Commentary: Patti LuPone speaks out on Cirque du Soleil as B'way competition

Metro Weekly [Washington D.C.], 9/9/11

"You know, I'm very angry at the ticket prices in New York City, and I think it has more to do with greed than it has to do with anything else. Cirque du Soleil - it's the big, bad brother now. Cirque du Soleil taking a five-year lease on Radio City Music Hall is going to suck Broadway dry. ... If you don't know a particular playwright or a particular play and you're facing a huge ticket price, what are you going to do? You're going to go with what you know, and more people know Cirque de - the tourists come and people know Cirque du Soleil. They really are, I think, ridiculous now. Go back to Montreal."

FOLLOW-UP: From Patti LuPone's publicist issued a clarifying statement on 9/15/11: "Patti is a huge fan of Cirque de Soleil. Every time she's in Las Vegas she always ends up in the audience of one of their shows. But she wishes that they would not perform near the Broadway theatre district since their current show at Radio City Music Hall is said to be sapping business away from a lot of Broadway musicals. She feels that Broadway needs all the help it can get."

Commentary: Is Cirque's new L.A. hit hurting or helping local theater?

Don Shirley, L.A. Stage Times, 9/26/11

The opening of Cirque du Soleil's astonishing new Iris at the Kodak Theatre raises a self-serving but inevitable question within the LA theater community - "what's in it for us"? On the one hand, the gloomier indigenous theatrical producers might be concerned that local theatergoers' budgets could be depleted for a while after they buy a pair of the better ($100-plus) Iris tickets. On the other hand, is it possible that Iris could help send resident theatergoers - and tourists too - to other LA productions? LA theater has seldom attracted tourists. Iris can be seen only in LA, and it's likely to attract Cirque fans from Quebec to Canberra. I can't remember another LA theatrical production that could be accurately described with both these phrases - "only-in-LA" and "tourist magnet." Plenty of other LA theatrical productions might be appreciated by tourists - if the tourists were only aware of them. But with LA's vast theatrical landscape so far-flung, and with most marketing budgets so skimpy, how do tourists who are here for only a few days ever figure out which shows are out there and which ones they might enjoy? Cirque founder Guy Laliberté discussed how Cirque likes to become involved in the communities where it sets up shop. He probably was speaking primarily about Cirque's charitable efforts on behalf of water conservation, at-risk youth, and local visual artists who participate in Cirque poster contests. But he also acknowledged Cirque's special relationship to LA, where Cirque's US premiere occurred 24 years ago. Could Cirque's love for LA expand to include the LA theater community? Cirque could provide a real service to the theaters of LA if it allowed a discounted or pro bono ad in [its] program about other LA theater - and/or if it arranged for a spot or spots within the Kodak's several lobbies where more information could be obtained about other LA theater.


Cirque prez: "We have competition... we're all fighting for the same consumer" website, 9/5/10

Even before the groundbreaking book Blue Ocean Strategy, by INSEAD professors W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, became an instant global bestseller, one company had already been searching for its own blue oceans and found its uncontested space. The company in question is Cirque du Soleil. Close to 80 million spectators around the world have seen a Cirque performance. But the company isn't resting on its laurels, despite its phenomenal and seemingly unstoppable success. "The danger will be to be complacent about it and thinking that we have a recipe, and that we will always continue to serve to the public a recipe. And as you know the expectations of people now are getting higher and higher. Therefore it's important for us that we continue to innovate, that we continue to take risks all the time. And that's what we are doing in order to avoid being passé," says Cirque's president and chief executive officer Daniel Lamarre.  Though no one has yet been able to copy Cirque's inimitable style, Lamarre is always mindful of potential competitors. He says all forms of competition should be considered, especially as Cirque is a performance art, which puts them in the same category as theatrical plays, musicals, concerts and the like. "So we do have competition because we're all fighting for the same consumer. But so far we have been lucky because no one has been able to copy the kind of shows at the same level that we are, and that's reassuring. At the same time we have to continue to invest in order to innovate that we don't wake up one day and someone is able to do what we're doing."  Cirque is currently investing some $500 million in new productions in Las Vegas, Macau and Tokyo.


Is new 3-D movie about Cirque competition for its own live stage shows?

John Horn, Los Angles Times, 12/10/10

Anyone who's seen one of Cirque du Soleil's shows knows that they are immersive, theatrical spectacles. Can 3-D movie glasses somehow help replicate that experience in a multiplex? The Montreal-based circus company - joining forces with director Andrew Adamson and executive producer James Cameron - believes the answer is yes. Cirque du Soleil will introduce the first in what could be a series of feature films trying to translate the hugely successful stage shows into a new medium. Adamson is well into shooting a narrative feature that will include sequences from all six Cirque du Soleil shows currently playing in Las Vegas: O, , Mystère, The Beatles Love, Zumanity and Viva Elvis. "I don't want to make a commercial for Cirque du Soleil," Adamson said. "I want to make a film that celebrates what Cirque does. It's not a documentary. And, at the same time, it's not a visual effects show. We are not going to remove the wires that the performers are flying on. What we are doing is celebrating an art form." For the parent company, the film poses a dilemma: It could help cultivate new audiences for its shows, bringing highlights to people who may live miles from (and have never visited) any Cirque du Soleil venue, or it could depress sales for the shows themselves. Tickets for the troupe's live performances are as expensive as Broadway theater, with many tickets costing more than $100. Even with the 3-D surcharge in movie theaters, admissions for the Cirque movie will be a fraction of that. "Some people here think it's going to cannibalize [sales], and some think it's going to do the opposite, and I'm one of [the latter]," said Jacques Méthé, a Cirque du Soleil executive producer who oversees its film, television, event and lifestyle division. "If you see the 3-D film, you'll get a fabulous experience. In most instances, it will convince you that you need to see one of our shows."

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