R.U.N – the first live action thriller by Cirque du Soleil

Desert at dawn. A chapel. A gangland wedding is abruptly interrupted. A guy is running for his life. What has he done? What is it worth risking his life for? Follow two clans in this never-ending chase where a striking Bride leads a series of fast paced, thrill-a-minute events through the fictional dark undergrounds of Las Vegas. Prepare to clench your teeth and grip your armrest. 75 minutes of pure live action. Are you in?

What would happen if a blockbuster Hollywood action movie was combined with a creative Cirque du Soleil stage production?

Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group is excited to announce R.U.N – a groundbreaking new show and the entertainment group’s first live action thriller, premiering at Luxor this fall. R.U.N is an unprecedented entertainment experience, using live action performance, cutting-edge technology and multimedia to explore the world of stunts.

Audiences will be plunged into a sensory experience where special effects collide with human performance, pushing viewers to the edge of their seats. Chapter by chapter, guests will be taken through a gritty, cinematic story featuring bold, rebellious and fearless characters. The show will follow two clans in an adrenaline-filled adventure where a striking bride leads a series of fast-paced chases, combat and stunts through the fictional dark underground of Las Vegas.

Daniel Lamarre, President and CEO of Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group, said, “R.U.N is very different from the other shows within the Cirque du Soleil portfolio. With R.U.N, we will reinvent the concept of a thriller, drawing inspiration from action movies and graphic novels. This action-packed live performance happening in front of and around the audience, will offer a new form of entertainment to a more diversified Las Vegas guest. We are really excited to bring this unique and edgy concept to Luxor.”

Months in development and still in its larval stages, “R.U.N” is an aggressive departure from Cirque’s proven formula, in Las Vegas and abroad. This show is Cirque’s clear attempt to create an action-movie experience in a live Las Vegas Strip production. Expect characters to zoom about on motorcycles and hyped-up cars. There are promises of fistic flourishes, too. “There will be people chasing each other. There will be people literally running around you. There will be fights,” Lamarre says. “The difference here is, it’s a show and not a movie. You’re not just sitting there, you are part of the action.”

The show’s title itself is action-driven. The production had been loosely referred to under the working title “Jump,” but Lamarre’s 21-year-old son, Arthur, saw the word “run,” and called off the letters, ‘Are you in?’ “When you see it that way, you feel the possibility of being part of the action,” Lamarre said. “That is what we were looking for.”


“R.U.N” will be the company’s 47th original production and 10th resident show presented on the Strip, and it marks a major departure from what audiences have come to expect. There won’t be an acrobat in sight. Although the Montreal-based entertainment company is known for its aerialists, tumblers, contortionists, divers and the like, Cirque is proclaiming this show the dawn of a new era. “We see it as the first live action thriller by Cirque du Soleil. If you take the [top] 10 movies today, [likely] nine out of 10 are action. And that’s why we thought there was potential to do a live action show,” says Daniel Lamarre.

The company assembled a team split between Hollywood professionals and in-house experts to bring this show to life. Film director Robert Rodriguez (“From Dusk til Dawn,” “Alita: Battle Angel”) wrote the story, and composer Tyler Bates (“Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Atomic Blonde”) wrote the music. Stage director Michael Schwandt, whose work spans both television and live performance, is directing. Hollywood stunt experts are helping coordinate the blockbuster elements, while Cirque du Soleil executives are making sure that “R.U.N” works as live theater and wows audiences in the way they’ve come to expect from the company’s productions.

“We have always wanted to work with people from the stunt industry,” Daniel Lamarre said. “There is a similarity between acrobatic acts and stunts artistry, which is a mix of human performance and technology. We gave them a mandate to invent a new type of life experience, a hybrid between Hollywood film and live performances.”

Lamarre says Cirque du Soleil has always nurtured its relationship with Rodriguez. “Because of his movie experience he was able to write a story that will be compelling. And the narrative will be easy for the audience to [follow],” he says. “We have brought together a team that has expertise in stunts, movies and visual effects and the Cirque du Soleil side has amazing experience in theatrical, sound and live performance.”

“You have that group coming from the stunt/movie industry combined with our Cirque creative and production people that are used to live [entertainment] and that’s why I like this idea,” Lamarre said. “Movie people working with live people to deliver an immersive experience. When you sit in your seat, we want you to forget you’re watching something and feel more like you are a part of something. You will be surrounded by giant screens and visual effects and a lot of stunts happening live.”

