Thursday, January 17, 2013

Cirque du Soleil Falling? Show Suffers Serial Flops in Tokyo, NY, LA, Machao, Vegas. Montreal Office Lays Off 400 Workers

Showbiz David Foresaw Trouble Ahead in 2008. See Post Following this Post

 Cirque du Soleil history in three days: Iris will close in Los Angeles this Saturday.

The Los Angeles Times reported  today that Cirque du Soleil's Iris, which performs on Hollywood Boulevard at the Dolby Theatre (formerly, the Kodak), will close down this Saturday, following "weak box office results."

That is abrupt.  And that is not a good omen. Iris opened in 2011, and was slated to run for 10 years.   The Times contacted the show's Montreal office for comment, but none was offered.

This last year has seen a number of CDS productions fail and fold: Tokyo said no to Zed.    Viva Elvis shuttered early in Las Vegas; Zaia did not click in Macao. Earlier, Banana Shpeel flopped out on Broadway at the Beacon theatre, following generally scathing notices. Another New York contender, Zarkana, only lasted for two summers at Radio City Music Hall, leaving Laliberte once again short of a permanent presence in the Big Apple which he had long hungered to establish.

Back in 2007-2008, the Cirque king rode high over the world's entertainment crossroads, signing one contract after another to produce yet another new show, anidst the flash of admiring press cameras from L.A. to Dubai.  Five years later, the landscape has turned barren, inhospitable.  The company will lay off  400 people, representing 8% of its world-wide workforce.

The significance?  I have long questioned Cirque's over saturation of markets. As for Iris, I believed, and stated here, that only if the show was an outright blockbuster, might it have a decent chance on the very tricky intersection of Hollywood and Highland. The reviews were generally good. Not all that great, however.

Is the company in deep trouble for its serial misfires? It all depends on Laliberte's state of mind, and whether or not he wishes to resolve himself to go the greater distance. If he hangs in, the challenge, as I see it, will be whether he can accept downsizing intelligently, and scaling back. And finding ways to offset the imagery of redundant dance-acrobatics.  He is a man who thirsts after power through expansion. He may have to curb his habit for a few years. And he may have to pull another big magic revolution out of his hat. Second acts are hellishly difficult to bring off.

Animals, Guy?

The story ahead should be interesting to watch.  

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