COLOSSEUM MAKES THE (UP)GRADE: Caesars Palace entertainment venue to get major makeover

Celine Dion opened it. Elton John, Rod Stewart, Mariah Carey, Cher and others burnished it. Crowds reveled in it. And now, the Colosseum at Caesars Palace, which in 15 years evolved into what Billboard magazine called the “Venue of the Decade” for the aughties, will get a major technical and design makeover to prepare it for the future.

In an April 10 statement issued with booking partner Live Nation, Caesars Entertainment Corp., which owns Caesars Palace and the venue, said the changes will include a new state-of-the-art sound system, new moving light fixtures and a high-definition light-emitting-diode video wall.

The upgrades’ costs weren’t disclosed, but Caesars Palace regional President Gary Selesner told Variety magazine online that a “quarter-billion dollars” has been spent upgrading the hotel-casino in the past three years.

Caesars Entertainment said the changes will keep the prestige and character of the venue, which has earned the Billboard Touring Awards’ “Top Venue Under 5,000” title 13 times — or every year the award has existed (2005-2018) — and was named Billboard ’s Venue of the Decade: 2000-2009.

Montreal-based Scéno Plus, which designed the Colosseum, returns to lead the makeover.

Artists rendering of VIP Area at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace, released April 2019. (Courtesy Caesars Entertainment)

Caesars Entertainment said the 4,300-seat Colosseum will get a first-of-its-kind modular seating capability from an automated lift system that will allow for multiple seating arrangements, including VIP banquettes with bottle service and a general admission setup on the main floor. The banquettes will serve groups of two to 10.

The venue’s plush red seats, all of which, Caesars Entertainment said, are within 145 feet of the stage, will be refurbished. The lobby bar will also expand, which Caesars said will enable faster service.

Also, a signature feature of the Colosseum, its 110-feet-long, 34-feet-tall LED video screen will be replaced completely, more than doubling its resolution and size, Caesars Entertainment said.

The changes come as Caesars Entertainment takes over booking of the Colosseum from Anschutz Entertainment Group arm AEG Presents and begins its partnership with Live Nation, which will coordinate all future headlining acts at the venue. Live Nation also books the Park Theater at the Park MGM and the Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood resort-casino.

AEG will stay involved with the Colosseum, several outlets said, continuing to promote shows at Caesars Entertainment’s more than 50 venues in 13 states and five countries.

In its statement, Caesars Entertainment and Live Nation said the Colosseum’s changes will elevate experiences for performers and audiences.

“We’re thrilled to make the best entertainment experiences in Las Vegas even better by enhancing the Colosseum at Caesars Palace with its innovative design and unique elements,” said Jason Gastwirth, Caesars Entertainment’s president of entertainment, in the statement. “The timing of these enhancements couldn’t be better as Caesars Entertainment and Live Nation now partner to program the Colosseum with a commitment to bring world-class performers to this refreshed, iconic entertainment venue.

“The best seat in Las Vegas just got better.”

Live Nation Las Vegas President Kurt Melien said the changes will further improve the Colosseum’s fitness for performance residencies, which have become a dominant form of modern theater entertainment.

“The world’s most legendary artists have graced The Colosseum’s stage since its inception,” Melien said in the statement. “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.”

The Colosseum will close for renovation in July and reopen in the early fall, the companies said. The Las Vegas Sun noted that the Colosseum’s calendar includes dates up to July 6, when country music residents Reba McEntire and Brooks & Dunn are to perform. The next scheduled show after that is a Sept. 18 concert by Rod Stewart, the Sun added. That would suggest an 11-week closure.

“We’re doubling down on this theater while it’s still at the top of its game to bring it to the next level,” Gastwirth told Variety. “Las Vegas is a growing entertainment market, and this is an opportunity for us to stay in that leadership position.” 

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