‘Mad’ World: Cirque du Soleil’s 2022 Premiere Captures the Spirit of New York City

mad apple cast
(Photo by Denise Truscello)

It’s hard to imagine a Vegas without Cirque du Soleil. The world’s largest contemporary purveyor of circus acts, dynamic shows, and overall spectacle has had a place in Sin City for almost three decades.

But the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered shows and left the ability to create new productions similar to the famed Myst`ere, O, or Love, in flux. Until... “Mad Apple,” Cirque’s first new Vegas show in three years, will debut, fittingly, at New York-New York Hotel and Casino on May 26. The stage production, which will take rapt audiences through a fantastical night on the town in New York City, is at once familiar and groundbreaking, with several features never before seen in Cirque du Soleil performances.

For one, the emcee duties are going to veteran stand-up comedian Brad Williams, the first instance in which a funny person has led a Cirque show. Williams, whose acerbic wit has gained him fans everywhere, couples perfectly with the spirit of Mad Apple.

In addition, Mad Apple will feature talented freestyle rapper/comedian Chris Turner. Turner has been a fixture at NYC’s Comedy Cellar and was the first British performer on the Late Show, where his clever, rapid-fire vocals received a standing ovation. What hasn’t changed is Cirque’s dedication to stagecraft and music – they’ve selected Xharlie Black, the alter ego of Eddie Cole (nephew of legendary Nat King Cole), as Mad Apple’s lead singer and musical director. His smooth vocal delivery and multi-talented musicianship have led him to many A-list stars and productions prior to landing at Cirque.

What should audiences expect from Mad Apple? While specifics are scarce, the company promises a “nocturnal” New York-inspired experience, with six brash stage acts including dancers, musicians, magicians and circus performers, that take a transportive journey mimicking a night out in the “city that never sleeps.”

“There couldn’t be a better fit for a resort inspired by New York City than Mad Apple. We ... know our guests will be in for the time of their lives,” said New York-New York president and COO Mike Neubecker.

As to be expected with Cirque du Soleil productions, the show will feature a larger-than-life experience and a celebratory atmosphere. Simon Painter, Mad Apple concept designer and co-creator, said they’ve “taken inspiration from the rich musical history, legendary comedy scene and unrivaled nightlife, and combined it with the wow factor of Cirque du Soleil to create an experience that will feel like a giant party from start to finish.”

For bicoastal Californians, Mad Apple can be the centerpiece of a New York-style vacation (sans the red-eye flight.) New York-New York, the venerable Vegas casino property, also features Gotham-style attractions, venues and food and drink, allowing for a truly metropolitan experience just a few hours east.

Tickets for Mad Apple are available now and start at $49 for preview shows (beginning on May 12.) The show officially premieres on May 26 (sold out), with tickets for May 27 and beyond starting at just $59.

By Alan LaGuardia, Vegas Guide Writer