Thursday, March 17, 2016 | 3:25 p.m.
Entertainment industry stars, performers and executives from around the world arrive in Las Vegas today for Friday night’s fourth-annual “One Night for One Drop” Cirque du Soleil spectacular.
Incredibly, this afternoon is the first time the 100-strong cast of volunteer Las Vegas Cirque artists and other Strip performers will rehearse the show onstage at the Smith Center. It’s the first time since “One Drop” began that Cirque elected to move off the Strip from one of its theaters to another venue.
“That presents some incredible challenges,” said this year’s director, Hassan El Hajjami, formerly with the cast of “The Beatles Love” at the Mirage. “It’s like going inside a black box we’ve never entered before.
“We are all familiar with our Cirque stages; they are home. This is completely new to all of us, and we only get to see it 48 hours before we perform.”
Today’s rehearsal — already pushed back to 3 p.m., from noon — will have the cast in street clothes. Costume and wardrobe volunteers will be moving outfits into the Smith Center and making last-minute adjustments where necessary.
“It’s a breathtaking, nerve-wracking, down-to-the-wire adventure. Nobody ever takes on something of this magnitude this way,” I was told.
On Friday just hours before guests arrive for the blue carpet, the cast will have one full dress rehearsal and run the show from start to finish in order. Cirque founder Guy Laliberte will only see the show while he is seated with the audience at the Friday night performance.
Until now, the cast, including non-Cirque performers from the former “Jubilee” at Bally’s along with British singer-songwriter Leona Lewis and young star Miles “Baby Boogaloo” Brown of ABC’s “Black-ish,” have rehearsed in out-of-order sequences at the Zarkana theater in Aria.
Work began six months ago on the one-night-only project, and everything had to be done by cast and backstage crew during hours they weren’t performing or working backstage nightly in their own shows.
On Friday, Leona and Miles will race from their one-and-only dress rehearsal the moment the run-through ends at the Smith Center to the nearby Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health for the blue carpet. Right after their appearance for the cameras, they dash back for the show.
Set for the star-studded blue carpet — all attendees are encouraged to where blue: Miles’ “Black-ish” co-stars Anthony Anderson and Marsai Martin; reality-TV star NeNe Leakes; singer Natasha Bedingfield; choreographer Travis Payne; Luxor headliner illusionist Criss Angel; Katherine Bailess (VH1’s “Hit the Floor”); Matt and Mark Harris (A&E’s “Storage Wars”); Linq Hotel headliner magician Mat Franco; and Victoria’s Secret model Constance Jablonski.
Also, TV personality Jaymes Vaughan; new Planet Hollywood headliner Frankie Moreno; guitarist and CNBC’s “Money Talks” star Steve Stevens and fiance Kelly Tuttle; MGM Grand headliners the Jabbawockeez; reality-TV star Angelique “Frenchy” Morgan; cast members of “Rock of Ages” at the Rio, “Jersey Boys” at Paris Las Vegas, “Million Dollar Quartet” at Harrah’s, “Fantasy” at the Luxor and “Absinthe” at Caesars Palace; and Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and her husband, former Mayor Oscar Goodman.
And North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee; TV personality Jeannie Mai; former Miss France Chloe Mortaud; contemporary artist Robin Slonina; Las Vegas headliner Zowie Bowie; actress and producer Julia Fowler; Cirque President and CEO Daniel Lamarre; Bree “DJ 88” DeLano; FINA gold medalists and synchronized swimmers in “O” at Bellagio Christina Jones and Bill May; Olympic gold medalists Esther Lofgren and Susan Francia; and Alissa Dale, Joshua Kekoa, Krista Baker and Jordan Mendoza of Nevada Ballet Theatre.
There’s a pre-show reception, live and silent auction and post-show celebration at the Smith Center. One Drop Foundation officials hope to raise $7 million + from the production. Our interview with Catherine Bachand, CEO of One Drop, was posted March 11.
Vegas DeLuxe will have a report and photo coverage of the magical night with contributing photographer Tom Donoghue on duty with me. On Friday in advance of the festivities, we’ll have a preview of the show from today’s rehearsal, then over the weekend coverage of the celebrities, parties and show.
Robin Leach of “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous” fame has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past 15 years giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
Follow Las Vegas Sun Entertainment + Luxury Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.