Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Cirque du L.A.

The Cirque is coming to town! Yesterday, I joined Guy Laliberté, founder of Cirque du Soleil, Mayor Villaraigosa, and the owners of Hollywood and Highland to announce that Cirque du Soleil has agreed to develop a show that will be in residence in the city-owned Kodak Theatre for at least a decade.

Los Angeles has an important role in the history of Cirque du Soleil. Twenty years ago, when Cirque was on the brink of closing down, they came to Los Angeles, where the city embraced them and, as they say in Hollywood, the rest is history. Yesterday, on the 20th anniversary (almost to the day) of that turning point, Cirque committed to Los Angeles to creating one of the best shows ever made. The show will draw upon the history of Hollywood and moviemaking.

The Kodak Theatre will continue to host our modern-day history-making Academy Awards (and the Cirque show will go dark for 4-6 weeks each year to accommodate our friends at the Academy), and for the rest of the year, starting in about 2010 (it takes usually 2-3 years for Cirque to create a show from scratch), we will have the world's premiere live performance stage company in residence.

Guy made clear his commitment to Hollywood and the people of Los Angeles and Cirque has a great reputation for its socially-responsible philosophy, reflected in everything from its local youth job training (for years they have been working with homeless youth at My Friend's Place in Hollywood) to using no animals in their shows and much more. Guy also mentioned that the Hollywood renaissance and the city's investment in the beautiful Kodak Theatre, which brought the Academy Awards back to Hollywood, was a big reason for their decision to create this show.

Welcome to Hollywood, Cirque du Soleil! It's great to know you will be staying for a while.