Celine Dion fans can thank Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones if her new show reaches new heights.
Jones came to Dion's show several years ago then "put that giant screen in Cowboys Stadium so we now have to up Jerry Jones," said John Meglen, president of entertainment giant AEG Live!, co-producers of Dion's upcoming show at Caesars Palace.
In interviews, Meglen and Rene Angelil, Dion's husband and manager, revealed how her new show, "Celine," was created.
There will be technology "that no one has seen before" said Meglen, and the focus of longtime Grammys director Ken Ehrlich will be about "really featuring Celine."
"We have to have things that no one has seen before. We have to raise the bar again," said Meglen. "And marrying the technology in a way that it supports the sophistication of the class of Celine and an orchestra, that's the challenge.
He added, "The challenge is things can get too technical, they can get too flashy. You don't want to rely on technology. You want to use the newest and the greatest technology but it always has to be in a position of enhancing Celine's performance."
So what does that mean as far as the Colosseum's giant LED screen?
"The video is getting bigger," he said. "We are adding to it, in different ways. We're adding more video."
With Franco Dragone, who brought Cirque du Soleil elements when he directed Dion's first show, "there was a balance between Celine and Franco Dragone," said Meglen. "What Ken Ehrlich brings to the table is really shining the star of Celine."
"And that's part of the reason why Ken Ehrlich is so important because no one knows Celine and Rene as well as Ken Ehrlich and he has directed about every special she has ever done," he continued. "She is close with him, not just professionally, but personally so he's really going to know how to bring that side of Celine out in many ways much more than Franco Dragone did."
As reported here several months ago, one of the bigger changes will be a full 31-piece orchestra that will probably grow by Dion's March 15 opening, Meglen said.
"We planned for that," he said. "We have the contingency for that. It needs to be what it needs to be at the end of the day. And you cannot let finances take away from that. You can't let that effect the creative process."
Angelil said the original plan was to bring her world tour show to Las Vegas for Dion's next run, but that would have meant many would have already seen it.
Halfway through the tour, "we decided to go with a whole new show," said Angelil, in a telephone interview Thursday from his Lake Las Vegas home.
A factor in that decision was the excitement created when Dion teamed up with a 31-piece orchestra for the 400th anniversary celebration of Quebec City in 2008.
Buzz reverberated for months after a massive crowd of 250,000 showed up for the event.
Celine was buzzed, too. "For an artist," said Angelil, "there's nothing better than working with an orchestra."
And Ehrlich directed three Celine specials for CBS "so we had a very close relationship."
by Norm Clarke