Criss Angel Believe

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Criss Angel: Believe
CompanyCirque du Soleil
GenreContemporary circus
Show typeResident show
Date of premiereOctober 31, 2008
LocationLuxor hotel, Las Vegas
Creative team
Co-writer and starCriss Angel
Director and co-writerSerge Denoncourt
Director of creationPierre Phaneuf
Associate director of creationChristiane Barette
Set designerRay Winkler
Costume designerMérédith Caron
ComposerEric Serra
ChoreographerWade Robson
Lighting designerJeanette Farmer
Sound designerJonathan Deans
Projections designerFrancis Laporte
Acrobatic equipment/riggingJaque Paquin
Acrobatic act designerAndré Simard
Props and puppetsMichael Curry
Makeup designerNathalie Gagné
Other information
Preceded byZed (2008)
Succeeded byOvo (2009)
Official website
 
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Criss Angel: Believe
CompanyCirque du Soleil
GenreContemporary circus
Show typeResident show
Date of premiereOctober 31, 2008
LocationLuxor hotel, Las Vegas
Creative team
Co-writer and starCriss Angel
Director and co-writerSerge Denoncourt
Director of creationPierre Phaneuf
Associate director of creationChristiane Barette
Set designerRay Winkler
Costume designerMérédith Caron
ComposerEric Serra
ChoreographerWade Robson
Lighting designerJeanette Farmer
Sound designerJonathan Deans
Projections designerFrancis Laporte
Acrobatic equipment/riggingJaque Paquin
Acrobatic act designerAndré Simard
Props and puppetsMichael Curry
Makeup designerNathalie Gagné
Other information
Preceded byZed (2008)
Succeeded byOvo (2009)
Official website

Criss Angel Believe (also written CRISS ANGEL Believe or Criss Angel: Believe) is a 2008 theatrical production of Cirque du Soleil and magician Criss Angel at the Luxor hotel in Las Vegas, scheduled for 4,600 performances in the 1,600-capacity theater; the show is scheduled for a 10-year run, with an option for a five-year extension. Angel is billed as "co-writer, illusions creator and designer, original concept creator and star."[1]

Believe is the sixth Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas, following Mystère (1993–present), O (1998–present), Zumanity (2003–present), (2005–present) and Love (2006–present).

History[edit]

Angel claimed[where?] to have been developing aspects of the show for over 15 years. He originally tried to develop the show for a Broadway run, as well as other casinos, but nothing came to fruition. Eventually, Believe came together when he entered a partnership with Cirque du Soleil and the Luxor's parent company, MGM Mirage Resorts, which financed the show with $100 million. The partnership marked the first time Cirque built a show around an individual performer.[1][2]

After the failure of the musical Hairspray at Luxor, MGM Mirage signed with Cirque to install a new show for the theater by 2008, the sixth Cirque show on The Strip.[3] That show became the partnership with Angel, which was formally announced on March 22, 2008, in a press conference with MGM Mirage and Cirque executives, and Angel that included an awkward speech by the latter.[2][4][5] The title was announced in a press release on April 17.[6] During this period, Angel received bad press from incidents during the Miss USA 2008 contest. After his then-girlfriend, Miss Nevada, was eliminated, Angel was filmed on NBC giving the finger; afterward he threatened Las Vegas Review-Journal gossip columnist Norm Clarke over negative press regarding his actions earlier in the competition: Angel told Clarke, who had an eye removed and wears an eyepatch, "Don't ever write another word about me, or you'll need an eyepatch over your other eye."[1][7][8] Angel refused to apologize and later denied the incident ever occurred, despite an assertions from several including the Review-Journal's publisher.[1][8][9][10][11][12]

Angel described the show as "[A]bout my life. It's Alice in Wonderland. It's The Wizard of Oz. Mindfreak. It's about the demons in my head, the good that's out there, the angels and love and lust—all that stuff mixed up."[1] Cirque selected Serge Denoncourt as director and co-writer, a somewhat counterintuitive selection since he explicitly disliked magic. Denoncourt stated that he was "trying to direct a show for people who love it but also for people like me who hate magic."[1]

Originally planned for a summer 2008 opening, more than $5 million in advance tickets were sold.[1] After several delays, the show had was set for a gala opening on October 31, 2008 with preview shows in late September.[13][14][15]

Reception[edit]

