FYI Vol. VII – No. 3

News from Cirque du Soleil

A New York Times article detailing the enormous expense the producers and theater owners incurred making Broadway’s Lyric Theater available and hospitable to the incoming production of the two part Harry Potter show reveals an interesting and heretofore unacknowledged fact about the theater’s previous tenant, Cirque du Soleil’s Paramour.  The Ambassador Theater  Group which controls the Lyrics paid $23 million to Cirque du Soleil to vacate the theater early.

According to standard Broadway theater contracts there is a specific point at which a production can be forced to close.  That point is usually reached when the production’s revenue or attendance has fallen below a certain point.  So if the theater owners had to pay CDS to leave that means the show was earning something above its weekly  break even point.  In which case the show  cannot fairly be termed either a hit or a flop.  It was still showing a profit, and the $23 million surely helped pay off a huge portion of the show’s initial production costs.

On Friday, April 20, Cirque du Soleil, concluded its performance of Volta at the New Jersey Meadowlands Sports Complex with a tribute and memorial to Yann Arnaud who fell to his death recently while performing  in the show in Tampa.  The entire cast joined the audience as photographs of Arnaud were lowered into place around a white floral tribute.  Arnaud’s rigging was then dropped into place and the cast gathered around it for a deeply emotional moment of silence.

Parallel Exit Stages Latest Production

One of the photo galleries included in this issue contains Maike Schulz’s images of the latest production staged by Parallel Exit, the physical theater company of which Mark Lonergan the continuing director of the Big Apple Circus is a founder and contributing member.  The show is titled The Final Reel. It was inspired by the iconic films Sherlock Jr and The Purple Rose of Cairo. In it an eccentric historian discovers the holy grail of silent films–the final reel of a forgotten classic thought to be lost to history. As he presents the film for the first time in a hundred years, his bumbling assistant accidentally steps into the movie and falls in love with the heroine. The two-love birds step back into the modern world and the heroine is left to make a fateful decision.

Credits: Concept by Mike Dobson, Joel Jeske, Mark Lonergan, and Scott McCord; Directed by Mark Lonergan; Scenic and Lighting Design by Maruti Evans; Costume Design by Oana Botez; Projection Design by Daniel Vatsky; Original Musical Score composed and performed by Ben Model; Production Stage Management by Angela Perez.

Performed by Darien Crago, Shereen Hickman, Peter Michael Marino, Harold Moeller, and Scott McCord

An Overdue Tribute Finally Put in Place

On this past Easter Monday, the UK’s Chris Barltrop unveiled a commemorative plaque to Philip and Patty Astley, Easter Monday being the exact 250th Anniversary of Astley’s first public performances, acknowledged as the birth of the modern circus.  The plaque has been erected at what was then a field known as Halfpenny Hatch.  The land-owner charged a half penny to take a short-cut across his land, and this was a popular and populous short-cut.   Barltrop says it was a great thrill to be on the exact spot on the exact anniversary!

It has been some thirty years since Barltrop was first able to identify the precise location of Halfpenny Hatch. “I am delighted that the local community responded enthusiastically when I approached them,” he says.  The plaque was their initiative, and was designed and put up at their expense as a permanent feature.

Barltrop has also written a one-man play Audacious Mr Astley in which Philip Astley tells his own story.  It was  premiered on Easter Monday, and Barltrop says he is ready to perform it at any time, anywhere.   For more information, please look at his website


Clown Workshop Exclusively for Women

Come and unleash your inner Delightmaker. Find the foolish freedom, open heart and physical vitality of the clown.  Leap tall buildings in a single bound! And Laugh ’til you pee.

Or so says the press release from Kendall Cornell  who will head the workshop, a two day affair for clowns, actors, performers and all adventurous women and woman-identifying.  The workshop will explore play, spontaneity, imagination, physical improvisation, dynamic relationship with the audience, character & clown psychology, comic timing, the joyful truth of failure and more (like leaping tall buildings in a single bound).

Why just womenfolk?  Come and find out! Saturday, May 19th  12-4 pm and Sunday, May 20th,  12-5 pm at TheaterLab on West 36th Street in Manhattan. Cost: $180 For more info or to register: or (646) 729-1188