Category: Cirque du Soleil

Fall arts picks: Dance and performance

September 16, 2011 |  8:55 am

Iris

This fall's lineup of dance and performance events covers the waterfront, from big-budget spectacles (think Cirque du Soleil's “Iris”) to world-class ballet companies (imports from San Francisco and Europe) to Broadway must-sees (“Come Fly Away,” Stephen Sondheim).

To see it all would keep you on your feet for most of the season. It would also drain your bank account, considering the prices that some shows are charging for tickets. (Think Cirque, again.) Thankfully, there is one free event (Diavolo Dance Theater at the Music Center) as well as numerous opportunities for students to buy discount tickets.

Here is a selective list of Southern California's season's biggest dance and performance events, plus a nod to some major out-of-town productions.

Continue reading »

Cirque du Soleil's big-top show 'OVO' is coming to Santa Monica

September 15, 2011 | 10:00 am

Scene-from-Cirque-du-Soleil
As previews continue in advance of the world premiere of Cirque du Soleil's resident production of "Iris" at the Kodak Theatre, the troupe announced Thursday that it will raise its big-top for the touring show "OVO" at the Santa Monica Pier in January.

Juggling ants, soaring scarabs and a gravity-defying spider are among the fanciful creatures in "OVO,"  which uses a mix of movement, music and circus arts to tell tales of life and love in the insect world -- as well as what happens when a mysterious giant egg ("ovo" in Portuguese) pops up.

The show, given its premiere in Montreal in 2009, was directed, written and choreographed by Brazilian choreographer Deborah Colker and has a Brazilian-Cirque fusion score by Berna Ceppas.

"OVO" will open its limited engagement Jan. 20. Tickets will go on sale to the public Nov. 13 for dates through Feb. 26.

"Iris" -- Cirque's ode to cinema -- opens Sept. 25 at the Kodak in Hollywood.

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-- Karen Wada

Photo: A scene from "OVO." Credit: Benoit Fontaine / Cirque du Soleil

Cirque du Soleil's 'Iris' sets new pricing high for L.A.

August 9, 2011 | 10:25 pm

Scene from Cirque du Soleil's `Iris' at Kodak
Cirque du Soleil is famed for operating at unusual heights, and “Iris,” its new production at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, is doing just that: the $253 tickets in the center section of the first five rows are the most expensive ever announced for an L.A. theatrical production.

There are some complexities to consider here: in addition to your seat, you get a "VIP" package that includes parking, a souvenir book and laminate, and a beverage.

Also, the "Iris" tickets won't be the most expensive ever sold through an L.A. box office.

The Pantages Theatre's general manager, Martin Wiviott, noted that as "Beauty and the Beast" was ending its limited run in March, a few seats went for $300. That's because the Pantages, like the Ahmanson Theatre, uses "dynamic" pricing, in which costs can fluctuate depending on demand for tickets. On the last weekend of "Beauty," inventory was negligable and demand intense, Wiviott said, and some customers anted up $300 for seats that others had bought for as little as $78 early in the run.

For "Iris," no such fluctuations are planned. Cirque officials are hoping it will become a must-see attraction for locals and tourists and last a decade at the 2,500-seat Kodak.

Read the full story on ticket pricing for Cirque du Soliel's "Iris."

The $253 price doesn't kick in until Sept. 28, when previews end and regular performances begin. For now, $203 gets you front and center. Well, to be exact: $203 plus the $9 fee that applies to tickets sold online or by phone, as opposed to $5 at the box office.  For you low-rollers, "Iris" is in reach for $33 now, and $43 starting Sept. 28, not counting fees.

Before "Iris," $250 appears to have been the highest price an L.A. theater had charged from the outset of a show's run. That was the cost of the 12 front row seats to "Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants" when it ran in the Geffen Playhouse's 98-seat Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater in 2008. Those seats came with extras as well, including a book autographed by the star and a souvenir deck of playing cards.

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You paid how much for that ticket?

-- Mike Boehm

Photos: Scene from a June sneak preview of Cirque du Soleil's 'Iris' at the Kodak Theatre. Credit: Arkasha Stevenson/Los Angeles Times.

