Tait Towers is responsible for the stage renovation and transformation in the 4,100-seat Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. The 2008 season kicks off February 20th with Bette Midler’s The Showgirl Must Go On and will be followed by legendary hit maker Cher and Caesars Palace alum, Elton John.
The stage enhancements provided by Tait Towers to The Colosseum are the result of the unique relationship Tait enjoys with their clients, including Bette Midler, Cher, and Elton John. All three iconic performers expressed confidence in Tait Towers’ abilities when meeting with Caesars Palace executives. As a result, The Colosseum contacted Tait directly and formalized an agreement to design, fabricate, and install staging to accommodate the new acts for 2008. In this way, Tait Towers was able to act as a bridge between their current clients and Caesars.
Bob Sandon, technical director for The Colosseum says, “Tait was the natural choice for this project. Their long-term relationships with artists combined with their technical expertise provided the synergy we required to make this new stage exactly what it needed to be. Their smart design makes better use of the space and has added much needed additional seating to the venue.”
Tait Towers’ engineers worked with Bette Midler and her design team to transform The Colosseum to suit the singer/actress/comedienne’s desire to perform in a traditional, technologically subtle, theatre setting. From start to finish, the process took just under three months; 60 days for the design and survey phase, 14 days for custom fabrication at the Tait Towers shop in Lititz, PA, and a remarkably brief 12 hours to load in and install onsite.
Tait Towers built the newly formatted generic stage floor with artist-specific thrusts designed so that the performance area is quickly interchangeable in order to accommodate the planned rotation of artists. The updated design has the advantage of providing the artist a greater sense of intimacy with the audience as well as providing extra seating capacity and the subsequent increase to the venue revenue stream.
Specifically for Bette Midler’s The Showgirl Must Go On, Tait engineers designed and installed mechanical components including a striking 12’6” center revolve atop the existing center-stage elevator, which doubles as a lift and is surrounded by a 20' rotating annulus. The annulus can travel an additional 12" up to give it a little extra height when needed and will serve to showcase not only Midler, but her world-class dance troupe as well.
Tait Towers president, James “Winky” Fairorth says, “From the architectural side, the most challenging aspect of this particular project was the need to design a generic stage area that would have the flexibility to service three diverse acts, and any future productions the theatre chooses to mount. From a creative perspective, we wanted to make certain the new stage would be sophisticated and magical with the technology subtle and understated. The extraordinary Vegas-style bells and whistles could not detract from the classic proscenium environment the artists were looking for.”
Tait Towers engineers paid particular attention to the fact that all of the stage elements needed to be built to withstand extreme loading during their life. The Tait Towers design calls for extra framing for additional support and stiffness. Every walkable surface is 1" thick plywood with a 1/4" thick phenolic sheet laminated to the top of it, allowing for much larger point loads on the decks as well as a significantly more durable surface.
Adam Davis, Tait Towers vice president, says, “With the departure of Celine Dion from The Colosseum stage, Caesars chose a three-artist rotation for their 2008 offering, a rotation that begins with Bette Midler and includes Cher and Elton John. That meant we had to develop artist-specific stage elements that could make a seamless and carefree transition from show to show.”