Wednesday, March 14, 2018 | 2 a.m.
The six-month contract. That’s how Vegas gets you.
French artist and illusionist Xavier Mortimer is just one of the performers who came to town on a six-month contract and ended up staying for years. In his case, he was called by Cirque du Soleil to be part of the creation of “Michael Jackson ONE” at Mandalay Bay five years ago. He played the character of Sneaky in one of the Strip’s most popular productions for more than three years.
“It was one of the best experiences I’ve had,” Mortimer says. “I didn’t want to leave Cirque, but I had this new opportunity to open my own show on the Strip. It was something completely different, to go from being a part of a big group and something very stable to now, you have to fight for yourself and be everywhere and sell tickets.”
The gamble seems to have paid off. In December, “Xavier Mortimer’s Magical Dream” was extended for a second year in the Sin City Theater at Planet Hollywood. It’s not just Mortimer’s own Vegas show, it’s a fantasy that shows off his full range of abilities.
“The illusions are original, my creation, so you’ve never seen them anywhere. And there’s a story, too, about a dream,” he says. “There are different scenes or pictures and it’s very fantasy-oriented. I grew up developing these illusions because I was more into that fantasy theme than sawing a woman in half. That’s why I ended up at Cirque. They saw me and said, ‘this guy is our mood.’”
Mortimer is the first former Cirque du Soleil performer to headline his own show on the Strip. His playful, whimsical style—creating an orchestra with his shadows, dancing with a broomstick—intertwines comedy and poetry, music and mime artistry. “People like David Copperfield were big-time in my early life, but also I’m a longtime fan of Cirque and I love a big range of art, music and comedy,” he says. “Charlie Chaplin, of course, because my show includes a lot of physical comedy, some action and acrobatics and just things happening to the character in that style.”
The magic-show landscape on the Strip is a crowded one, but Mortimer has already set himself apart with a unique style and an immersive, family-friendly production.
“I built this whole story around what I do,” he says. “My challenge is to get this to be successful and work to be the best I can be every day, not compete with other shows. If they like me in Vegas, I’m going to stay.”
“Xavier Mortimer’s Magical Dream” takes the stage at the Sin City Theater at Planet Hollywood (3667 Las Vegas Blvd. South, 702-777-6737) at 7 p.m. Saturday through Thursday and more information can be found at xaviermortimer.com.