Source: Madonna to set up shop at Nassau Coliseum
GalleriesSuper Bowl XLVI halftime show Madonna as a megabrand Photos: Madonna on tour and with family
The Material Girl is setting up shop at the Nassau Coliseum.
Madonna, the biggest-selling female recording artist in history, will take over the Uniondale arena beginning Monday to build a massive stage and set for her upcoming world tour, according to a source familiar with the deal.
Under an agreement reached this week, Coliseum employees and the artist's road crew will occupy the arena through late May, the source said. Madonna is expected to appear for rehearsals and show preparations, though there are no plans for her to perform publicly at the arena.
Officials with Philadelphia-based SMG, the management company that runs the arena, did not return calls for comment. Coliseum employees will be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement prohibiting them from publicly discussing the arrangement.
Cash-strapped Nassau County, which owns the Coliseum but does not collect revenue directly from arena shows, will not receive any funds from the Madonna contract. Revenue will go to an entity controlled by SMG. Charles Wang, owner of the Coliseum's major tenant, the New York Islanders hockey team, participates in the arrangement, the source said. Wang did not return calls for comment.
Madonna's camp declined to comment about where she would be rehearsing for the tour. However, music industry sources say that she is headed to the Coliseum from late April until mid-May.
Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said that while he couldn't confirm the arrangement with Madonna, the Coliseum stimulates the local economy "by having dollars spent and respent here in Nassau."
With the exception of a handful of college graduation ceremonies, the arena will not host any concerts, children's shows or other events between April 29 and June 17.
"It's a great thing to have the tour practice here since, unfortunately, there is no [playoff] hockey," said the source.
The Islanders' lease at the Coliseum expires in 2015, and while Wang has yet to disclose his intentions for the team, he has said the Islanders will not continue to play in the current Coliseum. Nassau voters in August rejected a referendum to borrow up to $400 million to build a new Coliseum.
Mangano and county officials have suggested a number of ways to build a new Coliseum, including ventures that would be funded publicly, privately or through a public-private partnership. Mangano also has pledged to release a new plan for the surrounding Nassau Hub area, although he has not provided details.
The Coliseum is undergoing asbestos abatement in a handful of spots that county officials say are inaccessible to the public after employees claimed they were becoming ill. A county consultant has found air quality in the building to be safe. The state Department of Labor and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration are conducting investigations.
The Madonna tour, scheduled to begin May 29 in Tel Aviv, Israel, and include 76 dates around the world, has no stop on Long Island. Her 1990 Blond Ambition tour stopped at the Coliseum and she made an appearance at a Britney Spears show there in 2009. Madonna has sold more than 300 million albums worldwide.
With Glenn Gamboa
Madonna's 2012 world tour
Begins: May 29 at Ramat Gan Stadium, Tel Aviv
Concludes: Nov. 20 at American Airlines Arena, Miami, Fla.
Total dates: 76
Total square footage: 409,963
Source: Madonna.com/tour; Nassau Coliseum website
Insights into Madonna's tours
BY GLENN GAMBOA
Madonna's Sticky & Sweet Tour in 2008 and 2009 became the biggest-grossing tour by a solo artist in history, with $408 million over 85 shows. Her plans for the 2012 World Tour are just as ambitious.
She offered a possible preview of her massive plans at the Super Bowl, where she arrived on a giant, futuristic throne towed by a platoon of shirtless gladiators. She also cavorted with stars Nicki Minaj, M.I.A., Cee Lo Green and LMFAO, as well as squads of cheerleaders, gymnasts and gospel choirs.
Madonna revealed in a Facebook chat that she's learning how to slackline -- performing on a tightrope-thin strip of trampoline-like material -- for the tour.
The show will be broken into several parts, with the first being "Transgression." "There's a lot of violence in my show," she said on Facebook. "I'm working out a lot of aggression."