It’s mid-February, two months before Cirque du Soleil’s Paramour
begins previews on Broadway, and the full cast and creative team have
come together at Grumman Studios on Long Island for their second-ever “stumble-through” of the ;rst act. The setting is Hollywood’s
Golden Age, and the leading men, ;lm director A.J. and composer Joey,
are both in pursuit of actress-poet Indigo’s heart.
While the actors sort through their love triangle, Paramour’s
dance ensemble rehearses a rousing Wild West number, complete with
do-si-dos, heel-kicks and fouetté turns. In the same scene, the show’s
acrobats mark through a series of tumbling, teeterboard and Russian
beam tricks. Director Philippe Decou;é and associate creative and staging director West Hyler pace in front of the stage, observing the action.
Choreographer Daphné Mauger races from performer to performer,
giving one-on-one corrections. Despite the controlled chaos, there’s
excitement in the air.
“In its 30 years of existence, Cirque du Soleil has become known
With Zeiger’s guidance, Cirque hopes to enter a new market—
for visual spectacle, physical virtuosity and incredible music and
costumes—so it seemed only natural for the next step forward to be a
dive into storytelling,” says Scott Zeiger, the president and managing
director of Cirque du Soleil Theatrical, a new division of the company
that focuses on story-driven productions.
though this isn’t the company’s ;rst attempt at a song-and-dance show.
One of its few missteps, the vaudeville-infused Banana Shpeel, closed
after just six weeks in New York City in 2010 amidst poor reviews
that said the show was not cohesive. “From that ill-fated production,
Cirque learned its lesson about needing to drive story as much as
beauty and acrobatics,” Zeiger says.
Cirque du Soleil maintains long-running productions in Las Vegas,
Walt Disney World and Tokyo, and has had a lot of success with its
touring arena shows. But the company has never secured a permanent home in New York City, though productions that have toured
there have done exceedingly well. One major hurdle: ;nding the right
space. “Two years ago, we started with discussions of what a Cirque
Does Cirque du Soleil have what it takes to tackle the Great White Way?
BY KATHRYN HOLMES
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JIM LAFFERTY
From the Big Top to Broadway
had 14 weeks to
half the number
needs to put
together a show.