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Cirque du Soleil to base show on Beatles music

October 15, 2004|Don Shirley | Times Staff Writer

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 announced Thursday.

Beatles producer George Martin will oversee the music. Neither of the surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, will perform, but they issued statements supporting the project, as did 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 Oct. 3, 2003. 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.

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