Issue #170: MAR 2018

Welcome to the latest edition of Fascination, the Unofficial Cirque du Soleil Newsletter. Let’s jump right in, shall we?

PARAMOUR IS BACK!

And here I thought the face-lift Mystere’s Alice the Snail received would be the talk of fan circles (and it was), or that adding Cyr Wheel to Totem and Volta would get fans talking (it did at that), but actually the bigger news is that PARAMOUR is back! Well, almost. Stage Entertainment recently put out a casting notice for “The European Premiere of Paramour for Spring 2019 in Hamburg, Germany!” They’re currently looking for singers, actors, and dancers. Rumors for Paramour re-surfacing in Germany kicked up the moment the closing announcement was made, but it looks like it’s finally happening folks! Stay tuned!

ONE HELLUVA NIGHT FOR ONE DROP

Although yours truly could not be there, a number of my friends were in the house for the sixth annual “One Night For One Drop” show on Friday, March 2nd at the MJ ONE Theater at Mandalay Bay, and what a night it was for them! (I’m slightly jealous, but what can you do?) Jewel was at the center of the special performance (see her stunning costume here: http://www.cirquefascination.com/?p=11306 – the gown, designed by Sandra Fox and created by Randy Handley, embodies the spirit of Alaska’s wildlife (where Jewel is from); the entertainer will act as a “Source” and “ethereal guide” for Nukka, the show’s main character, but we’ll learn a bit more about that later on.) The event was again a grassroots effort driven by the extended Cirque du Soleil family. Nicky and Laetitia Dewhurst of “Zumanity” directed the performance, with composition and music direction from Jean-Francois Blais (also of “Zumanity”). The production unspooled Jewel’s remarkable life story, from a budding folk artist in Homer, Alaska, a wilderness town of 5,000; through struggles while living out of her car and chasing gigs in L.A., to her breakthrough with “Pieces of You” in 1995, and through her current role as artist, philanthropist, and mother.

“Working with the Cirque team has been an incredible experience in art and craftsmanship,” Jewel told People Magazine just before the show. “The people are all incredible. The way I am being transformed into a whole new person. I feel like a princess, or more like Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz.” The show drew from Jewel’s ups and downs throughout her life and career. “This is a story inspired by events in my life, about family, the search for love, abandonment and betrayal but ultimately the power to forgive the soul,” she says. All proceeds from the show went to One Drop, an international non-profit foundation started by Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté that provides access to safe water. “For me, water is like love. With it, we flourish. Without it, we wither,” says Jewel. “But love, like water, is a renewable source if we know where to look and how to care for it.”

Learn more about ONE NIGHT FOR ONE DROP 6 within.

CORTEO RE-LAUNCHES!

On Monday, February 19th, Cirque du Soleil held a conference to kick-off Corteo’s North American arena tour to the press. (You can watch it here: https://www.facebook.com/Corteo/videos/10155242511306179/) While the press conference took place in Quebec City, QC (where the troupe has been practicing these last few weeks), the tour officially launched in Louisiana on March 2nd. Since 2013, Cirque du Soleil has launched four of its arena shows in Louisiana – Varekai (2013), TORUK (2015), OVO (2016), and Crystal (2017) – and returned to New Orleans this month to re-launch the North American tour of Corteo. Have you ever wondered why Cirque du Soleil has made Louisiana a major hub for its pre-production and a launching point for its arena tours in recent years?

The answer is simple: tax credits.

The company is a participant in the Musical and Theatrical ProductionTax Credit program offered by Louisiana Entertainment, a division of Louisiana Economic Development (LED). “Our creative culture, talented entertainment workforce and many state-of-the-art facilities make Louisiana an ideal location for live performance productions such as this,” LED Secretary Don Pierson said. “It is no surprise that Cirque du Soleil has found such success in starting its touring productions here.”

“In addition to the professional support and assistance provided by the management teams at Louisiana arenas, our touring troupes appreciate the warm hospitality, excellent local cuisine, and skilled technical labor in Louisiana,” said David Pitman, Cirque du Soleil’s director of tour planning and arena shows. “The Musical and Theatrical Production Tax Credit is a unique program which encourages Cirque du Soleil to choose Louisiana as the location where our arena productions are brought to life.”

As a participant in Louisiana Entertainment’s live performance program, Cirque du Soleil’s show launches have accounted for more than $20 million in spending in the state and 450 Louisiana resident jobs created. For the current Corteo show, Cirque du Soleil estimates Louisiana expenditures of $2.5 million, including employment for 50 Louisiana residents. Louisiana’s unique tax incentive for musical and theatrical productions provides tax credits ranging from 7 percent to 18 percent on certified in-state expenditures, plus an additional 7 percent tax credit for certified payroll expenditures for Louisiana residents. Projects are subject to a $1 million cap per year.

