Monday, June 16, 2014 | 6 p.m.
It began with two circus dreamers on June 16 about 30 years ago and grew into the Cirque du Soleil we know today as a global entertainment company with 1,300 performing artists from 50 countries.
Congratulations to executives and performers in Las Vegas and elsewhere on celebrating Cirque’s 30th anniversary today with three decades of amazing achievements around the world.
Of the 35 mega-shows produced, 20 are still running, and the newest, “Totem,” starts in Australia this fall. The new partnership with Oscar-winning director James Cameron will bring the touring version of his blockbuster “Avatar” next year.
Guy Laliberte and Gilles Ste-Croix were breathing fire, juggling, dancing and stiltwalking in the streets of a small town near Quebec City as the Baie-Saint-Paul Stiltwalkers. They went on to become the High Heels Club, and then Guy created his Quebec circus called Cirque du Soleil (Circus of the Sun) to take a troupe to travel the globe.
The first gig was in 1984 when Quebec City celebrated the 450th anniversary of the discovery of Canada. Today, there are 4,000 employees with headquarters in Montreal. Its original show in Las Vegas was “Mystere,” which premiered Dec. 25, 1993, and is still playing at Treasure Island — one of Cirque’s eight shows on the Strip: “Mystere,” “O,” “Ka,” “Love,” “Michael Jackson One,” “Zarkana,” “Believe” and “Zumanity.”
500TH MILESTONE: Singer-songwriter and musician Frankie Moreno celebrated his 500th show at the Stratosphere where he headlines, and current and former Mayors Carolyn and Oscar Goodman, respectively, nearly stole the spotlight with their humorous Lucy and Desi Arnaz routine as they read the onstage proclamation.
Frankie debuted his updated show with new band members, songs and choreography from “Dancing With the Stars” pro Lacey Schwimmer. “After 500 shows, this is the perfect time to mix it up a bit and keep the show fresh,” said Frankie.
Among those attending: “Pin Up” at the Stratosphere star Claire Sinclair and her upcoming guest star Sabina Kelley, “America’s Got Talent” winner singer Michael Grimm, singers Pia Zadora, Lisa Marie Smith, Skye Dee Miles, Franky Perez and Zowie Bowie with Lydia Ansel and magician Murray Sawchuck.
Releasing a new album and preparing for a PBS special in August, Frankie told his band to get ready for the next 500 shows.
COMMUTER ANNIVERSARY: There was barely time for comedy juggler Jeff Civillico to turn off his chainsaws, let alone celebrate his second anniversary on the Strip. In addition to his regular afternoon show at the Quad, Jeff drives as fast as legally possible down to Harrah’s in Laughlin through month’s end for a daily 8 p.m. show.
Jeff’s mother and father from Philadelphia flew in for the weekend show and had a Father’s Day dinner at Center Cut steakhouse in the Flamingo after the anniversary after-party at nearby Carlos and Charlie’s. Jeff also booked a private cabin on the High Roller for them to ride over the skyline.
Jeff unveiled two additions to his show with his opening act using Skype. Magician Tim Gabrielson was the first to Skype from Minneapolis to warm up the crowd. Secondly, Jeff unveiled his “Juggle Vision” creation, a GoPro camera mounted on his head that shows his close-up point-of-view to the audience.
UPCOMING EVENTS: Rehearsals began today for the world-premiere showcase of “Gotta Dance” at Troesh Studio Theater at the Smith Center from July 2-3. More than 20 local dance stars will perform in this history of dance directed and choreographed by Giulio Scatola.
NBA megastar Shaquille O’Neal might be inching out of retirement to make his debut as a DJ, and his first shot at spinning stardom will come Friday, June 27, when the 7’1” champion takes on a slam dunk of the turntables at Chateau Nightclub in the Paris.
Blue Sky Yoga will present Grammy nominee Krishna Das in concert Tuesday, July 8, at the Center of Spiritual Living in a Seeds of Peace fundraiser to provide free after-school yoga programs for Las Vegas schools. Krishna Das headlines at numerous music festivals, and his movie documentary “One Track Heart” has won numerous awards.
Comedienne Chelsea Handler zipped across the Strip after her Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan shows to enjoy the Italian taste treats at the new restaurant Giada in the Cromwell. Her “Chelsea Lately” castmates Michael Yo and Heather McDonald, celebrating Heather’s birthday, hung out at Marquee Dayclub.
My esteemed colleague Editor at Large Johnny Katsilometes was first to tweet that George Clooney and nightlife impresario Rande Gerber were poolside at Red Rock Resort and then at T-Bones steakhouse for dinner.
Carrot Top took a break from his Luxor hit headliner show to catch singer Pia Zadora in her weekend show at Piero’s.
While his ex Kim Kardashian had cameras clicking at Bonnaroo, Boston Celtics power forward Kris Humphries was here for a boys weekend celebration of his best friend and agent Josh Ketroser’s birthday at XS in Steve Wynn’s Encore. Josh also was the best man at Kris’s wedding to Kim as seen on E!.
Cast and crew of “Jersey Boys” at the Paris will be at the advance screening of the new Clint Eastwood-directed “Jersey Boys” at AMC Town Square.
“Rock of Ages” at the Venetian star Mark Shunock hosts his monthly “Mondays Dark” fundraiser, tonight for the Rudy Foundation, at Vinyl in the Hard Rock Hotel. Casts of “Rock of Ages,” “Jersey Boys,” “Mamma Mia” and “Million Dollar Quartet” join in a musicals salute titled “Mama Rocks a Million Boys.”
Larry Reeb and Kermet Apio headline Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club at MGM Grand through Sunday.
Cash Cash and Dash Berlin are at Marquee in the Cosmopolitan.
Achmed the Terrorist pulls ventriloquist Jeff Dunham into a new Strip residency this fall, and I get the untold story from both of them. Plus impressions of my visit to Macau, and Celine Dion celebrates her 200th show in her current Caesars Palace contract.
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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It is virtually impossible to be anywhere in Las Vegas and miss the Stratosphere. It towers 1,149 feet above Las Vegas and is the tallest observation tower in the United States. The casino itself is 55,784 square feet and contains 950 slot machines, 120 game tables and 2,427 hotel rooms.
Of the hotel's 2,427 rooms, 909 were recently remodeled into Stratosphere Select rooms.
The Stratosphere is mostly known for its rides at the top of the tower. The Big Shot, located at the 113th floor, torpedoes riders up 160 feet using compressed air. X-Scream is a teeter-totter perched at the top of the observation deck — if that wasn't scary enough, the coaster arm flings the riders out 27 feet over the edge of the tower. Guests looking for something more sedate can just hang around the 107th floor and simply look at the scenery.