Category: Kodak Theatre

Chat with Danny Elfman, film and 'Iris' composer, on Dec. 16

December 9, 2011 |  3:30 pm

Danny elfman

Danny Elfman, one of Hollywood's most successful and prolific film composers, will take part in a live Web chat, hosted by Culture Monster, at 11:30 a.m. on Dec. 16.

Elfman, former frontman and guiding force of the alt-rock band Oingo Boingo, will be chatting and taking questions for one hour. You can expect him to offer more insights about the score he composed for Cirque du Soleil's "Iris," its movie-themed show running at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.

So line up the questions you've been dying to ask Elfman about what it's like to work with Tim Burton, and the real inspiration behind "Dead Man's Party." Sign up below for a reminder.

 

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

-- Reed Johnson

Photo: Danny Elfman in his L.A. studio. Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times

Cirque du Soleil loves L.A. but does a balancing act with Hollywood

October 9, 2011 |  8:18 am

Iris

 

Guy Laliberté, the owner-founder of the whimsical Montreal-based Cirque du Soleil circus troupe, likes to say that he and Cirque have had "a love affair with L.A." After all, Los Angeles hosted one of Cirque's shows back in the late 1980s, when the company still was trying to establish a presence outside Montreal, preferably in a warm-weather city where it could perform year-round.

Ever since then, Southern California has been one of Cirque's strongest markets, and Cirque's familiar blue-and-gold striped big top tent has been pitched many times here, from Santa Monica to Orange County. Its newest show, "Iris," a love letter to the movies, recently opened at the Kodak Theatre at the Hollywood and Highland complex, where hopes are that it could run for years.

But if Cirque loves L.A., it has been more cautious in its dealings with the business that symbolizes the city for many: Hollywood. Although it has collaborated selectively with some of the major film studios in the past, Cirque has spurned other advances from Hollywood suitors, mainly out of concern about maintaining creative control and also due to philosophical differences with the Hollywood artistic status quo.

Read the full story.

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-- Reed Johnson

Photo: Cirque du Soleil's new made-for-L.A. show "Iris" recently opened at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood and Highland. Credit: Matt Beard / Cirque du Soleil

Theater review: 'Iris' by Cirque du Soleil at the Kodak Theatre

September 26, 2011 | 12:17 pm

Cirque 1 

If the flights from Los Angeles to Las Vegas seem slightly less crowded these days, don’t take it as a sign that we’re in a double-dip recession. Cirque du Soleil, the alt-circus company out of Quebec that has grown into a global entertainment phenomenon so lucrative it may be asked to bail out Greece, has set up shop at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, making the trip to see Mystère, Viva Elvis or one of the other Cirque attractions nestled in a casino a little less necessary.   

Fittingly, “Iris,” the new $100-million extravaganza that opened Sunday after a summer run of previews, is a love letter to the art and science of cinema. Unfolding at the venue that hosts the Academy Awards, the show is subtitled “A Journey Through the World of Cinema.” But please don’t misread this as “A Stroll Through Classic Hollywood.” This is a celebration of the imagination of filmmaking through a circus sensibility, which similarly wants to escape the mundane through the fantasy of limitless possibility.

Before we tackle the aesthetics of the production (cunningly packaged with just enough daredevil razzmatazz to keep audiences from minding some of the goofy dead spots), let’s acknowledge the economic effect of what amounts to a glitzy private-sector stimulus for local businesses. The show, bound to be a major tourist magnet, has already been persuading middle-class hordes to throw credit card caution to the wind. Although the $253 price of VIP tickets is enough to make you queasy, there’s something agreeable about having this movie-themed colossus, kinetically scored by composer Danny Elfman, permanently installed in the heart of Hollywood.

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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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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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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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'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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