Cirque du Soleil Confirms 2010 Tour Stop in Great Park

characters_trickster.jpg
Photo courtesy of Cirque du Soleil
"The Trickster" of Cirque du Soleil's "Kooza."
There's not much to the park yet, but the Orange County Great Park in Irvine has been confirmed as a 2010 tour stop for the freaky French-Canadian circus Cirque du Soleil, OCGP chairman Larry Agran announced today.

Montreal-based Cirque's new show Kooza--which made its U.S. premiere in New York last month and is set to open Oct. 16 on the Santa Monica Pier--is scheduled to begin its Orange County limited engagement Jan. 7, 2010, under the familiar blue and yellow tents to be erected in the Great Park.

"We are honored the internationally acclaimed Cirque du Soleil has selected the Orange County Great Park to be an official site location of Cirque du Soleil's big top touring shows," Agran says in an OCGP press statement. "This marks another milestone toward making the Great Park Orange County's premier destination location and entertainment venue."
The Kooza trailer is above. Cirque describes the show thusly:

KOOZA tells the story of The Innocent, a melancholy loner in search of his place in the world.

KOOZA is a return to the origins of Cirque du Soleil: It combines two circus traditions-acrobatic performance and the art of clowning. The show highlights the physical demands of human performance in all its splendor and fragility, presented in a colorful mélange that emphasizes bold slapstick humor.

The Innocent's journey brings him into contact with a panoply of comic characters such as the King, the Trickster, the Pickpocket, and the Obnoxious Tourist and his Bad Dog.

Between strength and fragility, laughter and smiles, turmoil and harmony, KOOZA explores themes of fear, identity, recognition and power. The show is set in an electrifying and exotic visual world full of surprises, thrills, chills, audacity and total involvement.

Cirque du Soleil, which performs in more than 200 cities on five continents in this, its 25th Anniversary year, has previously brought touring shows to South Coast Plaza and the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa.

"Cirque du Soleil brings a global distinction to the Great Park," OCGP director and Irvine Mayor Sukhee Kang says in the same release that quotes Agran. "As we unveil each new component of this great metropolitan park, we feel that we are moving closer and closer to our vision as an unforgettable destination for visitors from all over the world. We look forward to our continued partnership with the Cirque."

John Sciulli©Berliner Studio/BEImages
Cirque du Soleil "Kooza" performers surround Great Park CEO Michael Ellzey.
The Great Park board in November unanimously recommended that the Irvine City Council authorize the board's CEO Michael Ellzey to enter formal negotiations with Cirque to bring its winter 2010 touring production to the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station base.

Ellzey told directors the success of the Great Park's summer 2008 entertainment programming, which the city claims drew 35,000 visitors, somehow reached Montreal as Cirque officials contacted him about the possibility of the park serving as host for the 2010 show.

As the city and international troupe get to know each other over the inaugural run, it is likely negotiations will open for future Cirque tours landing at the Great Park. Ellzey talked of Cirque becoming a biannual attraction at the November meeting.

Now that the bid has been accepted, it should speed up work for more parking, permanent plumbing and other infrastructure needs on the grounds.

Founded by street performers in 1984, Cirque du Soleil is now a worldwide entertainment brand with touring shows all over the planet, new productions being cranked out and staged initially in Montreal nearly year round and permanent extravaganzas in Tokyo, Las Vegas, Orlando, Florida, and Macau, China. Unlike circuses of the past two centuries, Cirque uses no live animals, instead employing freakishly costumed clowns, dancers and acrobats from around the world, many of whom bend themselves into pretzel-like shapes, to artful lighting, dream-like themes and live, original music.
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