In place of lion tamers, Beatles join the circus

For the Record

October 24, 2004|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

Farewell, Siegfried & Roy. Hello ... Beatles?

Famed avant-garde circus troupe Cirque du Soleil will mount a Las Vegas production based on Beatles music, replacing the Siegfried & Roy show at the Mirage hotel and casino in 2006, the partners in the project have announced.

Beatles producer George Martin will oversee the music. Neither of the surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, will perform, but they have issued statements supporting the project, as have Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison, the widows of John Lennon and George Harrison.

A 2,000-seat theater is being built for the show on the site of the venue where Roy Horn of Siegfried & Roy was critically wounded by one of the act's tigers a year ago. The estimated cost of the new theater and show is at least $100 million.

Cirque founder Guy Laliberte and George Harrison began discussing the project before Harrison's death in 2001. It will mark the first major theatrical partnership for the Beatles' company, Apple Corps.

Gilles Ste-Croix, vice president of creation for the Cirque, said there will be no Beatles impersonators in the show, which will rely on the group's own recordings, augmented by live instrumentalists. "Nobody wants to hear any other voice than those of the Beatles," he said. But there will be a cast of 65, including dancers, acrobats and musicians.

The Beatles extravaganza will be the Cirque's fifth show in Las Vegas. There are no plans to close any of the others.

The Los Angeles Times is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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