What is it?: The forthcoming 5,000-plus-seat music venue at Monte Carlo (aka the soon-to-be Park MGM), which we recently toured despite ongoing construction.
Where on property is it?: It’s on the southeast corner of the casino, where the Lance Burton Theater once sat. It also welcomes you from the north as you drive into Park Las Vegas from Park Avenue.
When does it open?: December 17 with Stevie Nicks and The Pretenders.
How will I get there? Park your vehicle at Monte Carlo, where there will be locals-only spots (event-parking rates still apply), or travel by tram. In true exit-through-the-gift-shop form, you must enter from or depart through the casino.
What will I need before reaching my seat? An adult drink, clearly, from one of the venue’s seven bars (or, if you’re sitting in VIP, there's bottle service). Though food-and-beverage details still aren't available, you should eat before entering, or you'll likely have to wait until leaving what's being characterized as a beverage-focused venue—one that's surrounded by dining options both inside the casino and outside at Park Las Vegas. Which means another excuse to enjoy Shake Shack.
Where might my seats be? There’s a floor orchestra section with temporary seating, a low orchestra section and a high orchestra section, with the low orchestra’s seating able to retract telescopically to expand the floor’s seating (or general-admission standing) area. At the top sits the balcony section—the farthest seat being no more than 145 feet from the stage— which can be curtained off for more intimate shows. In all, 5,200 seats, with a 6,400 capacity during maximum GA shows.
What entertainment will be on offer? MGM Resorts likes the big guns, so it’s going after both midlevel-venue music acts (like Nicks) as well as those who regularly play arenas (like Bruno Mars, scheduled for December 30 and 31). The only residencies—ahem, MGM will be referring to them as “extended engagements”—announced thus far belong to Mars and to Cher, whose “Classic Cher” gigs begin February 8.
Park Theater will also feature headliner stand-up comics (Katt Williams was recently announced for January 7) and a configuration versatile enough to host UFC and boxing matches, award shows and galas, and even basketball games. (Yes, the floor fits a full basketball court.) “We want to be more flexible with acts,” says Dan Bernbach, Park Theater’s general manager and executive director. “We want a wide variety of [music] genres and entertainment acts. Instead of three or four mainstay acts, we want shorter engagements and more diversity.”
So who do we beg to book Radiohead and Frank Ocean? Jokes aside, MGM’s central booking department will be filling the calendar, with assistance from promoters such as AEG, Live Nation and others.
What about the stage? It’s staggering—we’re talking 40 feet tall by 140 feet wide, which is 20 feet wider than the stage at the Colosseum, Park Theater’s chief competitor. And like the seating, the staging can be draped for added intimacy. An LED wall 80 feet wide and 40 feet tall will backdrop the performers onstage. And nine HD 4K projectors can cover screens on either side and over the speakers high above. “The performer can customize the show for the venue,” Bernbach says. You reading this, Trent Reznor?
What does Park Theater have over its competitors? Unlike Colosseum, the Chelsea and the Axis, its position in the casino allows for windows—huge floor-to-ceiling panels on each level so natural sunlight floods the venue early in the evening. And outdoor balconies allow patrons to get fresh air and a south-Strip view. Now all it needs are some millennial-friendly (and millennial-budget-friendly) extended engagements, and Park could be the large-theater venue to beat on Las Vegas Boulevard.