Issue #183: APR 2019

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

CIRQUE HOLDS ALEGRÍA PRESS CONFERENCE

On April 10th, Cirque du Soleil unveiled the first three acts of the upcoming revival of Alegría: In A New Light, to perform under a blue-and-white Big Top at the Old Port of Montreal from April 18th. Beloved by fans around the world, iconic Alegría is reinterpreted in a renewed version to share its timeless story once more. The classic power struggle of old meets new is reinterpreted for today’s cultural pulse. Led by an intangible wind of change, an emerging movement strives to shake the established order, instilling hope and renewal to bring light to a world in perfect harmony. Alegría energizes the audience with a joyful spirit for a brighter and more inspiring tomorrow.

Following the mysterious disappearance of the king, Mr. Fleur pictures himself as the legitimate heir to the throne and clumsily tries to impose his authority. Shaking the foundations of the old order, The Bronx spring forth from the street. Fiery and full of energy, they try vigorously to defy the established order. Together, The Bronx will shake the pillars of power, lighting the spark that will trigger changes in the very heart of the kingdom. They offer a glimmer of hope in a world of gloom.

The three acrobatic numbers Cirque du Soleil unveiled were the Double Crossed Wheel (to a remix of the song “Kalandéro”, previously used for the Shoulder-Pole act, Tightrope, Juggling, and Slackwire), Synchro Trapeze (to the song “Querer”, previously used during the setup for High Bar), and Fast Track (to a remix of “Irna” and “Valsapena”, the act’s original songs.)

SEE HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE PRESS CONFERENCE HERE: https://youtu.be/qj5T7woFBJI

SEE THE FULL VERSION ORIGINALLY STREAMED ON FACEBOOK HERE: https://www.facebook.com/CirqueduSoleil/videos/338520133465539/

CIRQUE/MGM RESORTS DOWNSIZE; SHUFFLE STAFF

Cirque du Soleil is performing some acrobatics away from the theater, so says the Las Vegas Review-Journal: On March 25, 2019, the company reorganized — and downsized — its management operations for its five residency productions on the Las Vegas Strip that are in partnership with MGM Resorts International (“Mystere” at Treasure Island being the exception). What the new business model means, in short, is Cirque shows will no longer employ a single head of department for each of its shows. Instead, multiple productions will be under the direction of one department head. Also, Cirque will continue to oversee all artistic operations (such as managers, artists and coaches), along with picking up the lighting, staging, maintenance and any mechanically related staffers, who were previously employed by MGM Resorts.

The heads of department who have been let go have been offered severance packages. Several long-standing employees have lost their positions. Word of the realignment surfaced March 16th and many reportedly were caught off-guard by the news; one was reportedly so upset as to have been led by security from an MGM Resorts property. The new system should be in place by mid-April. MGM Resorts International officials are not specifying how many positions were lost in the changeover. Cirque officials sent requests for clarification and confirmation to MGM Resorts, which in turn essentially explained that this is how major entertainment companies operate.

“MGM is working with Cirque du Soleil to reorganize backstage operations at Las Vegas shows to align with how Cirque du Soleil shows are structured throughout the world,” MGM Resorts spokesman Brian Ahern said in a statement. “This is part of our long-standing work together to continually improve show operations and focus on creating unforgettable experiences for guests and audiences. All shows and performances will continue as usual.”

NEW RENDERINGS OF VIDANTA’S “THE PARKS”

What started out as the Cirque du Soleil Theme Park project in Puerto Vallarta in 2014, stalled in more recent years as Cirque du Soleil came under new ownership, The Goddard Group fell from grace, and construction fell further behind. Last we heard, Vidanta took full control over the project – now named “The Parks” – to complete the first phase but without Cirque du Soleil involvement. Today, new renderings of what is now being deemed the Final Version of “The Parks” were released… whether Cirque du Soleil is still attached to the project is a matter of conjecture, but we do note that unlike in past releases, the Cirque du Soleil logo is NOT on these renderings. So while Cirque du Soleil may no longer be attached to this project, the results are still breathtaking! Check out those renderings here: http://www.cirquefascination.com/?p=12476

LUZIA HEADED TO EUROPE IN 2020

And while Mexico is fresh in our minds… Cirque du Soleil is bringing Luzia, described as “a waking dream of Mexico”, to the Royal Albert Hall for its European debut. Among the performers is Londoner Shelli Epstein, 25, who was inspired to join when she saw a Cirque show aged 13. She said: “I had always dreamed of going to the Olympics with Team GB and was a member of a few gymnastics clubs. Then my parents took me to a Cirque show at the Royal Albert Hall. I knew at that point that this is what I wanted to do. So I will be coming full circle when the show comes to London.” Ms Epstein plays the Running Woman, inspired by the Tarahumaras, a Mexican tribe known for their long-distance barefoot running. She is part human, part monarch butterfly and acts as a guide for the audience. Luzia, marking Cirque du Soleil’s return to London for the 30th year running, opens at the Royal Albert Hall from January 12, 2020. Tickets go on sale from Friday, April 12th at royalalberthall.com.

