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Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011 | 10:33 p.m.
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As “Mystere” celebrates its 18th anniversary on Christmas Day at Treasure Island, Vegas Deluxe can confirm that the production will go dark for a month starting Jan. 12 for what Cirque du Soleil’s creations director, Gilles Ste. Croix, describes as “a needed tune-up” for the company’s first Strip spectacular.
“Mystere” is still playing to capacity crowds after more than 8,500 performances since Dec. 25, 1993, but Cirque founder Guy Laliberte flew here from Japan a week ago and authorized changes. First, he’s replacing the high-bar finale with a trapeze act from his show “Zed” in Tokyo that closes on New Year’s Eve.
A second “Zed” act arriving here early next year is being added to “Viva Elvis” at Aria, as we reported previously. Cirque also is adding a solo aerial act to “Mystere,” and the choreography and staging of the amazing Chinese poles number will be restaged. The first show to debut the additions will be Saturday, Feb. 11.
Vegas DeLuxe first reported that billionaire T.I. owner Phil Ruffin had renewed the show for five years after he bought the property in 2008 from MGM Grand. As of this past weekend, “Mystere” had racked up 8,563 performances, and guitarist Bruce Rickerd has never missed a show.
“American Idol” judge Steve Tyler of Aerosmith attended Sunday’s show, the latest in a string of celebrities including Michael Jackson family members Jackie, Randy and Donte, Dennis Rodman, Hulk Hogan, Backstreet Boys and cast members of “Desperate Housewives,” “Mad Men” and “24.”
Steven, who has seen “Mystere” before, went backstage after the curtain call and posed for photographs with the cast, including Ross Gibson, who portrays Red Bird. When “Mystere” celebrated its record-breaking 8,000th performance, I sat with Cirque chief Daniel Lamarre and asked him about the long-running production.
“ ‘Mystere’ has made entertainment history because no one show of this magnitude has lasted so long. All the other shows that have more than 8,000 representations have duplicates, like ‘The Phantom of the Opera.’ … This is only one show, one cast, one crew and 8,000 performances, and there are still standing ovations every night.
“It’s as emotional today as it was when it opened, and the artists are still excited for every performance. There have been several updates over the years -- it’s the only way. We have an artistic team working here, and every day they train, they try to make their show evolve. That’s why after so many years, the show is still relevant.
“This is the original. There is a real extraordinary emotional link between the public, Cirque du Soleil and ‘Mystere.’ To them, ‘Mystere’ is the classic that will be around forever. It will continue to keep making history.” “Mystere” is one of seven resident Cirque productions on the Strip.
Incidentally after flying here from Japan, Guy also made tweaks to “Michael Jackson: the Immortal World Tour” at Mandalay Bay even though he’d officially signed off on changes when he saw it in Vancouver. ” He always thinks you can make something better every time he sees one of his shows,” I was told.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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