Mystère Caps Spirited Reopening with 10-year Extension!

There are times when a show will “goose” a standing ovation. The cast will hang for a few extra counts, as if to allow audience members to gather their thoughts and gauge the room before rising.

But Monday night, the full house at “Mystere” at Treasure Island gave the host show a full-hearted, full-throated standing ovation. That wasn’t the only gesture of gratification, either.

During the night’s reopening speech, Cirque CEO Daniel Lamarre announced the show had extended its contract at TI for another 10 years. Should the show finish that term, “Mystere” will have run in residency in Las Vegas for 38 years.

The Cirque’s new ownership-power roster was also in Vegas, seeing one of the company’s productions for the first time. Joining Lamarre and Cirque’s President Eric Grilly were company COO Stéphane Lefebvre, and co-Chairman of the Board Gabriel de Alba from primary ownership entity Capital Catalyst Group.

Cirque also got a visit from one of its original creative visionaries, Franco Dragone, the original artistic director of “Mystere” in 1993. Dragone also conceived “O” at Bellagio, then split with Cirque and developed “A New Day …” at the Colosseum and “Le Reve” at Wynn Las Vegas.

Dragone sent a bouquet of flowers to the cast, along with a note reading, “Wishing you all a beautiful performance tonight!”

“Mystere” obliged. The granddaddy of Cirque du Soleil residency productions on the Strip ended the company’s pause with an especially spirited performance. The lengthy pause brought new life to such familiar, classic acts as RJ Owens’ Bebe Francois’ (RJ Owens) game-of-catch with the Red Ball, and Jimmy Slonina’s clown usher Brian Le Petit’s dumping of popcorn on fans as they filed into the theater.

The Korean plank (planche, French translation of plank, is the company’s inside term, we have been reminded) felt especially death defying, as the Spearmato characters were sent skyward onto their castmates’ shoulders. Was the trapeze act higher, in the return? It seemed like it. The entire night carried a inherent anxiousness, at least from my seat, at the heightened risk level (and high reward) of Cirque acrobatics.

This was not a flawless performance. Perfect precision could not be expected after a 15-month layoff. There were breaks here and there, a loose landing, at least one “miss” in the trapeze act. Owens managed to veer into the plank in his arrival in his golf cart, sending the signature piece about three feet off its mark (nearby Spermato pushed it back into place).

But that audience roar, at the end, was everything.

Some fans in attendance had actually never seen a Cirque performance. Angie Dominguez was one. The tourist from Durango, Colorado, brought her young daughter and a friend to the show.

“It was amazing, absolutely amazing,” Dominguez said. “Fantastic, 100-percent. I have never seen anything like this in my life.”

Britney Corbin of Durango joined Dominguez on the trip to Vegas.

“This is actually the second time I’ve seen it, but it’s been 14 years since I saw it last,” Corbin said. “It’s great. It’s the show I remember. Even some of the characters, I think, are still here from the last time I saw it.”

Tiffany McCaloa was another ticket-holder seeing “Mystere” for the first time. She moved to Las Vegas two years ago from Salt Lake City.

“I felt like there was more excitement from the people performing, because it was the first opening night” McCaloa said. “I felt that, and I loved it.”

{ SOURCE: John Katsilometes, Las Vegas Review-Journal }