Issue #194: MAR 2020

Welcome to the latest edition of Fascination, the Unofficial Cirque du Soleil Newsletter. There’ve been quite a few developments since we last spoke, so let’s get to it…

CORONAVIRUS PROMPTING CLOSINGS

Coronavirus, or COVID-19, has been the number one topic of discussion globally since the virus was first identified in Wuhan, China back in January, and rightfully so. Cases of COVID-19 are being reported in a growing number of countries internationally, and there seems no end in sight. Naturally, the spread of COVID-19 has caused a number of entertainment venues to close, and Cirque du Soleil is not immune to these. Back in January, Cirque du Soleil announced it would suspend all performances of “The Land of Fantasy” in Hangzhou until further notice, to comply with requests from Chinese officials attempting to get a handle on the spread of the disease. The Hong Kong leg of Amaluna’s tour ended up being canceled; the final performances in Sacramento, CA instead. But now the COVID-19 pandemic is causing closures and tour cancellations all over: Kooza’s performances in Lyon, France have been canceled. Totem’s tour in Italy is also off for now. Kooza has announced changes to its tour and Paramour announced restrictions to performances. Even One Night for One Drop, scheduled for March 24th, has been postponed. There will be more. Ticket holders are urged to stay up to date with Cirque du Soleil’s social media presences for the show they intend to see for potential postponement announcements:

– Cirque: http://www.facebook.com/CirqueduSoleil
– Alegria: https://www.facebook.com/Alegria/
– AXEL: https://www.facebook.com/CirqueduSoleilAXEL/
– Bazzar: https://www.facebook.com/CirqueduSoleilBAZZAR/
– Corteo: https://www.facebook.com/Corteo
– Crystal: https://www.facebook.com/CrystalbyCirqueduSoleil/
– Drawn to Life: https://www.facebook.com/drawntolifeshow/
– JOYÀ: http://www.facebook.com/JOYA
– KÀ: http://www.facebook.com/KA
– Kooza: http://www.facebook.com/kooza
– KURIOS: https://www.facebook.com/kuriosbycirquedusoleil
– LOVE: http://www.facebook.com/TheBeatlesLOVE
– Luzia: https://www.facebook.com/LUZIAbyCirqueduSoleil/
– Messi10: https://www.facebook.com/MessiCirque/
– MJ ONE: http://www.facebook.com/MJONE
– Mystère: http://www.facebook.com/Mystere
– “O”: http://www.facebook.com/Ocirque
– OVO: http://www.facebook.com/OVOCirque
– Paramour Das Musical: https://www.facebook.com/paramourdasmusical/
– Totem: http://www.facebook.com/TotemCirque
– Under the Same Sky: https://www.facebook.com/CirqueUnderTheSameSky/
– VOLTA: https://www.facebook.com/VOLTA/
– Zumanity: http://www.facebook.com/Zumanity

Currently, Cirque du Soleil is still planning to premiere Under the Same Sky in Montreal. “We are closely monitoring the rapidly evolving outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (CODIV-19/COVID-19) and will continue to work with global health officials, authorities and partners to determine what actions may be needed in the coming days or weeks,” a spokesperson said. Rest-assured, they said, that every ticket holder would be contacted as soon as possible if the situation changed.

R.U.N IS DONE, TROUBLE IN THE SKY?

R.U.N by Cirque du Soleil at Luxor Hotel and Casino permanently closed on March 8, 2020. Cirque’s announcement says it all…

“We remain proud of the extraordinary talents that collaborated to make this one-of-a-kind live show happen, but ultimately it did not find an audience that could support it. Many avenues of creative options were explored to enhance the existing show, but the resources and time needed to make these changes proved to be obstacles too big to overcome. Creative risk is a part of everything we do at Cirque du Soleil. R.U.N was intended to push the boundaries of not only live entertainment, but of Cirque du Soleil’s own DNA, creating a unique form of entertainment that unfortunately did not receive the intended response. We’re grateful to those of you who saw and supported R.U.N and remain committed to bringing you ground-breaking live entertainment.”

