Caesars Palace bettin' on Bette
By Mitchell Peters
LAS VEGAS (Billboard) - Celine Dion's five-year residency at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas -- which ended December 15, grossed $385 million and drew nearly 3 million people to 717 shows -- isn't an easy act to follow. But when it came to finding her replacement, Bette Midler was the natural choice.
"She is the ultimate showgirl," said John Meglen, co-president of Concerts West, a touring arm of AEG Live, which oversees programming at the 4,100-seat venue. "She's a total entertainer, and Vegas is about total entertainment."
And for most of her life, entertaining people has been 62-year-old Midler's specialty. The actress/singer will enter her two-year Vegas stint, which debuts February 20, with an undeniable resume. Along with four Grammy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards, three Emmy Awards, a Tony Award and 18 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, Midler has proved to be a major force in the touring world. Her most recent outing, the 2003-05 Kiss My Brass arena tour, grossed $74.3 million, according to Billboard Boxscore.
Midler's initial two-year contract calls for 100 shows each year, with the option to extend at the end of the run. Tickets range from $95 to $250 for the five-nights-a-week show, which will feature musical numbers, elaborate dances, comedy bits and plenty of glitter and feathers.
On nights when Midler isn't performing, as was the case with Dion's residency, such prominent artists as Elton John, Jerry Seinfeld and Cher will appear at the venue.
Ticket sales for Midler's first run, February 20 through March 16, are "pretty close" to being sold out, according to Meglen.
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