Tuesday, March 18, 2014 | 7:10 p.m.
They knew that it wouldn’t fit through the door. That is important to know about members of the crew who built this giant Earth Globe being used in Cirque du Soleil’s “One Night for One Drop” charity show Friday night at Mandalay Bay.
This orb is 12 feet around, made of aluminum, painstakingly welded together and shaped by a half-dozen guys over a five-day period. That work, all of it conducted at Ka Theater in MGM Grand, was finished the morning of March 11.
As noted, the globe is not in “Ka” and has no business, post-construction, at MGM Grand. A truck was driven to the theater’s loading dock to transport the piece to Michael Jackson One Theater at Mandalay Bay, where the door through which the piece was supposed to enter the venue was about half the size of the orb.
Which came as no surprise.
“So we are cutting the globe in half,” says Aaron Hutch, head of central fabrication for Cirque in Las Vegas. “We knew that we would have to cut it in half and reattach it when it’s back in place.”
Which did happen, and the globe will be used in “One Night” at Mandalay Bay, where it will be “skinned” to look like planet Earth, illuminated inside, and around which child artists will dance and extol the virtues of water and water conservation.
This is but one set piece in a show that is being fully assembled, and then dismantled, for a single performance. The show draws artists from all of Cirque’s Las Vegas productions, which will be dark for this “one night.” The show is set for 7:30 p.m. Tickets in the $225-$325 range are available on the “One Night” website.
The globe is one of the nonhuman highlights of the production, as is its complementary piece, a giant wooden garment closet also constructed at MGM Grand. That might make a great addition to an oversized, "Alice in Wonderland"-themed children’s bedroom someday should the Cirque crew decide to auction off the sets from “One Night.”
“We haven’t decided what will happen once the show is over,” Hutch said. “We’ve definitely put a lot of work into them all for this show.”
The Earth Globe is a chief example of that work. The silver, skeletal orb weighs 700 pounds and is made of lightweight aluminum. If filled with water, it would hold 7,000 gallons, or half the size of an average swimming pool. A total of 860 welds were used to fasten the 12 vertical ribs, the 72 pieces that make up the six horizontal rings and the two rings at the top and bottom of the globe.
Inspectors checked every single one of those welds, too, to make certain that they would withstand the tension of a stage performance. Then the crew took a blowtorch to the piece, carefully taking it apart for transport.
“We had two choices,” Hutch said. “We could either build two halves here (at MGM) and attach them at Mandalay Bay or build the piece entirely here and know it would fit together.”
As it was, Hutch has made the right call, a decision befitting a production that is, typical of Cirque, otherworldly.
MGM Grand, a AAA Four Diamond resort, offers 5,044 rooms and suites.
MGM Grand features KÀ by Cirque du Soleil; Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club; and world-class entertainment at the Grand Garden Arena and Hollywood Theatre.
The resort offers signature restaurants by celebrity chefs including Tom Colicchio’s Craftsteak, Emeril Lagasse’s New Orleans Fish House, Wolfgang Puck’s Bar & Grill and Michelin three star and Forbes Five Star restaurant, Joël Robuchon.
As part of its ongoing “Grand Renovation,” MGM Grand has remodeled all rooms and suites in its main tower and is adding several new experiences to its lineup including Hakkasan Las Vegas Restaurant and Nightclub, a new upscale dining/nightlife concept (coming in April 2013).
MGM Grand also features a state-of-the-art, non-smoking conference center, the Grand Spa, Cristophe Salon, "CSI: The Experience" and an inviting pool complex featuring the tantalizing daylife of Wet Republic.
Upscale accommodations include The Mansion, an exclusive hotel within the hotel; the luxurious two-story SKYLOFTS at MGM Grand; and The Signature at MGM Grand, a luxury all-suite, non-gaming hotel located adjacent to the main resort.