Broadway Bypassed to Bring First Major Production Directly To Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS -- Paris Las Vegas Casino Resort, the Las Vegas casino resort scheduled to open Sept. 1, has announced it will be the exclusive site for the U.S. premiere of the French musical Notre Dame De Paris.

The specially designed U.S. adaptation of the production will begin an open-ended run in the Paris Las Vegas Theatre in January 2000.

Principals from both Notre Dame De Paris and Paris Las Vegas were in attendance for the announcement, including Paul V. Pusateri, president of Paris Las Vegas; creator/lyricist Luc Plamondon and composer Richard Cocciante; Charles Talar, producer of the original musical; and Wayne Baruch and Joseph Rascoff, co-producers and presenters with Line Renaud of the Las Vegas production.

Notre Dame De Paris is a 21st-century pop/rock adaptation of Victor Hugo's classic French romance The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Making its international debut at the Palais des Congres in Paris, France, in September 1998, the musical was the creation of French-Canadian lyricist Luc Plamondon and French/Italian score writer Ricardo Cocciante, whose other co-written works include the song L'Amour Existe Encour for Celine Dion. Individually, their efforts are equally impressive: Plamondon's 1979 rock opera Starmania has sold more than three million tickets and five million albums since its opening. In addition, Celine Dion performed a collection of his works in her 1991 album Dion sings Plamondon. Cocciante started his career as a singer/songwriter in Europe in the 1970's, working with groups such as Vangelis and Toto, and as a solo artist.

With a powerful musical score and vibrant acrobatic choreography, Notre Dame De Paris quickly became the most successful musical spectacle in French history, selling out both in Europe and Canada and selling seven million albums and singles in France, Belgium, Switzerland and Canada alone. The upcoming return of the show to Paris in September has sold out all of the one million tickets available for the 10-month run. The production went on to win many international awards, including the 1998 World Music Award. Will Jennings - who received an Oscar and a Grammy for writing the song, ``My Heart Will Go On,'' for the movie, Titanic -has collaborated on the English lyrics for the musical.

The journey of Notre Dame de Paris to the Paris Las Vegas Casino resort started with a recommendation of the musical by French entertainment legend Line Renaud. Mme Renaud recognized the potential fit between the spectacle and the Parisian-themed property. She brought together Park Place Entertainment CEO Arthur Goldberg and Paris Las Vegas President Paul Pusateri with American producers Wayne Baruch and Joseph Rascoff (of RZO Productions) to collaborate with her to bring the musical to Paris Las Vegas

For the key players involved, the potential fit was obvious:

``Bringing the English-speaking production of Notre Dame De Paris directly to Las Vegas - not to mention, Paris Las Vegas - is a definite coup for both this city and this property,'' said Pusateri. ``Having this musical debut here is a major step in further establishing Las Vegas as a major center for entertainment, and Paris Las Vegas as a key force behind that trend.''

``We immediately realized the potential Notre Dame De Paris would have in an English-speaking format,'' said Talar. ``We knew this production could take America by storm, and we're glad to team with Wayne Baruch and RZO Productions.''

``The opportunity to purchase the U.S. rights to such a thrilling spectacle is a dream come true for a producer,'' said Baruch. ``Our decision to bring the production directly to Paris Las Vegas was easy: the property has built a fabulous state of the art theater, and Arthur Goldberg and Paul Pusateri are clearly dedicated to leading Las Vegas into a new age of entertainment.''

``As a Parisian-themed property, Paris Las Vegas provides the perfect backdrop and ambiance for a production like Notre Dame De Paris,'' added Rascoff. ``Marrying the two together will help to enhance the true Parisian feel of both the production and the property.''

For those who can't wait to see the January 2000 premiere of the production, the show's debut is expected to be preceded by the Epic records release of the music from the English version.

Scheduled to open in September 1999, Park Place Entertainment's Paris Las Vegas will feature 2,916 guest rooms, 85,000 square feet of casino space, 13 restaurants and lounges, 140,000 square feet of meeting and convention space, retail outlets and a European health spa. In addition to replicas of the Arc de Triomphe, Paris Opera House and The Louvre, the resort's signature attraction is a 50-story replica of the Eiffel Tower.

Park Place Entertainment Corporation is the world's largest gaming company, as measured by casino square footage and revenues. It is the only casino gaming company with a leading presence in Nevada, New Jersey and Mississippi - the three largest gaming markets in the U.S. In 1999 the company will have 18 gaming properties located throughout the United States and in Australia and Uruguay, with a total of 1.4 million square feet of casino space and more than 23,000 hotel rooms.

Guests can make reservations by calling 888-BON-JOUR (888-266-5687). Room rates will range from $129 to $329 a night, with suites available from $350 to $5,000 a night.