Celine Dion takes stage for first show to begin three-year run in Las Vegas
Monday, March 24th 2003, 12:00 am
News On 6
LAS VEGAS (AP) _ Celine Dion took the stage Tuesday night at Caesars Palace in the debut of ``A New Day,'' a multimillion-dollar extravaganza that will test the French-Canadian superstar's staying power.
The diva belted out 20 tunes in 100 minutes in front of an adoring crowd at the 4,100-seat Colosseum. The audience couldn't get enough.
``We love you Celine,'' they shouted, and gave her a series of standing ovations.
``Tonight is the big day,'' Dion told the audience. ``I want to thank you for being here ... with everything that is going on in the world, let's just try tonight to focus on peace. Let's try to enjoy ourselves tonight.''
Dion, who turns 35 Sunday, danced and flew from steel wires throughout the night. But the fans were there to hear her voice and got plenty of it.
She sang such classics as ``Fever,'' ``At Last'' and ``I've Got the World on a String.'' There was no encore.
The $30 million production by Belgian director Franco Dragone includes 48 dancers and the world's largest LED screen.
Under her contract, Dion is expected to keep up the act five nights a week, 40 weeks a year until 2006. She will receive about $100 million, plus 50 percent of the profits during the three-year contract.
Tickets, which cost $87.50 to $200, have been selling steadily. More than 250,000 were sold for the first three months of the show. Another block of tickets was to go on sale Wednesday.
To ensure that Dion can belt out tunes for 200 shows a year, a stage humidifier was installed to protect her voice, which is insured, from the desert climate.
Dion's debut coincides with the release of her new album and a live CBS special hosted by Justin Timberlake.
The casino, along with parent company Park Place Entertainment, is hoping that Dion can reverse its sagging financial fortunes. Dragone also created the Cirque du Soleil shows, including the long-running ``Mystere'' and ``O.''