Las Vegas Sun

October 19, 2019

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It’s time for an evolution at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace

Céline Dion celebrates her 1,000th

Denise Truscello / Courtesy of Caesers Palace

Céline Dion celebrates her 1,000th show at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016.

The Las Vegas Strip venue that originated the modern headlining residency phenomenon that has revolutionized the entertainment landscape is moving forward with renovation plans and a new partner.

Caesars Entertainment has announced plans to update the Colosseum at Caesars Palace this summer with new technical and design upgrades, including the installation of an automated lift system that can lower and raise the floor in front of the stage to create different seating capabilities or a standing “general admission” space.

When the Colosseum renovation is complete and re-opens in the fall, it will be owned and operated by Caesars Entertainment in partnership with promoter Live Nation. The two companies collaborate in a similar manner by running and programming Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood.

Click to enlarge photo

This rendering shows the Colosseum's general admission area with lowered floor.

Since the 4,300-seat Colosseum opened in 2003 with the debut of Celine Dion’s original Las Vegas residency “A New Day,” the theater has been operated by AEG Presents. While other companies have produced events at the Colosseum, AEG has run the room and dominated its programming with artist residencies from Dion, Elton John, Bette Midler, Cher, Shania Twain and others. Last year, Live Nation opened its first residency at the Colosseum with a series of concerts by Mariah Carey.

In early 2018, Caesars opted not to extend AEG’s management and promoter contract, which expires this year, paving the way for an extension of partnership with Live Nation. Dion’s second successful residency at the Colosseum is also ending this summer, with her final performance set for June 8, creating a natural opening for a temporary closure to complete the renovation.

“More than anything it’s about our view of what the venue needed now given the evolution of the market,” said Jason Gastwirth, Caesars’ president of entertainment. “Remember, 15 years ago when Celine started all this, this was unique. Now as we talk about residencies we’re proud to say this is a universal term everyone in the industry is talking about. So we’re using this opportunity to do all this switchover at one time with the close of Celine’s residency, shutting down over the summer which is a big commitment on our end, but necessary for us to get to that next era.”

The Colosseum’s audio and lighting packages will be upgraded with state-of-the-art equipment capitalizing on technical advancements only recently available and its 110-by-34-foot LED video screen will be replaced with a new version, doubling its resolution and increasing its size. The award-winning theater will also introduce the first-of-its-kind modular seating strategy that includes the floor lift system, which could create a standing space directly in front of the stage that won’t impair seated guests’ sightlines (similar to that of Zappos Theater), and expanded VIP seating pods throughout the venue.

Sceno Plus, the theater design company that originally developed the venue’s design, returns to work on the renovation. All of the seating will be refurbished with new custom fabrics and the lobby bars ill be expanded.

“While we recognize the Colosseum is already top of its class, these changes will allow for more flexibility in our booking process and give us the opportunity to thrill fans with new and diverse offerings,” said Gastwirth, who also said to expect announcements soon regarding new residents and events at the Colosseum.

“The world’s most legendary artists have graced The Colosseum’s stage since its inception and we are excited to partner with Caesars Entertainment to further attract the biggest names in music, creating a hub for live entertainment that is unmatched by any other destination in the world,” said Kurt Melien, president at Live Nation Las Vegas.

The Colosseum’s calendar currently extends to July 6 with a concert from country residents Reba McEntire and Brooks & Dunn. After that, the next scheduled show is Rod Stewart on September 18.