Issue #176: SEP 2018

Welcome to the latest edition of Fascination, the Unofficial Cirque du Soleil Newsletter.

Just when you think it’s been a rather slow month for Cirque news andhappenings, up comes two events right at press-time that change allthat. First, a post by the founders of the Blue Man Group announcing they are stepping away from the company they founded. Second, Seattle’s first-ever showing of Volta being canceled 30 minutes in due to a hydraulic malfunction.

BLUE MAN FOUNDERS STEPPING BACK

On Friday, September 7th, the following announcement was posted to Blue Man Group’s Facebook page:

Dear Friends and Family of Blue Man Group,

With a mixture of excitement and, of course, immense freaking pride in what we have accomplished over the last 27 years, we’re announcing that we are taking a step back from Blue Man Group. We’re anxious to explore other creative paths that inspire us as artists. And we feel the team in place – made up of long time Blue Man creative directors that we all know and trust – are fully prepared to take Blue Man Group towards its most luminescent, tribal and visceral next step. Our bond to Blue Man Group remains strong, not only as founders but as advisors who will continue to provide input and guidance, ensuring that the mission to Live Life in Full Color is always celebrated. This moment of change reminds us that Blue Man Group was built on taking chances, experimentation and challenging the norm. Way back when, we weren’t so inclined to hand over the job of Blue Man to anyone… until we did, enabling us to imagine the show in Boston. Guess you could say that worked out well, and so will this. We thank you for your unending support and celebration of our vision. Here’s to the next chapter for Blue Man Group!

Best,
Chris Wink & Phil Stanton

Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group purchased Blue Man Group on July 6, 2017.

VOLTA’S OPENING NIGHT IN SEATTLE CANCELED

As published in the Seattle Times: The opening show for Cirque du Soleil’s VOLTA show at Redmond’s Marymoor Park was abruptly canceled Friday night after liquid from below the stage sprayed the audience. The Redmond Fire Department was at the scene, but could not immediately be reached for comment. King County sheriff’s spokeswoman Sgt. Cynthia Sampson said two deputies went to the venue and found no serious injuries. Relaying information deputies received from the fire department, Sampson said, “some sort of hydraulic line from a piece of machinery” burst and “sprayed a few people. It was nothing nefarious. It was just an industrial issue with a piece of machinery.”

Jonathan Fay, who was sitting four rows from the front, said the 8pm show was 30 to 45 minutes in when the liquid sprayed the audience. “There was suddenly a huge plume that looked like a steam effect,” Fay said. “It went out into the audience and went pretty far back, dozens of rows. The first one was almost like vapor and then there was a spray that looked like water at first.” Fay said that when the stage-hands came out, their feet began slipping. “They instantly lost their balance and looked like they were ice skating,” he said.

At first an automated announcement said the show was temporarily suspended, then it was indefinitely suspended, until eventually a live voice said the show was canceled and asked viewers to collect a pamphlet at the concession stand with instructions on how to proceed. Fay said the flyer said all who purchased tickets with a credit card would be receive refunds. “Up until that point it was absolutely spectacular; I was looking forward to seeing the rest of the show and will definitely come back,” Fay said.

Our very own Keith Johnson was attending VOLTA that night and found the experience to be “UH-MAZE-ING!” He’ll have a review of that experience for us next month.

CURTAIN FALLS ON “JUSTE UNE P’TITE NUITE”

Tired, a bit nostalgic, but full of pride, the show’s 29 artists thanked the crowd on Saturday, August 18th as the lights went out on the very last performance. “It’s always a very emotional moment,” said Steve Dubé, General Manager of the Corporation des événements de Trois-Rivières. “They worked hard and the public’s reception was exceptional. After nine weeks and twenty performances, we can say that – once again – Cirque’s magic has worked!”

Although it’s still too early to know the exact number of ticketssold, coordinator at Tourism Trois-Rivières, Daniel Rioux, speaks of an exceptional year: “What we see for the moment is very positive. Since the beginning, Cirque du Soleil has occupancy rates that range around 95% and this year it shouldn’t be any different. The last three nights were full!”

The presence of Cirque du Soleil for a fourth consecutive year confirms that this product has become a major attraction for the city and the region. “With this show, we wanted to expand the customer base and I can say that we succeeded,” says Dubé. We could see we were bringing in the public from all over compared to the other three years. People from outside the region came in large numbers. You can see it with hotels and restaurants,” Dubé added.

And there’s more to come.

Cirque du Soleil initially signed a three-year contract with the city of Trois-Rivières to produce three unique shows for the Amphithéâtre Cogeco. After the first show’s success, two more years were added to the relationship. And back in October, after last year’s successful show, Cirque du Soleil and the corporation of Trois-Rivières events extended their agreement for 5 additional years. So, the Hommage Series will continue for a total of 10 years… through 2024! Stay tuned for an announcement for next year’s show. In the meantime, enjoy these two new videos from the show:

Making of video:
https://www.facebook.com/45degreescirquedusoleil/videos/2071294869853277/

Thank You Video:
https://www.facebook.com/45degreescirquedusoleil/videos/309126453173924/

IN THE ISSUE

In “We’re Off and Running”, the 16-part series that we concluded last month, Fascination! explored some of the first reviews, peeks, and evaluations of Cirque du Soleil’s touring shows (from Le Cirque Réinventé through to Varekai) as they took their first steps across North America. Sometimes the coverage was just a brief blurb about the show and its theme, occasionally there was a short interview with a performer, a stage hand, or creation director, and other times the article was an assessment of the show itself, evaluating its technical and acrobatic merits with what had come through before. Although we narrowed our series to focus on touring shows that had hit the road before Fascination began publication (with the exception of Varekai), what of Cirque’s signature resident shows? What interesting blurbs did we uncover about Mystère, “O”, La Nouba or even the company itself in the course of our investigation? Enough, as it turns out, for “We’re Off and Running II”, a four-part sequel series to begin with a double-helping of articles about Cirque du Soleil: The Company. But what is represented here is just a fraction of what’s been published about Cirque du Soleil over the years – many such articles within these very pages. But like with the prequel series, looking back at articles about the company from 10, 15, even 20 years ago brings back not only nostalgic pangs, but it reacquaints us with how Cirque du Soleil saw itself and its future… only to find change along the way.

Okay, so let’s go!

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