 

Cirque du Soleil's 'Iris' begins previews at the Kodak Theatre

July 23, 2011 |  6:30 am

Danny

Montreal-based Cirque du Soleil's latest spectacle, "Iris," began previews this week at the Kodak Theatre, prior to the show's official September opening. Its producers hope that "Iris" (pronounced "ee-REES," in the French-Canadian manner) will have a 10-year run in the theater that hosts the annual Academy Awards ceremony, and that it will lure Angelenos as well as the droves of tourists strolling along the Walk of Fame outside the Hollywood & Highland retail complex.

The theme of "Iris" might be described as the magic of cinema in its purest form -- the interaction of light, sound and the motion of human bodies. Its director, Philippe Decoufle, is a Paris-based modern dance choreographer who as a kid was a huge fan of Tex Avery's animation. The show's composer, Danny Elfman, is a veteran film score composer ("Batman," "Alice in Wonderland") and former frontman and composer for the L.A. alt-rock band Oingo Boingo.

Conversation: Elfman and Decoufle

We spoke with the creative duo earlier this week at Elfman's L.A. studio about "Iris," movies, circuses, working in Hollywood and how Cirque, now a global entertainment juggernaut, still manages to keep the human element at the forefront of its shows.

-- Reed Johnson

Photo: Composer Danny Elfman, top, and choreographer Philippe Decoufle photographed at Elfman's studio in Los Angeles. Credit: Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times

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Cirque du Soleil's 'Iris' gets sneak peek at Kodak Theatre

June 16, 2011 |  5:17 pm

Cirque
Lights! Camera! Flying trapeze artists!

That's the concept behind Cirque du Soleil's latest show, "Iris," a movie-themed spectacle that's scheduled to begin previews next month at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.

"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.

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-- Reed Johnson

Photo: Cast members of "Iris." Credit: Arkasha Stevenson

 

 

Cirque du Soleil prepares for first L.A. rehearsals of 'Iris' at Kodak Theatre

April 28, 2011 |  1:15 pm

Iris

Cirque du Soleil is taking another step forward on its long road to a permanent home in Hollywood. Its new multimillion-dollar production, "Iris," will begin rehearsals at the Kodak Theatre on Monday in preparation for the start of preview performances on July 21.

Artists and creative team members are set to arrive in L.A. starting Monday and will begin working at the Kodak right away. The  team, which includes 72 performers, has been rehearsing "Iris" in Montreal, where Cirque has its headquarters. Rehearsals will continue in L.A. until previews begin.

A recent tour of the Kodak showed that Cirque has extensively modified the backstage area of the theater to meet the technical and artistic demands of the show. The company has installed a giant new lift system, already in operation, that will be used to transport heavy scenery. The system sits in an area beneath the stage that crews have excavated over the past year.

Cirque has been gradually loading in the physical production, including sets and equipment, since March.

Daniel Lamarre, the president and CEO of Cirque, said that the modifications to the Kodak -- which also include new service tunnels and amenities for performers -- were carried out in cooperation with the city and CIM Group, the private owner of the Hollywood & Highland complex. 

Lamarre said the the Kodak was the only venue Cirque considered for "Iris" because of its association with the Academy Awards and the amount of tourist foot traffic in the area. The idea for the show originated when the company performed at the Oscars ceremony in 2002.

"Iris" is set to officially open on Sept. 25, with an expected eight performances a week, though it could go as high as 10, according to Lamarre. The show, which will be the permanent resident of the Kodak, will go dark for about one month each year so that the theater can be used for the Oscars ceremony.

Continue reading »

Post-Oscar, Kodak Theatre readies for Cirque du Soleil's 'Iris'

March 1, 2011 |  3:49 pm

Kodak

Now that the 83rd Academy Awards ceremony is a thing of the past, the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood is getting ready for its next big production -- the new Cirque du Soleil production, "Iris." Organizers said that "Iris" will take occupancy of the Kodak beginning Monday, in preparation for the start of preview performances on July 21.

Cirque said that a "contingent" of production and operations personnel will arrive Monday to "prepare for the full load-in of the show."  In April, the entire physical production of "Iris" will begin arriving from Montreal, where the show has been rehearsing. In early May, the cast of 72 performers will begin rehearsals at the Kodak.

The multimillion-dollar "Iris" is scheduled to officially open on Sept. 25. The world premiere production will be the resident company at the Kodak with about 368 shows annually, though the Oscar ceremony will continue to take place at the venue.  The company said that "Iris" is inspired by the history of cinema, and will include acrobatics and dance, as well as animation and filmed sequences.

