Cirque du Soleil is a Montreal-based entertainment company and the largest contemporary circus producer in the world. Its earliest roots was as a small troupe of street performers in the late 1970s through 1983, and it was officially founded in 1984.
From Wikipedia: “Each Cirque du Soleil production is a synthesis of circus styles from around the world, with its own central theme and storyline. Shows employ continuous live music, with performers rather than stagehands changing the props.”
The company’s productions began expanding in the early 1990s and then through the early 2010s, it grew from one show to 19 shows in over 300 cities on six continents. However by 2010 or so, some shows were not doing as well, and they went through a decade of cutbacks, restructuring, rebranding and diversification. The shows were still very popular, with more than 365 million spectators in over 90 countries since its beginning in 1984.
By early 2020, there were several permanent shows in Las Vegas and ones in China and Mexico. A seasonal Christmas-themed Cirque show ran in NYC and although a permanent show in Walt Disney World had closed in 2017 (after a 19-year run), a new one was scheduled to begin in Spring of 2020. There were also multiple tours all around the world.
And then COVID hit.
In March 2020, Cirque du Soleil announced that, due to the worldwide pandemic, all 44 active shows worldwide would be suspended, and 95% of their staff (4,679 employees) would be temporarily laid off, effective immediately. Despite a loan from the Quebec government, the closures eventually put the company into $1 billion in debt and, as a result, they had to file for bankruptcy that June. This included firing 3,500 of the employees they had laid off.
After a financial restructuring that includes a new owner, Cirque du Soleil emerged from bankruptcy in November 2020.
And now, with more people having received their COVID vaccinations and ready to travel, Cirque has announced that “intermission is over” and they’re preparing to reopen four of its most iconic shows:
- Mystère, at Las Vegas’ Treasure Island will reopen on June 28
- “O,” at the Bellagio, will open in Las Vegas on July 1
- KOOZA will be presented under the iconic Big Top in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic starting November 25
- LUZIA will return with an engagement at Royal Albert Hall in London starting January 12, 2022
The Group’s affiliate show Blue Man Group will return to Luxor Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas this summer.
Blue Man Group is an American performance art company formed in 1987, known for its stage productions which incorporate many kinds of music and art, both popular and obscure, in its performances. Performers, known as “Blue Men,” have their skin painted blue. Cirque bought them in 2017.
“This is the moment we have all been waiting for,” said Daniel Lamarre, President and CEO of Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group, in a press release. “Almost 400 days have passed since we had to take a temporary hiatus, and we have been anxiously awaiting our return to the stage. I am so proud of the resilience of our artists and employees who persevered during the most challenging times with stages dark around the world for so long. I just can’t wait to see the lights go back on.”
“This is only the beginning.” Lamarre added. “We look forward to sharing more exciting news in the coming weeks.”
Further details for KOOZA and LUZIA are forthcoming.
Feature Photo: Cirque du Soliel
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