Las Vegas bets big on Celine

Singer to inaugurate new 4,000-seat theater

LAS VEGAS — Wayne Newton, you have some big-time competition.

Celine Dion has inked an exclusive, multiyear agreement with Caesars Palace under which she’ll do 200 shows per year for a minimum of three years.

Dion will inaugurate Caesars’ new 4,000-seat theater, a venue designed to resemble the Roman Colosseum, which is being constructed specifically for her perfs. The structure will cost $65 million-$75 million to build; tickets for the show will range between $85 and $150.

Concerts are skedded to start in March 2003.

Concerts West will present the show, produced by CDA Prods. (owned by Dion and husband Rene Angelil).

“It’s hard to imagine who else could even do this,” Concerts West co-chief exec John Meglen said. “This will end up being the ultimate performance.”

Compensation for Dion and production monies were not disclosed, but Meglen did note that “we are partners” in the deal with Dion and Angelil.

Dion’s show will be directed by Franco Dragone, creator of successful Strip staples such as “O” and “Mystere.”

Dion, who has sold more than 125 million albums worldwide over the past decade, has headlined individual engagements at Caesars Palace since 1994.

(Justin Oppelaar in New York contributed to this report.)