Franco Dragone takes matters into his own hands in return for ‘O’
It is not that easy to put words to the hot blurs. But you felt that exhilaration the moment the welcome was shouted from the stage of the O theater on Thursday night. “Ladies and gentlemen!” was the call of the familiar member of the audience shot on stage to begin the proceedings.
That’s all the crowd needed to hear. The 1,800 or so people present roared. “O” then plunged into a flawless performance, marking the show’s revival after a 16-month absence. It was too long between performances for the passionate actors and crew of the series. It was also a surprisingly long hiatus for the man who did it all 25 years ago, the show’s creative founder. Franco Dragone.
Dragone moved almost completely unrecognized and unhindered with the crowd leaving the theater. He said it had been 2006 or 2007 that he hadn’t seen “O”, just as he had developed the Strip’s other aquatic masterpiece, “Le Reve” at Wynn Las Vegas.
Dragone does not like to revisit his old shows. He is more superstitious than sentimental. Even behind his face cover (which he always wears in public places, to play it safe), you could tell he was smiling.
âWhat I’m going to tell you is trite and all clichÃ©, but what they are doing is so, so, so impressive,â Dragone said during a walk from the seating area of ââthe O Theater to the lobby. âThey respect every little detail. What they are doing is very difficult, and maybe when people are looking they just don’t realize it. But here, we see the precision, each movement, each position of the body can send a different message.
Dragone sent flowers to the cast of “Mystere” on Monday, and again to the “O” team on Thursday. CEO of Cirque Daniel Lamarre arranged for Dragone to have tickets for both shows, ending Dragone’s long hiatus from entering a Circus theater.
Although he initially planned to be at âMystere,â which he also designed, Dragone refrained from making âOâ his first Circus show during the pandemic.
Dragone will be more prevalent in Las Vegas this year and into 2022. His pre-show nightclub project with Criss Angel, originally titled Mr. Smiles & Molly but sure to be rebranded, is slated to launch by January. end of the year. This concept will be associated with Angel’s “Mindfreak” show in his Planet Hollywood theater (this show will be relaunched on Wednesday).
Dragone also still has âRise,â the outdoor acrobatic show, on the table for next year. Other concepts abound from his production company, and an updated version of the production âThe House of Dancing Waterâ is also set to return to the City of Dreams complex in Macau in 2022.
But Thursday was all the nostalgia for the Circus, as Dragone spoke immediately after “O”.
âI was fine at first, but strangely enough, during the show I started to think ‘Ooh! Ooh! âWhen I saw something that affected me,â Dragone said. âI am happy for Daniel and all the people at the Circus. Congratulations to them.
Ruffin on the road
Word of Treasure Island owns Phil ruffin has been away from the office while traveling and has yet to see a full “Mystere” series. Ruffin owns the only Vegas business, other than MGM Resorts International, to partner with Cirque du Soleil. The return of the show to the 1,500-seat hall is, of course, a tremendous boost to the hotel industry. Ruffin helped persuade Cirque officials to put him at the top of the Cirque’s reopening plans.
A few circus performers wore face coverings when the business reopened this week. We will see some performers wearing face masks, as anyone, once fully vaccinated, performers can perform on stage without having to wear a mask, per CDC guidelines.
NY-NY, the Circus … and you
I asked Lamarre if âThe Illusionistsâ could be moved to a theater in Vegas, especially the old âZumanityâ room in New York-New York. I also asked the CEO of MGM Resorts Bill hornbuckle about the plans in New York-New York, and he only said there would be a brand-friendly show capable of performing 10 times a week at the hotel.
“The Illusionists” is the circus-owned magical production that has been successful on Broadway and on tour. The show was to be presented as the cornerstone of âOne Night For One Dropâ in Luxor last March, sliding as âRUNâ ended at the theater. This show was doped due to COVID, but âThe Illusionistsâ remains an exploitation of the Circus.
âThe truth is, I haven’t found a place for this show yet,â said Lamarre, who didn’t rule out a new original Cirque theater in this venue. âWe have many options. At the moment, we are looking at various alternatives. What we normally do is develop five or six different, very different concepts, and do our research locally to see what will work best.
You know Vegas is back when Gazillionaire shoots darts at a Circus show.
The fictional producer of âAbsintheâ recorded himself with a company statement, welcoming âOâ and âMystereâ back on stage.
The rude, full of money character says, âI’m so happy to hear the ‘O’ circus show is opening again. Now all those boring old people who came to ‘Absinthe’ can stop leaving my show, and they can go see a real circus. Which one is “O”? The weird baby? Or the one with the pool? I only saw pictures.
And, we’re guessing, charcoal sketches. Gaz often intervenes when the company’s actual producer, impresario Ross Mollison, is unavailable for comment. This has been the cast this week.
Spiegelworld exploited a mint by satirizing and teasing Circus shows. The âAbsintheâ act of the Cesarean ballet is presented as a part of the fictional circus show âLa Petite Merdeâ in Reno.
But today, Spiegelworld and the Circus are closer in parity than at any time in the history of either company. At least this is the case in Las Vegas, where the Circus currently presents five traditional shows (“Mystere”, “O”, “Michael Jackson One”, “Love” and “Ka”) and also owns Blue Man Group in Luxor. , giving it shows half a dozen strip.
Spiegelworld has “Absinthe”, which is actually two companies (under the titles of Licornes and Mustaches); âAtomic Saloon Showâ and âOpiumâ. Cirque is a much larger international business as it is returning several shows on tour and likely has more brand recognition capital, especially with its documentary MGM Studios in the works.
But we remember when “Absinthe” arrived in April 2011 as Spiegelworld’s only strip show, when the Circus had seven productions underway in Las Vegas. The gap is not that big today.
Hit him upstairs
“Fantasy” and Carrot Top had fun at the Luxor Theater. Both shows adapted well to the Great Hall during COVID, but have now moved to their original home, Atrium Showroom, directly across from the Bodies and Titanic exhibits on the second floor. As the audience for the shows peaked at around 600, we collectively wondered if they could make any money in long term residences. I think they might. Instead, “America’s Got Talent Live!” moves into the Luxor Theater, opening November 4.
Great moments in social media
Check Robin slonina new mural, just completed at Circa’s Stadium Swim. She posted on Instagram @Robinslonina. Big week for the Slonina, like Jimmy slonina (Robin’s husband) returned as clown / bailiff Brian Le Petit in “Mystere”.
Cool Hang Alert
Country artist Sam Riddle, whose talent is no joke (hah) plays from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays at the Westgate Las Vegas International Bar. A great way to groove it and beat the heat. No blanket, so buy sparkling water from the waterhole in front of the stage.
John Katsilometes’ column is published daily in section A. His âPodKats! podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at [email protected] To pursue @johnnykats on Twitter, @ JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.