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Cirque Du Soleil Setbacks And Success On the Las Vegas Strip

After more than two decades at the center of Las Vegas entertainment, Cirque du Soleil has become synonymous with Las Vegas entertainment.

From the north end to the south end of the Las Vegas Strip, visitors can see a Cirque show. Later this month, the company's first resident show, "Mystere", will see its 10,000th production.

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Jerry Nadal, senior vice president of Cirque du Soleil’s Resident Shows Division, told KNPR’s State of Nevada the company is constantly re-evaluating acts and scenes that are part of each show.

However, with the demographics of Las Vegas visitors trending younger, the company has to take that into consideration.

“You’re always looking at how you have to change things and appeal to the demographic of the people who are here now,” Nadal said.

In the intervening years, the company has had a few setbacks, including the shuttering of “Viva Elvis” at the Aria Hotel and Casino.

Nadal said they overestimated the draw of Elvis for younger audiences. He said they did not do enough market research.

“We needed to do much more on our end for market research. We just took it at face value Elvis and Vegas were synonymous and let’s do a show about Elvis,” he said.

The older audience loved the show but there wasn’t enough of them to sustain the show, Nadal said.

Another difficult moment was the tragic death of a performer in ‘Ka’ at the MGM Grand.

On December 12th, 18 months after aerialist Sarah Guillot-Guyard fell to her death, the company restored the final battle scene to "Ka." Nadal said the company rebuilt the scene from scratch to enhance safety provisions.

According to Nadal, the company’s “Michael Jackson One” at Mandalay Bay is a "success", and other long-standing shows, including “The Beatles Love” at the Mirage and “Mystere” at Treasure Island, continue to draw crowds.

But Nadal said the new frontier for the company may be smaller shows like the one it opened in Riviera Maya, Mexico.

The show is in a timeshare resort and is a dinner show, which Nadal described as a cabaret-type show with just 27 performers.

“You’ll probably see us cropping up in other resort areas that are not necessarily with a mega-mega show,” Nadal said.  

Nadal said only Las Vegas can really sustain Las Vegas-style Cirque du Soleil show.


Jerry Nadal, senior vice president of Cirque du Soleil's Resident Shows Division


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