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August 27, 2014

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Shania Twain secretly arrives in Las Vegas, starts show rehearsals


Judy Eddy

Caesars Palace President Gary Selesner, Shania Twain and AEG executive John Meglen in Nashville on Wednesday, June 8, 2011.

Shania Twain at 2003 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand

Shania Twain performs Launch slideshow »

Superstar singer Shania Twain has slipped secretly into town to start her rehearsals for the new spectacular run at Caesars Palace starting Dec. 1. Her under-the-radar arrival was kept secret as plans were announced for a gala welcome party Nov. 14 at the casino resort’s fountains on the Strip.

Shania hardly unpacked fully before going straight to work with two round-the-clock days of costume fittings and wardrobe selections. Vegas DeLuxe has learned exclusively that her 15-male dance crew was finalized last week, and their rehearsals and choreography workouts began at the start of the weekend.

“Now it’s for real. The band rehearsals start today,” one of the show’s executives told me. “We are now fully on the way.”

Shania arrived with many of the song rehearsals under her belt having spent weeks selecting and working on the material at her home in the Bahamas and quietly in the solitude of her cabin in Ontario.

Since arriving, Shania has been continuing work at a private rehearsal studio here and also in her hotel suite. I am reliably told that the moment Sir Elton John wraps his current run Oct. 28 at the Colosseum in Caesars, Shania will move onto that stage Nov. 1.

Shania is the creator and executive producer of the show “Still the One.” Her director is Raj Kapoor. “He is a creative phenomenon. The show will have many of his unique special effects. He is highly regarded as the best video-effects guy in the EDM world,” John Meglen, president and co-CEO of AEG Live/Concerts West, who is producing Shania’s show, told me.

“We have a couple of very special surprises in store, but we will keep those under wraps until opening night. What I can reveal, though, is that the projection mapping that Raj has created is cutting edge. It’s a major league leap in technology. What we’ve seen already is amazing. Even the insider people are already talking about it on the level of ‘we’ve never seen or experienced that ever before.’ ”

Shania talked with me exclusively about the strength of her voice and her game plan for the new Caesars show in a two-part interview posted June 13 (“A happy Shania Twain: ‘My voice is stronger today than ever’ ”) and 14 (“Shania Twain exclusive, Part 2: Her game plan for Caesars Palace show”) in 2011.

She’s been plotting the new show ever since. Shania for a long time had talked of never performing or recording again after she lost her voice following the domestic upheaval in her life. It took our pal Lionel Richie to win her confidence back to start singing again.

Now she’s back big time and wants her Las Vegas debut to be the best she’s ever done. I’ve learned that it’s a big production and re-creates her mega tour along with a lot of video of her life. It’s the story of how she crossed over from reaching the top of the country charts to conquering the pop world, too. It’s the story of who she is and who she became. She’s including her #1 hits in this production but presenting them with sophistication rather than what you’d see on tour.

Lionel Richie and Shania Twain Endless Love

John explained: “It’s a larger-than-life show, and it really is over the top. Shania is a beautiful lady, very down to Earth, but she has a contrarian side to ensure perfection in everything she does. The audiences will experience all of that. It goes from being overwhelmingly massive to understated intimacy.

“You look at the shows we have in the Colosseum: Rod Stewart is tongue-in-cheek, Celine Dion is big and bold, and now Shania is larger than life. Everybody is excited about what she’s bringing to life.”

Shania has told her cast and crew here that she’s happy in Las Vegas and loves her hotel home. “She’s already demonstrated a great work ethic. She’s peppy and in good spirits,” I was told. “This production is of major league importance to her, so she wants everything not only right but also way beyond that.”

Tickets have sold so fast for her first run starting Dec. 1 that just a few remain. Tickets are already on sale for her second run, which gets underway in March. The box office reports, “That’s doing very well, too, for being so far out.”

Fans will be encouraged to greet Shania at her official arrival Nov. 14 at Caesars. It’s an arrival ceremony guaranteed to stop traffic. Last week, I watched as Caesars execs blocked out the ceremony with staff; don’t be surprised if the white horse in her new TV commercial for Caesars makes a return appearance. The Canadian songbird has signed a two-year contract with Caesars to perform “Shania: Still the One” at the Colosseum.

Caesars President Gary Selesner welcomed Shania to Las Vegas last week before he left for a business trip in Asia. He said, “Her fans will be taken on a spectacular journey through the various stages of Shania’s life and career. It will be an unforgettable evening filled with music, multisensory and visual experiences, fashion, plus, some very unexpected surprises.”

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

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  1. Any info on who her band members are? I've heard some of her band members - Hardy Hemphill, Cory Churko - are returning. Any others you know about? Can't wait to see the show! Always enjoy your updates, Robin!