The initial preview performance was not received well; audience reactions were thoroughly negative.[16][17] The show opened to equally harsh reviews, citing a lack of the magic Angel is known for as well as a confusing and uninteresting theme; reviewers felt neither Angel nor Cirque du Soleil were able to perform their capabilities.[18][19][20][21] By December 17, two months into the show's run, the Luxor was offering a 40% discount on show tickets.[22] In lieu of quotes from theater critics, by January 2009 the Believe website used positive critical quotes from selected celebrities, including Angel's then-girlfriend, Holly Madison.[23]

Perez Hilton[edit]

After Cirque du Soleil spent some months altering the ongoing show, blogger and television personality Perez Hilton attended a Friday, April 17, 2009 performance. During the show, Hilton used his Twitter account to message over half a million of his subscribers "We are 20 minutes in and Criss Angel's Vegas show, Believe, is unbelievably BAD!", as well as other criticism.[24] As the show was ending, Angel singled out Hilton, had him stand up, and declared to the audience that "We have the world's biggest douchebag asshole in the house!"[25] To which Hilton replied "Thanks for the free tickets."[25] Hilton, who was a fan of Cirque du Soleil's other Vegas shows, later noted that "until 'Believe,' Cirque has had an incredible track record of excellence. I have seen all of their Vegas shows and loved them all."[25]

In the aftermath of the incident, Cirque du Soleil, but not Angel, issued an apology to Hilton, as well as anyone else present in the family-oriented show. Speaking also on behalf of hotel owner MGM Mirage, Cirque du Soleil called Angel's remarks "inappropriate and disrespectful", noting that "Cirque du Soleil does not condone disrespectful behavior towards any audience member at any time. Cirque management will address such behavior privately with any of its artists to ensure it will not happen again."[26] The Vegas media reaction was strongly against Angel, who was viewed as having broken a major taboo among casino employees in the largely tourist economy by insulting a guest, notably during an economic downturn.[27][28]

Additional illusions added[edit]

After many reviews cited the disappointing lack of magic in the show, it was revealed in April 2010 that over thirty new illusions were planned to be added to the performance and would be rolled out by the end of May 2010.[18][29] This enhancement was to raise the number of illusions to twice the amount of any show then on the Las Vegas Strip.[29] The new illusions marked the second time the show had had significant modifications and fixes made, the first being changes from Cirque du Soleil approximately one year prior in April 2009.[24]

Cast[edit]

Acts[edit]

The following is a run down of the production prior to May 2010, most of these elements no longer exist in the current version of the show. Those still present in the show are noted:

Before the show opens, the Ushers come out and interact with the audience; most notable are Maestro's simple magic tricks and his obvious desire to be Criss.

Costumes[edit]

Mérédith Caron, costume designer, drew much inspiration from the 17th and 18th centuries, including the Victorian era. The fabrics chosen reflected the themes of desire, seduction, and dreams. The many materials for the characters include linen, cotton netting, crushed velvet, jute, hemp, and crinyl. As an example, Kayala wears a bodice of black crinyl and organza train which is highly influenced by 18th-century decadence. The dolls, on the other hand, are inspired by 17th-century paintings and enlarged paisley patterns. Crimson is seen wearing a costume made of leather and "Mirror of Holland" linen. Her costume's skin effect was created by using two layers of linen covered by black netting which was slashed and sewn back together to give the impression of scars.[30]

Music[edit]

The official soundtrack for the show, by French composer Eric Serra, was released in late November 2010 exclusively through Cirque du Soleil's web store; the soundtrack can also be purchased at the official Believe store. The soundtrack is composed of the songs from the original variation of the show, with track listing as follows:

  1. Homage to the Rabbits
  2. The Life Factory
  3. Sexy Pet
  4. Flying with the Birds
  5. Kayala and the Poppies
  6. Sympathy for Crimson
  7. The Magic Door
  8. The Cockroach Dance
  9. In and Out of the Dream
  10. Shadows and Whispers
  11. Being Houdini I
  12. Being Houdini II
  13. Prewed
  14. Blow Me a Tornado
  15. She is Gone to the Sky
  16. The Magic Wedding

The song "Sexy Pet" also appears on the two-disc 25 compilation soundtrack.