In either case, good luck to the cast and crew of Corteo!

ABOUT TORUK’S POP UP BUILDING

Cirque du Soleil opened a stadium show in southern China in January, in a building designed to be trucked away in pieces after the 120th performance ends on May 1.

Sanya, a resort city on the southern shore of China’s Hainan Island, didn’t have a building that could handle the show, physically or technically. Cirque, which did a couple of productions in Europe in rented pop-ups last summer, bought a portable modular stadium from Spantech, a European company that specializes in non-permanent buildings.

Cirque’s portable stadium for Toruk is about the size of a football field, though it can be expanded or made smaller at will. It seats 3,500, as compared to the 6,000 that could be fit in at Bell Centre, or the 2,500 that Cirque can accommodate in the peaked tents it uses for smaller, less technically demanding shows. Etienne Allard, Cirque’s director of infrastructure, says that 3,500 is actually an optimal crowd size for Toruk, and makes for a more intimate experience. That impression is further enhanced, he says, by draping curtains around the curved stands, creating a concert-bowl shape within the shed-like, rectangular building.

The pop-up arena took two weeks to set up, and though it’s warm in Sanya right now, the aluminum-clad arena is insulated for cold weather and can handle a snow load. “We could set it up in Montreal in winter,” Mr. Allard says.

SOMETHING DIFFERENT: ZUMANITY WEDDINGS

How’s that old saying go? Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue? Bah who needs that! Are you looking to spice up your wedding just a bit? How about a Zumanity Wedding by Cirque du Soleil? Cirque has been offering weddings at Zumanity since the beginning of 2016, but we’ve just recently began seeing ads on social media advertising the experience. We just couldn’t resist asking a couple of questions about it, and received prompt attention by the resident show division crew in Las Vegas.

“Your love is unique and extraordinary,” the pamphlet I was sent begins. “At Zumanity, we not only understand but celebrate that! Our ‘Mistress of Sensuality, Edie’ will perform your marriage ceremony in the intimate and dramatic lobby of our beautiful Zumanity Theater, where two additional artists from our show will escort you down the aisle and rejoice in your union. Enjoy the show afterwards from VIP seating in one of our special ‘Love Seat’ sofas, where your love and commitment will fill your hearts as our sexy acrobats, soaring aerialists, and zany clowns dazzle your senses. Available to adults 18+, a Zumanity Wedding is a wedding experience that will leave everyone talking about the unexpectedly sexy and risqué way you chose to tie the knot!”

Here’s what’s included in the Zumanity Wedding package:

   o) Intimate ceremony performed by our “Mistress of Sensuality, 
      Edie” in the lobby of the Zumanity Theater
   o) Escort by two (2) Zumanity artists
   o) Professional Photo/Video package by Cashman Photo:
        o) Dedicated photographer
        o) High resolution images for archiving and printing
        o) Web resolution images for social media sharing
        o) Online ordering of prints and photo products
        o) A High Definition video of the ceremony
        o) A live “webcast” of your ceremony with 30 days of replay
   o) Keepsake Marriage Certificate + official certificate
      filing with the State of Nevada**
   o) Sparkling Wine Toast (for participants age 21+)
   o) 2 VIP Sofa Seats (Category A) to watch the show. 
      (Additional guests, 18+ of age, are welcome to purchase show 
      tickets separately.)

Naturally there are some caveats, such as other Zumanity MCs will be substituted as necessary in case Edie is not available. And that parties to be married are responsible for obtaining an official Marriage License from the Clark County Marriage License Bureau, and must present prior to the ceremony along with government-issue photo identification. (And that’s because the “keepsake certificate” is for souvenir purposes only. If needed, the couple must request legal copy of the Marriage Certificate from the Clark County Clerk beginning up to 15 days post-ceremony.) Do all that and your Zumanity marriage will be legal and binding in the State of Nevada!

So, how do you get in on the action? It’s pretty easy. Check out the following link – https://goo.gl/Eg63GG – find the “Inquire Now” button and click. An email will be auto-generated to the Zumanity team who are ready to check with show management on availability for the date you choose! Are you ready for the price? $3,500 inclusive of taxes and fees. So what are you waiting for!

(Note, weddings are held prior to the 7:00pm performance only. Not available on Wednesday or Thursdays. Arrive at 5:45pm on the date you choose to keep everyone on schedule. Ceremony at 6:00pm. Package contract must be completed and paid in full three days prior to ceremony.)

IN THE ISSUE

We continue our look back at classic show critiques with reviews of Quidam from 1997 and 1998, leap into the heart of CRYSTAL through texts from the show’s press kit, and check out One Night for One Drop via articles, Q&A’s, reviews, and text from the program book only given out at the one-of-a-kind show.

Okay, so let’s go!

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