In a city that has evolved into a place where established artists who still have a great deal of commercial appeal (think Elton John, J-Lo, Lionel Richie) can come and play mini-residencies, one wonders how long the attraction of a show based on a musical catalog that reached its apex in the late sixties can continue to pack them in. Well judging by the Saturday evening performance that I saw recently at the Mirage in Las Vegas, Love has nothing to worry about.
For loyal Beatles fans, the show has turned the Mirage into a bona fide pilgrimage site — the only place in the world you can see a Beatles-approved theatrical production with an accompanying surround soundtrack, direct from the master tapes. The multi–generational composition of the audience is a strong indicator that the music and acrobatics are pulling in millennials and families from around the world.
When “Love” opened, in 2006, some critics including this one raised an eyebrow at the prediction by Cirque that it would have a decade long run. How many Beatles fans, after all, were likely to travel to Las Vegas to see a site-specific acrobatic show? Well fast forward to 2018 and Love has been seen by over 8 million fans making it one of the most successful productions in Las Vegas history.
Cirque du Soleil with a team of over 4,000 employees representing 40 nationalities, speaking 25 different languages, is a bastion of international diversity and to some degree that is reflected in this current production of Love, featuring a large cast that includes a few exceptionally talented people of color.That diversity despite the universal appeal of the Beatles doesn’t seem to translate at the box office. The audience at the Mirage Theater was whiter than an NHL playoff game.
In celebration of its tenth anniversary in 2016 the show was given a revamp by its director, Dominic Champagne, and music director, Giles Martin, who, along with his father, the late George Martin, created the Grammy-winning soundtrack to the show.
“Octopus’s Garden” features Ringo Starr himself inside a water bubble in some projected imagery, as part of an underwater scene with three sea creatures, which interact with the performance artists, operated from the hidden ceiling grid. Judging by the somewhat muted audience response the results of the updated show are somewhat mixed.
The success of Love is a testament to the lasting appeal of the Beatles catalog and the stunning unique acrobatics of the Cirque du Soleil performers.
One can only wonder what new productions the tight-lipped executives at Cirque have planned based on the music of more recent superstars.
The inside word is “Purple Reign” may be next. I can see the ‘little Red Corvette zooming across the Vegas stage, ready to roar!