like giving birth. Imagine making something from nothing and seeing it grow into its own life form right before your very eyes. It’s pure joy.”
In response to a question as to what Ken perceived as the biggest challenge in putting the show together, he added: “The obvious one is that A New Day, her first show, was such a huge success that we were faced with the challenge of certainly not wanting to do the same again, but yet hopefully repeating the success of the first show. I think our approach was different, and it really came from Celine and Rene (Angelil). They wanted the show to be more personal and more musical. Maybe we wanted to do a show that reflected a certain maturity in Celine after having had two more children.
“In all candor, the idea of Celine doing a duet with herself and another one with Stevie Wonder was all Rene. Rene really loved the idea of doing something like that. The thinking was that we wanted to have a special guest on the show. The hologram process is over 100 years old -- it goes back to the 1800s sometime, but this is the most technologically advanced it’s ever been anywhere in the world. How do you keep the music playing? The duet became a logical thing to do. And I think he was proven pretty right. It was pretty much jaw-dropping.”
John Meglen, president of AEG Live/Concerts West, which produces Celine’s show, said: “Celine Dion is an extraordinary artist. She always delivers. The experience of getting to this night has been nothing but joy. It’s just been wonderful. Over the course of the process of the show, I was often asked if I was nervous about it. Honestly, I wasn’t, and I don’t think that any of us who worked on this show was, either. It’s because we knew who it was that was in front of us all. You just know that when you have an artist of Celine’s magnitude and abilities.
“This is truly a residence show. Caesars Palace is the only place in the world that you’ll be able to see this show. There’s no tour plans at all right now.”
I asked John how the show had shifted from the original reported concept of Hollywood movie themes and if they had come to the conclusion that it wasn’t working and needed to change. He replied: “I don’t know if I would say it wasn’t working. I think that as we’ve learned, these shows are an evolution. We wanted to have a clean departure from A New Day. It was more of how do we make Celine come forward within this and let the production elements support her rather than her be inside of a production, which was much more about what A New Day was. There was a bit of a Hollywood theme that we may have started with, but I think it evolved more into great songs. It was truly an evolution. Rene said we’ve all put our hearts into this show to make it an experience that people will never forget. I am convinced the team achieved that.”
I asked Caesars Palace President Gary Selesner, who also took part in the Q&A, about what Celine means to today’s Las Vegas economy. “It’s just great to have Celine back. She clearly means a lot to Caesars Palace,” he replied.
“As you know, when she arrived at the front steps, there were over 1,000 employees to welcome her back, and that’s because she means business. The employees here know that having Celine in the house results in having bigger tips, fuller rooms, better room rates, fuller restaurants, everything. We are overjoyed she has come back home. It couldn’t be better.”
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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