- Cirque du Soleil will begin re-launching their Las Vegas shows beginning on July 4 with O at the Bellagio.
- The plan is to then re-launch another show every month until the end of 2021.
- The Cirque du Soleil shows went dark when the Nevada gaming industry was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s great to see the world re-emerging from the year long ‘hibernation’ caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s particularly exciting to see the gaming industry and destinations like Las Vegas and Macau get back to some semblance of normalcy. One year ago, every day would bring another slew of stories about closures, shutdowns, layoffs, etc. Now the opposite is occurring–the situation isn’t ‘back to normal’ yet but at least we’re heading in that direction and every day now brings hopeful news of some sort or another.
Not sure how we missed this story from roughly a month ago but it is an important one–at least symbolically–relative to the return of entertainment to the Las Vegas Valley. On February 27, the essential John Katsilometes reported in the Las Vegas Review-Journal that Cirque du Soleil would begin to re-launch their performances on July 4 beginning with O at the Bellagio. The tentative plan is to then relaunch another show approximately once a month through the end of 2021. As of now, the order of re-opening would be as follows: O at the Bellagio, Mystere at Treasure Island, Love at The Mirage, Michael Jackson One at Mandalay Bay, and Ka at MGM Grand.
Johnny Katz did a phoner with Cirque du Soleil Senior Vice President Eric Grilly who said that it was important to set a timeline due to the complexity of putting their shows together:
“I think at this point, we feel we need to draw a line in the sand because of the amount of time it would require for us to return to work, given the complexity of our shows and the physical performance, getting our artists back in the show in ready condition. We’re planning to open this summer. I’m being hopeful. I would love to open by July 4th weekend.”
“We’re calling back artists into our theaters in March, to do physical assessments for those acts that have specific apparatuses, so that will give us a good sense of physical conditioning,” Grilly said. “That could influence, and probably will influence, our current thinking around rehearsal time.”
Grilly said that the reopening plan was done in conjunction with MGM Resorts with their company president of entertainment and sports George Kliavkoff as the point man along with the management at Treasure Island:
“With MGM Resorts, I think we’re very much aligned that ‘O’ will be the first show that we relaunch with them. And our partnership and Treasure Island has expressed great interest in the return of ‘Mystere,’ so we’ve sort of identified those two shows that would be the first that would reopen … We presented a staggered approach to opening the shows, but we really don’t have a schedule beyond that.”
A non-Cirque branded show owned by the company could end up being the first to return according to Grilly–that could be the long running Blue Man Group show at the Luxor.
The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting shutdown was devastating for Cirque du Soleil. All six shows on the Las Vegas Strip went dark on March 14 but that was just the beginning–within a week, Cirque was forced to shut down more than 40 shows worldwide and lay off 95% of their work force, or right around 4,700 employees including more than 1,300 in Las Vegas. Several weeks after that, they announced that a new investment group had taken control of the company to the tune of $375 million USD.