Cirque Tackles New Realities for New Year

One door closes and another one opens.

No, really. It’s not a cheesy metaphor at Cirque du Soleil.

Last year, Cirque closed “Zarkana,” only the second time it shuttered a Las Vegas title. But the first one, “Viva Elvis,” was in the same theater at Aria, making it hard to question the decision to make convention space out of a second-floor theater distanced from casino traffic.

Still, it’s about as closed as a door can get. But at nearby New York-New York, people beat a new path through the casino to get to the new T-Mobile Arena and surrounding restaurants. “Where ‘Zumanity’ used to be at the back of the property, now there’s a main entrance out to The Park,” says Jerry Nadal, who oversees Cirque du Soleil’s resident shows in Las Vegas.

“We actually had a really good year in 2016,” Nadal said. “We’ve seen an uptick across the board in all of our shows.”

It figures: All the shows that closed helped out the ones that didn’t.

Cirque is almost a self-contained world under its seven-show big top. After “Zarkana” closed in April, “we picked up, we figure, statistically about 50 percent of the people who were going (to ‘Zarkana’),” Nadal says. “They’ve flowed into our other shows, from what we can track. There’s definitely a redistribution going on.”

Nadal goes back to those traffic patterns. Concert nights at the T-Mobile or Park Theater “tend to bring a crowd into that whole Park area. On concert nights, ‘Zumanity’ is full because there are people hanging out and looking for something to do,” he says.

And if T-Mobile is full at the expense of the older MGM Grand Garden arena? Nadal says business has picked up for “Ka” there, because traffic on MGM’s casino floor doesn’t flow away from the “Ka” theater, toward the arena, on as many nights as it used to.

Cirque attacked the new realities of marketing.

Nadal says Cirque did “a lot of analytical work,” including “a whole strategic shift on how we’re going after consumers.” That included a study of how millennials consume entertainment. “They’re not necessarily pre-planners. They want to see something and they’re not price averse. They just haven’t made up their mind on what they want to do.”

So Cirque put more focus on street teams working between 4:30 p.m. and showtime. “It’s been paying off for us.”

{ SOURCE: Mike Weatherford, LVRJ |