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Showtime for Manilow

By Chuckmonster on Sunday, 3rd April 2005 11:47pm
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 0


Backstage at the Hilton Theater, there has been a top-to-bottom makeover: striking modern decor for the superstar dressing room and an inviting new VIP lounge for the important showbiz guests. Out front, there's new carpet, seating, sound, fancy lasers and arena-size effects. Even the snacks and souvenirs have received a five-star upgrade.

It's the kind of investment theater owners make when they know they're in for a long run. And in Vegas these days, your theater is either in for a long run -- or it's not on the map.

The run in this case belongs to Barry Manilow, the latest big-ticket, brand-name pop icon to bid his tour bus goodbye in favor of setting up shop in one spot. Slated for five shows a week at the Las Vegas Hilton through 2006 (with breaks during which others will appear), Manilow and other firmly planted Grammy winners -- among them Celine Dion, Elton John and Gladys Knight -- as well as several stay-put Broadway and West End theatricals are transforming this city's renowned Strip from mere nightlife capital to what might now be the world center of live entertainment.

"It's a dream job for me," Manilow said during a rehearsal break last month. "And it's a dream gig for Celine and Elton. I hear they're so happy here. And it's because you can set up your beautiful show -- and you can be even more inventive because it doesn't have to tour -- and you have a life, you go to work at night and the audiences come to you."



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