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It was not just a typical Wednesday night in Las Vegas as two high-watt stars made major debuts. Artist, designer and restaurateur Michael Chow threw a grand-opening party at Caesars Palace for the long-anticipated Strip location of his eponymous international brand Mr Chow, while across the street Jennifer Lopez strapped on her (high heel) dancing shoes and kicked off her All I Have residency at Planet Hollywood’s Axis Theater. The glitter, feathers and the booty, quite literally, rained from the rafters. Chow and Lopez later came together for an afterparty that rocked into the early hours of the morning.
“Vegas is a tremendous opportunity to create a show that’s a little bit more spectacular, more glamorous, more intimate, so that was what I was thinking about when I was creating [All I Have],” says Lopez. “My goal is always, no matter where I am performing, to have people walk away entertained, happy and on a high.”
The evening kicked off at PH as guests from film and television shared in the enthusiasm of Lopez diehards who peppered the crowd of the 4,000-seat concert hall. Rebel Wilson and Hoda Kotb flexed a few impromptu “Jenny from the Block” moves on the red carpet. Lopez’s boyfriend, Casper Smart, said he “absolutely did not” have any envy over not being on stage with his better half, and her Shades of Blue co-star, Ray Liotta, commended the multifaceted entertainer for both her work ethic and her endurance.
“[She is] prepared,” says Liotta. “[When we started new NBC drama Shades of Blue], she was getting ready to do this, she was getting ready to do American Idol and she came in, her lines were down, and we just went and did it. She was on it. She was extremely professional and she is really good. She is having a moment right now. There is a lot of juggling, but I think things will calm down.” Could we possibly one-day see a Ray Liotta residency in Las Vegas? “It wouldn’t be as good as this,” the actor jokes.
DRESS TO IMPRESS: J.Lo doing her thing on stage. (Photo: Getty Images)
Inside, the show — directed by Nappytabs, the husband-and-wife team of Napoleon and Tabitha Dumo — was an explosion of video installations, sound, lights and costume, where Lopez truly gave all she had, singing and dancing for more than 90 minutes. “The production is spectacular — from the choreography and incredible dancers to the costumes and lighting, but also her appreciation and presentation of so many musical genres has such great appeal for Vegas show-goers,” says Live Nation Las Vegas president Kurt Melien.
From salsa to electronic, Lopez touched it all, but omnipresent were the assets that made us fall in love with her way back “On the 6”: the dramatic caramel wind-blown locks, the sequin body suits that accentuate every curve and a voluminous amount of rump-shaking that never gets old. Ja Rule, Ne-Yo and Pitbull, who will return to the same stage with another run of his show Time of Our Lives, all made surprise guest appearances. Justin Bieber danced from his seat.
When the performance adjourned around 11 p.m., the streets outside Planet Hollywood were being shut down for Matt Damon and crew to continue shooting the latest Bourne film, which has taken over parts of the Las Vegas Strip for the past two weeks. Guests dodged this perilous traffic jam as limos whisked them across the street for a date with the other star of the evening, Mr Chow.
It is this penchant for glamour that makes Chow the perfect fit for Las Vegas’ Caesars Palace, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Celebrity and Chow have become synonymous since he opened his first restaurant in London 48 years ago. He features the first luminous Dom Perignon display to ever be placed in a restaurant, after all. (Normally, nightclubs get the honor.)
Bathed in white, black and acrylic, the oval interior space draws in diners with a one-of-a-kind centerpiece tucked inside its 60-foot doom: a rotating kinetic moon sculpture made of aluminum and fiberglass, designed by Chow and engineered by TAIT. And because Mr Chow is “dinner theater,” throughout the evening the moon breaks into different configurations during four-minute light and movement interludes.
At the party, Lopez’ entire Shades of Blue cast — including Liotta, Sarah Jeffery, Warren Kole, Santino Fontana, Gino Pesi and Dayo Okeniyi — as well as Scooter Braun, T.I., Ryan Seacrest, Pras, Keenan Ivory Wayans, Wilmer Valderrama and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley mingled with the Chow family, Eva, Michael, Maximillian and China. The guest of honor, arriving on Smart’s arm, made her way into the party around 1 a.m. The consensus was that she “killed it,” as congratulations were heard all around.
“We look to have artists that are truly iconic and have a incredible catalog of music,” says Jason Gastwirth, senior vp marketing and entertainment for Caesars Entertainment. “[Lopez] is great at live performance and a great actress in film and television and that is projected here. Hopefully she will be here for many more years. She is one of the hardest-working artists I have ever seen.”
All I Have is scheduled for around 40 performances this year and tickets are on sale through June.
ON THE (DANCE) FLOOR: Too hot to handle. (Photo: Getty Images)
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