It’s hard to imagine a more exciting version of the hit Cirque du Soleil show “The Beatles LOVE,” but that’s exactly what Fab Four fans will experience at a special 10th anniversary performance July 14 at The Mirage Hotel & Casino. To honor the show’s success and delight fans, the company has made many additions to LOVE to welcome the show into its next decade.
“The 10th anniversary of ‘LOVE’ will be extra-special,” said Kati Renaud, the show’s senior director of show quality. “The team – including the original writer and director Dominic Champagne and music director Giles Martin – have led the show through an evolution that features new music, acts and technology. The many dynamic changes to the artistic and acrobatic content bring a new sense of vibrancy and energy to an already fabulous experience.”
The musical extravaganza loosely follows the history of the four band members: from their youth in Liverpool during the Second World War to the formation of the band and early stardom, through their psychedelic period and into the early ‘70s.
The production evokes the powerful feelings of the era while delivering a breathtaking and exuberant performance celebrating the musical and cultural revolution led by the lads from Liverpool.
It features fictional characters plucked from Beatles’ lyrics including central figure Sgt. Pepper, along with Lucy in the Sky, Eleanor Rigby, Lady Madonna and Father McKenzie.
“The show has evolved over the years,” Renaud said. “This is something that Cirque does consistently across all of their shows – fine tuning, tweaking, evolving. Whether it be main acts, transitions within the show, characters, costumes etc. … there is a constant eye and pulse on our shows to keep them vibrant and alive. We are always striving to improve, whether that is on a large scale or small. Change plays an important role in our reality, and we embrace the challenge knowing we can always be better.”
Renaud said that this constant evolution is one of the reasons why many of the 7.5 million people who have attended “LOVE” performances during the past decade have returned to see it again and again.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary, the entire production has been reexamined and is being refreshed from all angles. Many of the changes are made possible through advances in entertainment technology that have emerged since the show was first launched. The Grammy-winning soundtrack – which samples around 120 songs to create close to 30 musical pieces – has been completely remixed.
According to Giles Martin, son of legendary Beatles producer Sir George Martin, the remix blends the original tapes his father recorded with the band at Abbey Road Studios with new state-of-the art speakers in the LOVE Theater. “The show is the closest anyone can get to being in the studio with the band,” Martin said.
New imagery created by multimedia performance artist and director Dandypunk is painstakingly hand drawn rather than computer rendered, a uniquely human touch that complements the show’s electronic wizardry. Dandypunk’s creations are displayed via 20 new high-tech projectors onto surfaces around the theater, helping to immerse the audience into the show.
NappyTabs, the Emmy award-winning choreographers who rocketed to fame during the “So You Think You Can Dance” television series, were brought onboard to push the 68 cast members with new choreography and mind-blowing acts.
“LOVE” was born out of a personal relationship between the late George Harrison and Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté and is the first major theatrical partnership that Apple Corps Ltd., The Beatles’ company, agreed to and engaged in.
Meanwhile, both surviving band members and their loved ones have remained in touch with the performance. “We are so fortunate to not only have had visits from Paul [McCartney], Ringo [Starr], Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison, but also to have worked collaboratively on ‘LOVE,’” Renaud said. “Their invaluable input helped shape many aspects of this show. From costumes, to music and story, they have been involved throughout the past 10 years.”
Cirque du Soleil began as a group of 20 street performers brought together by Gilles Ste-Croix in the village of Baie -Saint-Paul on the St. Lawrence River near Quebec City, Canada, in 1984. Today, the company has about 4,000 employees including 1,300 performing artists from close to 50 different countries. More than 160 million people have enjoyed their shows in more than 40 countries worldwide.
— By Joe Yogerst, Tribune Content Solutions