Million Dollar Piano
Elton John’s Million Dollar Piano Show ran for seven years, performing over 200 shows and seen by over 700,000 people. It was a theatrical extravaganza that celebrates the musical richness and theatrical decadence of Elton’s unique career.
- // 2011
- // Residency
- // The Colosseum, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
The show was split into two distinct visual moments with four acts. When the audience members walk in, the scrolls are turned cross-stage, and the band risers are off stage. The Saluki dogs, the scrolls, and the Baroque portal are lit in gold. A static video image of a bas-relief sculpture of curtains and sunrays is projected onto the LED screen. These pieces of scenery change and adapt throughout the show to fit each act and enhance the more intimate moments of the performance.
The stage design references architecture and sculpture from the height of the European Baroque. Wildly distorted forms originally created to celebrate supreme power on earth have been reinvented for the King of Las Vegas as both sculpture and video art.
The main scenic features are two large scrolls that frame the stage. The scrolls are distorted versions of the typical brackets used in Baroque architecture and used on the carved heads of instruments such as violins and cellos. Piano keys form the dentil moulding on the cornice of the portal and the ribbon edges of the scrolls. The edges of the ribbons also include RGB LED rope light circuited in sections approximately 4 inches long and RGB cove lighting to highlight the detail of the scroll mouldings and the plinth
The backdrop is a finely sculpted bas-relief nicknamed the ‘Dali Gates’. A highly distorted Baroque portal with a broken arch in the centre that leaves room for the percussion riser in the centre. Flanked by two sunbursts with Elton’s face as the Sun King in the centre. These become a physical background to the stage and frame the LED video screen content upstage. The band are positioned on a large, tracking multileveled bandstand with LED screen fronts.
Ray Cooper has a special percussion riser at the top of the bandstand. Elton sat at a custom-built piano, designed and manufactured by Yamaha, the Million Dollar Piano. Created as a plexiglass frame with multiple LED screens on the inside. The proscenium of the venue had two 30′-tall gold Saluki dogs that sit just off-stage of the scrolls on top of the sub-bass cabinets. The dogs are backed by burgundy and walnut velour drapes swagged over pipes that are terminated with cartoon rocket finials in red and gold.
Show Director Mark Fisher & Patrick Woodroffe Creative Director Tony King Producer Rocket Entertainment Production Manager Keith Bradley Lighting Design Patrick Woodroffe Video Design & Animation Treatment Studio Staging Supplier TAIT