Cosmopolitan Las Vegas to open new theater

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Las Vegas Strip’s newest concert space will open its doors just before the new year with a performance by pop star Bruno Mars

Mars will play shows on Dec. 29 and 31 at a new Eastern European glass factory-themed venue at the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, and then return six more times during 2014, casino management announced on Tuesday.

The 3,000-capacity theater, called the Chelsea, features glass chandeliers, brick walls, a grand staircase, high ceilings and a vintage wooden bar.

The Cosmopolitan is touting the space as an “avant garde” venue where fans can get an up-close look at stars who usually play arenas. By contrast, the Coliseum at Caesars Palace, where singer Celine Dion performed her long-running residency, seats 4,000.

CEO John Unwin told The Associated Press earlier in the year that the space would be an antidote to vanilla venues along the Strip. Asked about the project’s price tag, Cosmopolitan spokeswoman Alyssa Anderson said the company does not disclose capital costs.

In a statement, Mars warned Vegas to get ready for him and the Hooligans, his eight-piece backup band.

The 27-year-old songwriter and producer turned frontman will lead his audience in the New Year’s countdown, taking on a role often performed up and down the Strip by Sin City regulars like Kim Kardashian and Nicki Minaj. Tickets start at $150.

Mars was picked to perform at the Superbowl halftime show in February. His debut album, “Doo-Wops & Hooligans,” was released in 2010.

The last major Las Vegas resort approved before the Great Recession, the $3.9 billion Cosmopolitan was built by a German investment bank after its original developer defaulted.

It has recovered from the brink of bankruptcy and has branded itself as a “decidedly different” kind of casino, eschewing the kitschy themes common among its competitors, and catering to a more urbane kind of gambler and club-goer.

The 50,000 square-foot space that will become the industrial-chic Chelsea has sat empty since the Cosmopolitan opened in 2010. In preparation for its opening, hotel-casino’s existing concert venue, previously called the Chelsea Ballroom, has been renamed the Belmont.

This being Vegas, the casino is marketing the Mars concerts as part of a package that includes a two nights in the hotel and “VIP check in.” The package starts at $1,800.

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Hannah Dreier can be reached at http://twitter.com/hannahdreier.

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