R.U.N was in trouble from the very beginning. As the future of R.U.N began to grow dim, Vital Vegas reported that Cirque called in a new director to overhaul the show (but that new director had left the project quickly), and that buzz from insiders suggested TPG Capital, the majority owner of Cirque du Soleil, had run out of patience and refused to invest any further in the show’s concept. Thus, the show’s fate was sealed. It’s been said the show had been losing about $1.6 million a month.

There are more reactions regarding R.U.N’s closing and what might replace the show within.

But it seems R.U.N isn’t Cirque’s only problem.

According to Brendan Kelly of the Montreal Gazette, there are also serious creative problems plaguing “Under the Same Sky”, Cirque du Soleil’s latest touring show set to have its world premiere under the big top in the Old Port of Montreal on April 23rd. He reported that “Executives at Cirque du Soleil were not pleased after a preview performance at Cirque headquarters in St-Michel [recently]. This led to animated discussions between the executives and the show’s high-profile writer/director/production designer Es Devlin, who was not happy with the criticism. Cirque reps insist the London, England-based artist is still part of the show, but her role is now described as providing “conceptual support.”

[On February 12th, Cirque du Soleil opened its studio to the media for a little sneak peek of Under the Sky (Link). Later, Montreal Canadiens Hockey fans were treated to a little peek into the new show (Link), and on March 4th, photographer Benoit Z. Leroux was on scene as Cirque du Soleil raised Under the Same Sky’s Big Top in the Old Port of Montreal (Link) – yes, that’s Luzia’s big top.]

Cirque du Soleil president and CEO Daniel Lamarre said Devlin — who has worked with Beyoncé, U2, Adele and Kanye West — will be given full credit for her work on the show. But he confirmed the Cirque has brought in a new director, Mukhtar O.S. Mukhtar, who has worked on previous Cirque shows, notably Messi 10, a show inspired by the life of football superstar Lionel Messi. He will begin work on Under the Same Sky in the coming days. Devlin is home resting in England, but will return to the show, according to Cirque officials.”

Wow, just what is going on?! We hope “Drawn to Life” will manage to assuage our concerns when it premieres later this month. And speaking of…

DISNEY SHARES SNEAK PEEK OF “DRAWN TO LIFE”

The Disney Blog went behind-the-scenes look at “Drawn to Life” by Cirque du Soleil & Disney, sharing a little more about the story of the show and the special cast of characters who bring the magic to life. At its core, “Drawn to Life” is the story of the love between a father and a daughter. Delightful, mesmerizing movements of Cirque du Soleil acrobatic mastery pair with the magic of Disney animation to accentuate the story.

Our main character is Julie, a courageous and determined young girl. Her father, Tom, was a Disney animator who raised his daughter and surrounded her with Disney animated characters who helped her grow and played important roles in her life. When Julie finds an unfinished animation piece and a letter from her late father, her imagination is awakened, and she embarks on an inspiring journey into the whimsical world of animation. Along the way, she meets characters like Mr. Pencil (her father’s favorite pencil), who help guide her. Julie also encounters Miss Hésitation, the story’s villain, who reflects Julie’s own doubts and fears as an artist.

Throughout her adventure, Julie is reunited with Disney characters from her childhood, giving her the encouragement she needs to animate with her own unique artistic voice.

• Here’s a couple of acts from the show – The Inner World of Animation and Aerial Pencil

• Check out the new poster and images: http://www.cirquefascination.com/?p=13548

• Here’s a few images (courtesy of WDWNT) showing the new Cirque du Soleil logo has been installed, and more! http://www.cirquefascination.com/?p=13570

And you’ll find a little more coverage from Theme Park Insider within.

Don’t forget, “DRAWN TO LIFE” has it’s preview premiere beginning March 24th!

LAST, BUT NOT LEAST…

• After 8 years, 3 continents, 19 countries, 47 cities, 2,548 shows, and over 5.1 million spectators – the final trip to the island of Amaluna has ocurred. The company shared the show’s final bow (March 1st), with their most heartfelt thanks and so much love from the entire cast and crew: http://www.cirquefascination.com/?p=13554

More? Keep reading!

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