References[edit]

Coordinates: 36°5′43.67″N 115°10′32.94″W / 36.0954639°N 115.1758167°W / 36.0954639; -115.1758167

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Lee, Chris (October 12, 2008). "Criss Angel believes that you will too]". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 4, 2008. 
  2. ^ a b Abowitz, Richard (March 23, 2008). "Pressed Together: Criss Angel and Cirque and Luxor". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 4, 2008. 
  3. ^ Richard Abowitz, Criss Angel's Vegas Magic, LATimes.com, March 20, 2008, Accessed November 4, 2008.
  4. ^ Norm Clarke, NORM: Puck menu caters to animal lovers, Las Vegas Review-Journal, March 23, 2008, Accessed November 4, 2008.
  5. ^ Richard Abowitz, Angel's illusion of corporate bonding, LATimes.com, June 15, 2008, Accessed November 4, 2008.
  6. ^ Richard Abowitz, Cirque announces Criss Angel's Believe, LATimes.com, April 17, 2008, Accessed November 4, 2008.
  7. ^ Norm Clarke, NORM: So, that's why it's titled 'Mindfreak', Las Vegas Review-Journal, April 13, 2008, Accessed November 4, 2008.
  8. ^ a b Richard Abowitz, Criss Angel freaks on one-eyed journalist after Miss USA pageant, LATimes.com, April 14, 2008, Accessed November 4, 2008.
  9. ^ Richard Abowitz, Criss Angel ignores chance to retract threat, LATimes.com, April 15, 2008, Accessed November 4, 2008.
  10. ^ Sherman Frederick, Threats from Criss Angel, Las Vegas Review-Journal Blogs, April 18, 2008, Accessed November 4, 2008.
  11. ^ Richard Abowitz, Local scribe predicts problems for Cirque over Criss Angel, LATimes.com, April 24, 2008, Accessed November 4, 2008.
  12. ^ Steve Friess, Criss Angel: I Didn't Threaten Norm, Vegas Happens Here, May 19, 2008, Accessed November 4, 2008.
  13. ^ Richard Abowitz, Cirque and Angel's 'Believe' delayed, LATimes.com, June 30, 2008, Accessed November 4, 2008.
  14. ^ Richard Abowitz, Previews of Criss Angel's 'Believe' delayed again, LATimes.com, September 2, 2008, Accessed November 4, 2008.
  15. ^ Richard Abowitz, Breaking news: More delays for Angel's 'Believe', LATimes.com, September 13, 2008, Accessed November 4, 2008.
  16. ^ Richard Abowitz, Sneak peak [sic] at Criss Angel's 'Believe', LATimes.com, September 29, 2008, Accessed November 4, 2008.
  17. ^ Doug Elfman, Angel's 'Believe' magic: Miffed fans disappear, Las Vegas Review-Journal, September 29, 2008, Accessed November 4, 2008.
  18. ^ a b Richard Abowitz, Criss Angel's 'Believe' hard to believe, LATimes.com, October 31, 2008, Accessed November 4, 2008.
  19. ^ Joe Brown, Illusion is elusive in Angel’s ‘Believe’, Los Angeles Times, November 1, 2008, Accessed November 4, 2008.
  20. ^ Doug Elfman, New Criss Angel show is unbelievably bad, sad, Las Vegas Review-Journal, November 3, 2008, Accessed November 4, 2008.
  21. ^ Reed Johnson, Criss Angel, in a word: unbelievable, Los Angeles Times, November 3, 2008, Accessed November 4, 2008.
  22. ^ Richard Abowitz, Enter the Discount, LATimes.com, December 19, 2008, Accessed December 20, 2008.
  23. ^ Richard Abowitz, "Criss Angel Believe" has a fan , LATimes.com, January 6, 2009, Accessed January 7, 2009.
  24. ^ a b Richard Abowitz, Perez Hilton's excellent Vegas adventure, from Criss Angel to Miss USA, LATimes.com, April 20, 2009, Accessed April 22, 2009.
  25. ^ a b c Norm Clarke, NORM: Coarse shout-out stirs up Tweeters, Las Vegas Review-Journal, April 19, 2009, Accessed April 22, 2009.
  26. ^ Richard Abowitz, Perez Hiton gets apology from Cirque; Angel remains silent, LATimes.com, April 20, 2009, Accessed April 22, 2009.
  27. ^ Norm Clarke, NORM: The devil to pay for Angel tantrum, Las Vegas Review-Journal, April 19, 2009, Accessed April 20, 2009.
  28. ^ John Katsilometes, Cirque, Vegas no longer need Criss Angel’s ready-shoot-aim act, Las Vegas Sun, April 21, 2009, Accessed April 22, 2009.
  29. ^ a b Robin Leach, Criss Angel’s $25 million castle home, Grand Canyon stunt on Mindfreak, Las Vegas Weekly, March 29, 2010, Accessed April 15, 2010.
  30. ^ Clément, Ronald (2009). Cirque du Soleil 25 Years of Costumes (in CN, EN, FR, JP). Canada: Dépôt légal, Bibliothèque et Archives Canada. pp. 132–137. ISBN 978-2-9803493-4-8. 

External links[edit]