The world-famous Cirque du Soleil have officially landed in Broadway. With an international ATG venue playing host to their brand new musical theatre production, we couldn't resist the opportunity to head down to the Lyric Theatre to find out more!Alex Paré was in New York for PARAMOUR opening night, capturing all the action behind-the-scenes and on the glittering red carpet...
Its doors might have been closed for twelve years, but the historic Lyric Theatre has been given new life by the Ambassador Theatre Group, who restored it to its former glory in 2014. PARAMOUR follows successful productions of On The Town and Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games on the new Lyric stage, whilst also marking a ground-breaking world premiere for Cirque on Broadway.
Now thirty-two years old, the world's most famous circus company has come a long way since it was founded by Canadian street performers Guy Laliberté and Giles Ste-Croix. Since 1984, Cirque du Soleil have performed for 160 million spectators, with that number growing every day. Antarctica is now the only continent yet to be visited by a Cirque show, so it seems right about time for them to take on the new challenge of wowing New York's iconic theatre district...
As the Lyric was the thriving American home of musical comedy in the 1920's, PARAMOUR is a fitting production to honour this legacy and decade, as set in the Golden Age of Hollywood, this new show combines Cirque's characteristic acrobatic feats with Broadway storytelling to spin the tale of a beautiful young actress forced to choose between love and fame.
PARAMOUR differs from most Cirque productions in that it is carried by a script with dialogue and a fully realised theatrical story with 10 original songs from Bon and Bill Carlsson. It's crucial that a show of this size has inspiring leadership... but who needs just one director when you can have three? PARAMOUR has been carefully and skillfully brought to life by Phillipe Decouflé (vision and dance), West Hyler (scene and story) and Shana Carroll (acrobatics and choreography), each working together to bring to life this spectacular event.
We joined the masses that flocked to Broadway on 25th May for the Broadway world premiere and importantly the star-stutted Opening Night red carpet. ATG Tickets managed to get exclusive interviews and photographs with stars of stage and screen, including Hollywood actress Brooke Shields and Boardwalk Empire's Gretchen Mol,who took her seat in the auditorium with husband Tod and their two children.
Elsewhere prospective First Lady Ivanka Trump treated herself to a night out with the circus, whilst prolific director of works such as Pan's Labyrinth and Hellboy, Guillermo del Toro,was also spotted gracing the carpet on 43rd Street.
All 1,850 seats in the auditorium were full to see the culmination of six months of hard work - with workshops, preparation and rehearsals having taken place in Montreal, Paris and Long Island as well as New York City. In this time, they cast have been drilling routines in the fifteen different disciplines that feature in the show, including trampoline, Chinese poles, contortion, roues cyr (cyr wheels) and Russian bar.
Unsurprisingly, the Lyric Theatre stage is the largest on Broadway, and every inch of its 6,000 square feet is used in PARAMOUR! A small gym has also been erected in the Lyric basement to ensure all artists can practice their disciplines and maintain peak fitness through the production's run.
After the final curtain call, the PARAMOUR team finally got to relax away from the theatre, with a well-deserved celebration at the McKittrick Hotel, home of Punchrunk's Sleep No More. However, with 38
cast members (22 acrobats, 16 actors), 23 creative team members, 8 band
members, 4 stage managers and 30 crew members, it was hardly going to be a small gathering...
Ruby Lewis is PARAMOUR's glamorous leading lady and is supported by the other two sides of the triangle in Broadway legend Jeremy Kushnier and Ryan Vona. For ATG Tickets, Alex also managed to steal some time with two home-grown performers in the show... Andrew and Kevin Atherton are identical twins hailing from Manchester, and no strangers to the stage, they've dazzled audiences across the world with their synchronised aerial straps routines in multiple Cirque du Soleil productions:
The high-flying circus veterans gave a shout-out to fans over here in the UK, whilst Australian acrobat Amber Fulljamesalso had a message for supporters back home after making her Broadway debut.
With over 1,300 artists from fifty different countries currently performing in Cirque productions globally, PARAMOUR continues a long and positive tradition of international casting for the company, securing the very best and most unique talent from every corner of the globe.
Social media has already been buzzing with praise for Cirque's new adventure into the world of Broadway:
"If y'all get to NYC soon, go see @ParamourBway! It is visually STUNNING. Ruby Lewis is an amazing talent!" - @mamaberesford - Twitter
"@Cirque#paramour Absolutely the best show I have ever seen" - @johnmckillop0 - Twitter
"GO SEE @ParamourBway . it's everything. it's everything and more, in the most literal sense." - @cvdaae - Twitter
"Just saw PARAMOUR on Broadway, all I can say is "IT WAS AMAZING"!
Go and buy your tickets now...." - @JohnWDresch - Twitter
"@ParamourBway your opening night performance took my breath away! They should give mini oxygen tanks with each ticket! GO SEE THIS SHOW!" - @ERTAEHT_EVOL_I -Twitter