Friday, Jan. 29, 2010 | 8:35 a.m.
After 180 shows and audiences totaling more than 750,000, The Divine Miss M says farewell on Sunday night at The Colosseum in Caesars Palace as her two-year run comes to an end.
Bette Midler strode onto the stage back on Feb. 20, 2008, to huge applause from a VIP audience that included Siegfried & Roy, Meatloaf, Angela Bassett, Joey Fatone, Lance Bass, Alan Thicke, Ricki Lake, Taye Diggs and Strip headliner Nathan Burton.
Since then, celebrities including Tony Bennett, Rob Reiner, Dick Clark, Dita Von Teese, Helen Hunt, Taylor Dane, Sarah Silverman, Kathy Griffin, Gladys Knight, Barbara Walters and her The View co-hosts, Pink and Carey Hart, Larry King, Clive Davis, Christian Audigier, Celine Dion and Rene Angelil, Ann-Margaret, Mandy Moore, Ozzy Osbourne and family, Reba McEntire, Kelly Clarkson, Candice Bergen, Yoko Ono, LeAnn Rimes, Lily Tomlin, Gloria Estefan, Chelsea Handler, Olivia Newton-John, Bob Mackie, Mel B and Katy Sagal all have made the pilgrimage. David Copperfield was the most recent just two days ago.
Partly because of Midler's two years of box-office success, often being ranked at the top of artist sales in Las Vegas, The Colosseum has been named by Billboard as Venue of the Decade based on gross ticket sales.
With the show coming to a close, here are some its vital statistics:
• Although Midler frequently comments and jokes about the massive size of the stage, it actually is 16 feet shorter than when Dion used it for A New Day. It underwent renovation at the end of 2007 for Midler and now measures 120 feet wide by 60 feet deep.
• It takes 34 stagehands and crew to make the set changes that audiences see during The Showgirl Must Go On.
• The Caesar Salad Girls, Midler's version of the classic Las Vegas showgirl, each undergo some two hours of hair and makeup preparation before taking the stage.
• The mountain of Louis Vuitton luggage that opens The Showgirl Must Go On weighs approximately 2,200 pounds.
• About 75,000 individually hand-painted gold coins make up the coin curtains and the coin trees that adorn the stage.
• There are a total of 132 costume changes during one performance, enough for each Caesar Salad Girl, all three Harlettes and Midler to change costumes six times.
• With a total capacity of 4,296 in The Colosseum, more than 750,000 people have seen Midler and her show over the past 24 months. While seated for the show, no fan was more than 120 feet from Midler.
• The Colosseum houses the largest indoor, high-definition LED screen in North America, standing 34 feet tall by 109 feet wide and weighing 31 tons. The Mitsubishi screen is comprised of 5,324,800 individual diodes.
In her closing concerts, Midler each night has had her dancers collect contributions from the audience to benefit the Haiti earthquake relief operations, and she's personally matched each dollar donated with a dollar of her own. Her first four shows starting last week earned more than $100,000. The estimated total by Sunday night's final concert will be more than $200,000.
Last year, the Nevada Ballet Theater presented Midler with the Woman of the Year Award. Midler says she wants a good, long rest after the two-year run, but already there are rumors that she might return with a simpler one-woman solo acoustic show at Steve Wynn's Encore Theater in the Wynn, similar to Garth Brooks.