All You Need is Love and Teamwork

Sometimes all you need is a Beatles tune to turn your day around. But pair 120 of the Fab Four’s songs with the breathtaking tumbles and turns of 68 performance artists donning 5,800 costume pieces and you’ve got the recipe that has been delighting Las Vegas audiences for over a decade. So when Dr. Nancy Berk got the opportunity to sneak behind the scenes of The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil, she jumped (but not quite as high as the professionals). Then she did a little twist and shout of her own as she headed to Sin City. There Ms. Berk caught up with Melanie Lalande, artistic director of Cirque du Soleil’s Beatles LOVE. Lalande oversees stage management, coaching, performance medicine and wardrobe.

“Pretty much anything artistically that touches the show is what I’m working with,” explains the director who has a dance background and the calm demeanor of someone who has everything under control. Not only is she up to the complicated task, she loves being in the middle of it all.

“You know, I love performers. I love their energy. I think that they kind of dedicate their lives to being in front of you guys and taking you away for 90 minutes. And they do it twice a day every day. So I think that’s an interesting way to spend your life and I want to be part of that.”

What is one thing that would surprise audiences about The Beatles LOVE rehearsals?

“I think that it is fascinating that everything you can do on the stage, I can do off the stage in the training room,” Lalande says. “That is how the training room is set up. So while you see the artists out her [on the main stage rehearsing], they’re also backstage training for it all. So their work ethic is awesome. I mean clearly to get here it has to be, but the facility is set up for that to happen as well. It’s pretty impressive.”

A recent “refresh” of the show meant adding new music and details. And with that, came a visit and applause from former Beatles members Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr.

“We really tried, especially with the refresh—we tried even more to sort of bring you into the world of the Beatles,” Lalande says. “We really wanted to…make it an immersive experience for you, and give you that feeling like you were going on the journey with them.”

The result is a mesmerizing show that touches all of the senses. From sound and color, to astounding acrobatics and beautiful memory-elicitation, The Beatles LOVE is a magical mystery tour that takes audiences into a world of timeless music, revisiting the classics while carving out a spectacular new experience. Leave it to the Beatles to rock our world again. What was it like for Lalande to be on the receiving end of the Beatles seal of approval?

“It’s really an awesome responsibility and I don’t take it lightly,” she says. “So I know in my eye and what I am witnessing sort of has a critical presence for continuing their work in the world.”

The Beatles LOVE, like so many Cirque du Soleil shows, is the perfect example of teamwork in action. Everyone has to literally have everyone else’s back in order to make the magic happen. Is there a life lesson Lalande thinks we can take from the show and that experience?

“That’s a beautiful question,” says the artistic director. “I think that there are many life lessons that you can take from this. But one of the best ones is to trust the moment. And I think that’s what they’re developing—these artists and this audience. They’re trusting the moment together, and that’s why I feel you are so deeply touched by the show.”

Open rehearsals are fascinating, but it is the live performance that will make your head spin in the most amazing way. Fans exit the show with beautiful songs on their minds and streamers and pieces of confetti still in their hair (The Beatles LOVE uses 65 pounds of confetti each week.). Some tuck the paper into their pockets— tiny reminders of the moment they dove into an Octopus’s Garden and realized that Strawberry Fields really were forever.

{ SOURCE: Parade | }