Cirque du Soleil's 'Iris' gets sneak peek at Kodak Theatre
"Iris" (the preferred French-Canadian pronunciation is ee-rees, but eye-ris will do) officially will open in September, launching what Cirque predicts (and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce ardently hopes) will be a 10-year engagement that will draw 2 million tourists and locals into the Kodak and the surrounding Hollywood & Highland Center urban shopping mall every year.
Civic officials likewise are betting that "Iris" can polish the image of a neighborhood that sometimes baffles out-of-town star-gazers, who come searching for Brad Pitt but leave town with a T-shirt and a photo of themselves posing with "Elvis" or "Marilyn" outside Grauman's Chinese Theatre.
On Thursday morning, Cirque unveiled a partial preview of its $100-million show that included the opening sequence; an aerial duet with two male acrobats; and a trampoline segment in which cops and gangsters chased each other across a movie-set-like version of a Manhattan rooftop.
The audience of about 300 people included scores of journalists as well as representatives of Sun Life Financial, the show's primary sponsor. Also on hand were members of the show's creative team, including its writer-director, the French director-choreographer Philippe Decouflé, and composer Danny Elfman.
Cirque founder Guy Laliberté has described "Iris" not as a tribute to the movies or Hollywood per se, but as a homage to cinematic craftmanship, both behind and in front of the screen, and to the magical synergy of light, sound and motion.
Look for more details in Friday's Los Angeles Times and at latimes.com/arts.
-- Reed Johnson
Photo: Cast members of "Iris." Credit: Arkasha Stevenson