I recently got to spend a week in New York City, during which I re-fell in love with that insane town I used to call home. Even though I got to spend time with old friends and a few days with my NYC co-workers, my trip did have an actual reason: to see Cirque du Soleil’s Zarkana, which was finishing up a long run at Radio City Music Hall. The reason? The show is gearing up for its permanent home in Las Vegas. I was so excited to see it! The best part: I got to bring two of my full-time Vegas magazine editors, who happen to live in NYC: my photo editor, Seth, and my managing editor, Karen. I couldn’t get through my day without either one of them!
I have a long history with Cirque: Last year, I even got to go behind-the-scenes during a visit to its headquarters in Montreal the day after attending the premiere of the Michael Jackson touring show. (I wrote about the homage in Vegas magazine.) I’ve seen all six Cirque shows on the Strip at least two times. My fandom is almost embarrassing! So needless to say, rolling up to Radio City was exciting.
Zarkana opens at Aria in Las Vegas November 1. I am so confident that it’s going to do absolutely great! It’s replacing the Viva Elvis show, which it couldn’t be more different from. I hate to say that Zarkana returns to the older, more traditional Cirque before it started basing shows around iconic entertainers such as Elvis and The Beatles — because it couldn’t be more modern. It is full of spectacular acts performed by the most athletic, charismatic performers, reminiscent of Mystere, the oldest show on the Strip. But it’s all tied together by an MC of sorts, a haunting opera singer. And the over-the-top video effects will blow your mind.
One of my favorite parts about interviewing the stars of Zarkana the day after seeing the show was finding out how eager they were to move to Las Vegas! Both of the performers shown here have previously been in a Vegas show: the opera singer in Hunchback of Notre Dame, the character actress in The Beatles Love. A lot of the other performers are settling down in a permanent show for the very first time, having grown up in caravans themselves. The whole cast was busily looking for apartments, cars and schools for the children!
I love everything about live theater and soak it all in when I get to tour backstage, from the wigs and costumes to all of the props that the performers use.