45 DEGREES MUSINGS

The 5th chapter of Cirque du Soleil’s Tribute Series, in celebration of the music of Les Cowboys Fringants (the popular and critically-acclaimed Quebec band who has rocked the French-speaking world for two decades), finally receives a name – JOYEUX CALVAIRE. This series is presented exclusively at the Cogeco Amphitheater in Trois-Rivières beginning July 17th. The Monte-Carlo Summer Sporting Festival is hosting Cirque du Soleil’s exclusive performance for the second time from August 15th to 19th at the Salle des Etoiles. Whether it’s the same production as last years’ remains to be seen. Cirque du Soleil will also be in Malta for three consecutive years between November and January, according to Malta’s Tourism Minister. A show tailor-made for the Mediterranean Conference Centre is in development, with the acrobat troupe putting on one performance a day during its time in Malta. The troupe will have between 28 and 30 acrobats. And according to the Astana times: Kazakhstan signed a memorandum of cooperation to hold the 2020 Internationale Tourismus-Börse (ITB) Eurasia exhibition that’s held every September. Kazakh Tourism also reached an agreement to host REFLEKT in the country for a second time following its performances at EXPO 2017.

POLSTAR’s 2018 YEAR END FIGURES

The global landscape of live entertainment in 2018 includes some of the biggest names in the business, both old and new, and remarkable box office feats. The collective gross for global ticket sales from the Top 100 Worldwide Tours is $5,640,735,434. That’s slightly down on last year’s final year-end gross of $5.653 billion, but 2017 also saw a 15.8% jump compared to 2016. So, this year’s final gross could arguably be called a correction – still higher than the 2016 gross but down slightly from 2017.

The number of sold tickets also dropped in 2018 compared with 2017 when the 66.7 million sold ticket count was 10% higher than the 2016 total. In 2018, total tickets from the Top 100 reached 59,811,438, an 11.1% decrease from last year. Ticket prices, however, were higher in 2018 on average. In 2017, the average ticket price was $84.63, yet 2018’s average iss $94.31, an 11.9 percent increase.

So, how did Cirque do in 2018?

Before I get to the chart, let me also add that 2018 was a year of change at Pollstar regarding the way they present the box office data. A new time period was introduced for determining the 2018 chart year. In 2017 and previous years, the calendar year was used for year-end charts with estimated totals added from late fourth-quarter events. In 2018, they changed the eligibility time period from the calendar year to a late-November closing date and discontinued accepting estimates for non-reported events. Thus, the 2018 charts comprise data from performances that occurred Nov. 23, 2017 through Nov. 21, 2018 – and they only counted actual box office results from shows that have already occurred.

With that in mind below is Cirque’s chart for 2018 with 2017’s chart below that for reference. As you look over the numbers, keep in mind that TORUK and KURIOS are not on the 2018 list. KURIOS was (and is) in Japan; box office reporting on KURIOS was not available. But TORUK I have no excuses for… it’s possible it didn’t reach the top 100. Either way… we see a 32.3% reduction in grosses and 34% reduction in number of tickets sold in 2018 vs. 2017.

World  Gross   Show    AVG Tix  AVG Tix  Total      AVG      Cities 
Rank   in Mil  Title    Price    Sold  Tix Sold    Gross    / Shows
--------------------------------------------------------------------
32     $52.1   Totem    $82.39  19,179  632,879  $1,580,069  33/289
40     $40.3   Luzia	$88.30  13,438  456,875  $1,186,511  34/279
44     $38.7   Crystal  $58.85  19,348  657,831  $1,138,449  34/249
49     $36.6   Ovo      $69.72  15,445  525,113  $1,076,810  34/262
69     $25.1   Volta    $82.78  12,110  302,756  $1,002,483  25/191
79     $23.0   Kooza    $95.23  11,481  241,092  $1,093,255  21/176
83     $22.0   Amaluna  $91.60  13,318  239,728  $1,219,999  18/163
84     $21.8   Corteo   $63.48  14,320  343,683  $  908,976  24/156
--     $12.4   Sep7imo  $397.96  5,212   31,271  $2,074,124   6/42
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      $272.0 Million Gross	      3,431,228 Tickets Sold 2018


World  Gross   Show    AVG Tix  AVG Tix  Total      AVG      Cities 
Rank   in Mil  Title    Price    Sold  Tix Sold    Gross    / Shows
--------------------------------------------------------------------
26     $61.8   Kurios	$80.66  15,324  766,179  $1,236,000  50/411
28     $60.1   Luzia	$84.89  14,448  707,975  $1,226,531  49/403
29     $60.0   Toruk	$79.38  24,393  756,191  $1,936,367  31/169
35     $54.2   Ovo	$72.52  16,986  747,380  $1,231,818  44/308
41     $48.2   Amaluna	$79.97  15,848  602,239  $1,267,336  38/290
47     $41.8   Varekai	$61.99  16,458  674,764  $1,020,282  41/282
50     $39.7   Kooza	$85.41  12,232  464,816  $1,044,737  38/293
59     $35.9   Volta	$74.66  16,042  481,274  $1,197,760  30/246
--------------------------------------------------------------------
      $401.7 Million Gross	      5,200,818 Tickets Sold 2017

SHOW MILESTONES

Last, but certainly not least, a number of shows reached important milestones since our last issue “went to print”, or will celebrate in the month of April. These are…

• The Beatles LOVE celebrated its 6,000th performance in March. The company released a little video to celebrate the milestone, which you can see here: https://www.facebook.com/TheBeatlesLOVE/videos/2149773928434753/

• On March 25th, Mystère celebrated its 12,000th performance. Check out Mystère’s awesome teeterboard performance at the Vegas Golden Knights versus Winnipeg Jets game: https://www.facebook.com/CirqueduSoleil/videos/2069834859800376/

• On April 2nd, the BAZZAR cast and crew celebrated their 100th performance. Since premiering, BAZZAR has traveled more than 16,000km and it has been seen by over 100,000 people of 4 different cities, in 3 different countries!

• And on April 17th, JOYA will celebrate its 1,500th performance. Congratulations!

Okay, that’ll do it. So, let’s go!

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