And that experience will start when you walk in the lobby. “You will have the feeling as you put your first foot in the door that you are moving into a different world,” Lamarre says of the theater that was occupied for 10 years by Cirque du Soleil’s collaborative production with illusionist Criss Angel. “We are adding screens and we are surrounding the spectator as much as we can to create this idea being part of the action. You might see a scene where a portion of it will be totally live but the background might be movies. When we have conducted our research about what people were looking for in terms of new content in Vegas, people wanted to see a show where they’re not just there as a spectator but they have the feeling that they are a participant. And that’s why immersive is the key word.”

Taking inspiration from graphic novels, R.U.N uses live action performance, technology and multimedia to explore the world of stunts. Set in the underground of Las Vegas, R.U.N actually features a script — unlike most Cirque shows — that centers on a striking bride who leads a series of fast-paced chases and combat sequences. There will be around 60 cast members and as of this announcement, 90 percent are selected. “Our casting department has been overwhelmed by how many stunt people there are so now, it’s almost like we have opened a new branch,” says Lamarre. “And we have conducted workshop for many months now to make sure that the stunts would remain very credible when they are live.”


Lamarre says he hopes the show will attract younger audiences who are perhaps more likely to catch the latest Avengers movie than to buy a ticket for live theater. “We are quite spoiled or lucky that we have been able to maintain a huge volume of tickets on the Strip,” Lamarre says. “I’m not complacent. We do need to surprise people all the time.” Bringing an energetic action movie to life is part of the strategy to attract younger audiences.

“We looked to our audiences who are seeing Cirque du Soleil shows, and those who are not seeing Cirque shows — there are a few,” Lamarre said, chuckling. “We talked to people who are show-goers, and people who are not and asked, ‘What kind of content can we offer to you? It was quite compelling in that live action would be a genre to attract new people, and also a genre that Cirque du Soleil fan would find interesting.” Cirque fans who want acrobatics can find them at any of the company’s other Strip shows. “We want to give people something totally, totally different,” Lamarre says. “When people see Cirque on a banner, they expect spectacle.”

For Las Vegas audiences who’ve grown accustomed to Cirque’s acrobatic spectacles, Lamarre hopes “R.U.N” will defy expectations. “I would like you to walk from the theater, shake your head and say, ‘Oh my god, they got me again.’”

Although it remains the dominant entertainment force in terms of ticket sales on the Las Vegas Strip, Cirque recognizes that audiences are changing and demand is evolving. “You have no idea how important it is for us to go in a new direction,” Lamarre says. “We’re hoping to attract a younger crowd. And as soon as you see the visual of this show, you will get it in a heartbeat.”

An innovative and distinctive show that will push the limits of a live entertainment experience, R.U.N is the 10th partnership between Cirque du Soleil and MGM Resorts International.

“Throughout MGM Resorts’ more than 25-year relationship with the creative geniuses at Cirque du Soleil, we have watched them deliver spectacle after spectacle, wowing guests from around the world and giving them new reasons to visit,” said George Kliavkoff, MGM Resorts’ President of Entertainment & Sports. “This fall, the launch of R.U.N at Luxor, a show that represents a complete departure from anything Cirque du Soleil has created before, will mark a new and exciting phase of this very successful partnership.”

“This is the first of many new and exciting stories coming out of the Luxor, but this is the biggest and we’re really excited about it,” said new Luxor President and COO Cliff Atkinson. “It’s going to be a significant show and it’s really going to change not only MGM Resorts’ entertainment offerings, but we’re also really excited for Cirque to be able to present this departure from what it’s done in the past.”

Despite all the Montreal-based company has achieved in Las Vegas and its near-synonymous relationship with Strip entertainment, Lamarre said the creation of an original show remains a challenging, exciting and nerve-wracking endeavor. “You have no idea of the anxiety,” he said. “And it’s healthy. Because if we say, ‘We’re Cirque du Soleil and so people will come,’ it wouldn’t work. That would be the beginning of the end. We’re just totally blind right now, diving in and hoping for the best. We are not stupid either, we have experience and we have great people and I think we are mitigating our risk by doing our homework. But you never know in live entertainment how people are going to react and that’s the excitement of working in the entertainment business in this city in particular.”

R.U.N will begin performances on October 24, 2019 and play in the R.U.N Theater at Luxor Hotel and Casino 10 performances a week, Wednesday through Sunday at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale now and start at $69 plus tax and applicable fees. Tickets can be purchased by visiting RUNLASVEGAS.com, by calling (702) 352-0221, or (855) 706-5433 as of May 1, or in-person at the R.U.N Theater box office.

{ SOURCES: Cirque du Soleil, Las Vegas Sun, Las Vegas Review Journal, Hollywood Reporter, and San Francisco Chronicle }