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Jan. 28, 2004

Beatles show may replace Siegfried & Roy in Vegas


By Steve Friess

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) -LAS VEGAS, Jan 28 (Reuters) - The "Yellow Submarine" soon may sail into the Mirage casino in Las Vegas, replacing the closed "Siegfried & Roy" show with a Beatles-scored Cirque du Soleil spectacle, people familiar with the discussions said on Wednesday.

 The move at MGM Mirage's signature resort would mark the next wave of a new British invasion of the desert entertainment capital.

Caesars Entertainment Inc's Paris Hotel & Casino is expected to announce next month that it will open by the end of the year a $13 million edition of the Queen-scored musical "We Will Rock You" as its resident show, other people familiar with those plans said..

Elton John begins a three-year, 75-show contract on Feb. 13 to fill in for Celine Dion at Caesars Palace, another Caesars property, and London-based "Mamma Mia" has been a hit for Mandalay Resort Group's Mandalay Bay resort since opening about a year ago.

The Venetian Hotel & Casino, owned by Las Vegas Sands, Inc., is in talks to install a permanent "Phantom of the Opera" show in 2005, a source close to the hotel said.

Beatles' company, Apple Corp. Inc., confirmed in 2001 that a Cirque show in London was under consideration, but Beatle George Harrison, who was friends with Cirque Chief Executive Guy Laliberte, died shortly after that announcement and the show never materialized.

Cirque said there was no deal for a Las Vegas Beatles show and declined to comment further.

'FAIRLY CERTAIN'

It's unclear whether the Mirage show would stick to the 1968 "Yellow Submarine" psychedelic cartoon film's soundtrack or use other Beatles music as well, the sources said.

MGM Mirage spokesman Alan Feldman said it was "fairly likely" that Cirque would fill the showroom left vacant when an on-stage tiger mauling in October critically injured illusionist Roy Horn and forced the permanent closure of the "Siegfried & Roy" magic show.

MGM and Cirque have a joint venture agreement and the "Yellow Submarine" show would become the fifth concurrent Cirque production on the Las Vegas Strip.

"O" and "Mystere" are long-time hits, "Zumanity" has just opened at New York, New York and another show debuts this summer at the MGM Grand hotel.

"The Cirque shows all stand on their own," said Feldman, who said other possibilities were still being considered for the Mirage.

The gambling and resort giant also has been mulling a Cirque-themed casino on the Las Vegas Strip, and Feldman said there was no limit. "How many great Irving Berlin songs are there? Are we ever concerned that we have too many?"

The Queen show at Paris Las Vegas began in London and has done well internationally. It strings together 25 Queen hits into a futuristic narrative about a rebellion against a world where music is outlawed.

The show has is being produced in the United States by Tribeca Entertainment, the New York-based company founded by actor Robert DeNiro. A Tribeca spokeswoman said it was premature to discuss the Las Vegas deal.

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