The show is written and directed by French choreographer Philippe Decouflé and features new music by Danny Elfman.

The Kodak can accommodate approximately 3,400 people, but Cirque has stated that it will reconfigure part of the seating area because it doesn't expect to fill the venue for every show. The company has stated that it expects to spend about $40 million to renovate the Kodak for the purposes of "Iris," and then another $60 million on top of that on the production itself.

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-- David Ng

Photo (top): the Kodak Theatre, during Sunday's Oscar ceremony. Credit: Darren Decker / EPA

Photo (bottom): the exterior of the Kodak Theatre. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Cirque du Soleil, Los Lobos to help kick off Los Angeles Arts Month

December 28, 2010 | 10:41 am

Kooza Organizers of Los Angeles Arts Month have announced that Cirque du Soleil will be giving a free public performance at the official opening of the annual festival, taking place from noon to 1:30 p.m. Jan. 5 at the Music Center Plaza in downtown Los Angeles.

The Cirque performance is expected to be brief -- about five minutes -- and will feature a handstand contortionist from the touring show "Kooza," according to a spokeswoman.  In addition, cast members from "Zumanity" will be present to greet the public, but they won't be performing.

The Jan. 5 event also will feature David Hidalgo and Louie Perez of Los Lobos, the L.A. Chicano rock band. They are expected to perform selections from "Evangeline, the Queen of Make-Believe," a multimedia theatrical collaboration with About Productions.

Los Angeles Arts Month, now in its third year, is a promotional effort by arts organizations around the county to encourage residents and visitors to attend local cultural venues and events. The Jan. 5 kickoff will feature information booths as well as a variety of food selections.

Cirque du Soleil will become a permanent member of the L.A. arts community when the Montreal-based company begins performances of "Iris" in 2011 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. Preview performances of the Cirque show are slated to begin July 21 with an official opening set for Sept. 25. The cinema-themed stage show will be the resident production at the Kodak, which is also the home of the annual Academy Awards ceremony.

-- David Ng

Photo: a performer in Cirque du Soleil's "Kooza." Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

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Cirque du Soleil's 'Iris' to begin preview performances July 21 at Kodak Theatre

November 8, 2010 |  3:17 pm

Iris "Iris," the new Cirque du Soleil production that will set up shop at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre, is scheduled to begin preview performances on July 21, organizers said on Monday.

Cirque's movie-themed stage production will be the main tenant of the Kodak, which has served as the home of the Academy Awards ceremony since 2002. The  official opening for "Iris: A Journey through the World of Cinema" is still expected for Sept. 25, a spokesman said on Monday.

Tickets for "Iris" will go on sale Nov. 22 at 10 a.m. via Cirque's website or (877) 943-IRIS. Prices for single tickets range from $43 to $253, the spokesman said.

French dancer and choreographer Philippe Decouflé will serve as writer-director for "Iris." The music will be written by Danny Elfman, the film composer who has worked frequently with Tim Burton and who wrote the theme to "The Simpsons."

"Iris" will explore the history of moviemaking from its silent origins to the present day. The production will feature a cast of 72 live performers as well as video projections and other visual effects.

Cirque also said that its new "Zarkana" production is scheduled to begin performances in June at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

-- David Ng

Top photo credit: Cirque du Soleil

Bottom photo: the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

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Cirque du Soleil reveals plans about Michael Jackson touring show

November 3, 2010 |  1:22 pm

Jackson Michael Jackson was said to be a fan of Cirque du Soleil, and now the late pop star is getting a big-budget touring Cirque show in his honor.

Cirque announced Wednesday that "Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour," is set to open in Montreal in October 2011 and will travel to 27 cities across North America. The arena spectacle is expected to reach Los Angeles' Staples Center and Anaheim's Honda Center in January 2012.

The show will combine Jackson's music and choreography with Cirque's dance and aerial moves. Jamie King will serve as the show's writer and director. King has worked with pop stars including Jackson and Madonna.

Cirque recently announced details of its upcoming resident production at the Kodak Theatre. "Iris," a Hollywood-themed stage show, is expected to open at the Kodak in September 2011.

Read the full story about Cirque's Michael Jackson touring show.

-- David Ng

Photo: Michael Jackson at a 1996 concert. Credit: Simon Kwong / Reuters

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