As Las Vegas struggles with visitor numbers flattening and MGM announcing hundreds of layoffs, Cirque du Soleil looks to be trying to bring excitement back to their shows with a brand-new concept. When R.U.N. debuts this October at the Luxor, the company’s "first live action thriller" will replace the acrobats that are typical of a Cirque show with stunt people, pyrotechnics and video screens.
Image via Cirque du Soleil
Film director Robert Rodriguez, known for such films as From Dusk til Dawn, Planet Terror, The Faculty, and Spy Kids, was tapped to write the script for the new show which centers around a wedding that is interrupted and soon "fast-paced chases, combat and stunts" will fill the 75-minute long show. The innovative show follows two clans as they battle through a "fictional dark underground of Las Vegas," according to a press release from Cirque du Soleil.
The show draws inspiration from graphic novels, a genre familiar to Rodriguez, who directed the big screen adaptations of graphic novels like Alita: Battle Angel and Sin City.
Daniel Lamarre, President and CEO of Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group, explains:
"R.U.N is very different from the other shows within the Cirque du Soleil portfolio. With R.U.N, we will reinvent the concept of a thriller, drawing inspiration from action movies and graphic novels. This action-packed live performance, happening in front of and around the audience, will offer a new form of entertainment to a more diversified Las Vegas guest."
Cirque is known for the unique live-entertainment offerings and has lately been looking at ways to reinvent the acrobat-driven shows that guests have come to expect from them. A theme park in Mexico and a chain of family entertainment centers have both been announced but now look to be put on the backburner as the company focuses on more pressing issues. According to Lance Hart of Screamscape, a tourism news and rumor tracking website, many Cirque shows in Vegas are only filling about half of their seats. A recent leadership shake-up of Cirque du Soleil's Vegas management saw an undisclosed number of employees laid off as part of an artistic and management reorganization between the company and MGM Resorts.
The Montreal-based entertainment company has also been expanding via acquisitions. Earlier this year, they purchased The Works Entertainment, known for their shows like The Illusionists and Now You See Me Live. This comes after Cirque du Soleil 2018 acquisition of VStar Entertainment and their 2017 purchase of Blue Man Group.
All of this comes as Orlando awaits any news regarding the confirmed upcoming Cirque du Soleil show that is to replace La Nouba, which closed in 2017. Both Disney and Cirque have confirmed a new show is in the works for Disney Springs, but neither has released any details regarding it. Rumors point to a show featuring Disney characters, though a contract with Tampa Bay-based Feld Entertainment, who produces the Disney on Ice, Marvel Universe Live, and other Disney branded arena shows, might be holding up that idea. An Avatar-themed traveling show by Cirque du Soleil was at one point rumored for Disney World though those rumors have died down since the opening of Pandora – The World of Avatar.
R.U.N. will debut Oct. 24, 2019. Tickets begin at $69 and are on sale now.
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