LAS VEGAS — The reigning queen and king of the Strip, Celine Dion and Elton John, reinvented Las Vegas entertainment as a marquee destination for superstars rather than a dumping ground for has-beens.
The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, home of their respective productions, turned a decade old in March, and the venue remains the chief draw in Las Vegas, with a lineup that now includes hit list veterans Rod Stewart and Shania Twain.
Prior to the arrival of the classic rock stud and the pop-country darling, a double dose of divadom in the blissfully flamboyant forms of Cher and Bette Midler shared Colosseum space as well, solidifying the venue’s stature among acts with intense drawing power.
“We touched a nerve of what Vegas once was, but in a modern fashion,” said Jason Gastwirth, senior vice president of marketing and entertainment at Caesars Entertainment Corp. “When the Colosseum rolled out, it changed the paradigm of headliners coming to Vegas at the height of their careers.”
When Dion opened the $95 million venue in March 2003 with her “A New Day” production, it was a gamble, so to speak. Even with her international fan base, would enough tourists pour into the 4,300-capacity venue several nights a week during her four-year residency to justify her reported $100 million paycheck?