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MGM to build $100M venue to lure artists to Las Vegas

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FILE - In this May 15, 2015 file photo, Taylor Swift performs at Rock in Rio USA at the MGM Resorts Festival Grounds in Las Vegas. Apple's abrupt about-face on paying royalties for songs during a three-month free-trial period for its new music service was a symbolic victory for superstar Swift and other artists, and a shrewd business move by Apple, at a time when the streaming phenomenon is causing major changes in the music industry. Apple had already agreed to share revenue from the new Apple Music service once users start paying a $10-a-month subscription fee for the service, which it plans to launch June 30, 2015. (Photo by John Davisson/Invision/AP, File)

LAS VEGAS >>  MGM Resorts International plans to build a $100 million, 5,300-seat theater at its Monte Carlo casino-hotel to attract top musicians for weeks at a time.

The project will be built next to a larger, 20,000-seat arena now under construction.

MGM also plans to overhaul and likely rename the Monte Carlo, its least recognizable property on the Las Vegas Strip.

The company already offers boxing matches, sporting events, Cirque du Soleil shows and concerts at multiple venues in Las Vegas.

But it hasn’t been able to attract artists to anchor a lengthier series of performances because its existing venues are either too small or too large, MGM Resorts president Bill Hornbuckle said.

“You need that kind of scale,” he said. “You’ve seen it at Caesars clearly.”

The MGM theater is expected to be about 1,000 seats larger than The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, which has featured artists such as Celine Dione and Elton John. Mariah Carey is currently performing.

Hornbuckle said he hopes to offer shows by an artist over a weekend or two in the larger arena, followed by a longer stay, perhaps 10 weekends, in the smaller theater with the possibility of having the production tour MGM’s other properties in Maryland and the Asian-enclave of Macau.

The smaller theater would be part of the company’s outdoor entertainment development known as the Park and located between the New York-New York and Monte Carlo casinos.

The theater is expected to open by the end of 2016, months after MGM’s larger arena debuts. Clark County commissioners are expected to review the newest proposed venue by early August.

The outdoor development, with its planned retail, arena and theater projects adjacent to MGM’s hotels, resembles AEG’s L.A. Live in Los Angeles, where Hornbuckle said he got the idea for where to locate the 5,300-seat theater.

AEG has been a partner with MGM in building its arena. AEG also books artists at The Colosseum.

The new theater bumps the Blue Man Group from Monte Carlo’s 1,200-seat theater, which is set for demolition, to the Luxor’s 800-seat venue, where the performers got their Las Vegas start.

Blue Man Group got a contract extension through 2025 with the move. The dance troupe Jabbawockeez will shift from the Luxor to perform at the MGM Grand, where it opened.

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