The early success of Disney on Broadway led other entertainment companies to believe that conquering the Great White Way was possibly not that hard. But, as Warner Bros’ first foray into the lead producing game, LESTAT, proved, it’s not as easy as opening and tossing some money at marketing. And now, after a single Broadway show, PARAMOUR, Cirque du Soleil has essentially shuttered its theatrical division, Cirque du Soleil Theatrical.
The formation of Cirque du Soleil Theatrical, announced in 2014, was Cirque’s latest attempt to conquer New York. For years, the company wanted a permanent place in the Big Apple. Cirque founder Guy Laliberté searched for a location to build a venue, much like the ones the group has scattered throughout Las Vegas. There was a midtown location scouted, a spot at the Chelsea Piers. But nothing ever panned out. The company then turned to established locations–mounting a new show, BANANA SHPEEL, in 2010 at the Beacon Theatre. BANANA SHPEEL, which underwent many creative team and cast changes before hitting New York, was more vaudeville shtick than acrobatics. It was a disaster. Then came ZARKANA, a more typical Cirque spectacular opening at Radio City Music Hall in 2011 at outrageous expense. The show was supposed to last at least five summer seasons at the famed venue. It was there for two.
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