Cirque du Soleil’s 10 Year Residency at Dolby Theatre to End after 16 Months


Iris, that “extravagant” Cirque du Soleil production that took up roost for a supposed ten year run at the once-Kodak-and-now-Dolby Theatre back in September 2011 has now announced that it will be closing up shop and getting out of Dodge on January 12, 2013.

Reaction from the LA Times is here and here and here and here and here. Don Shirley chimes in on the news here.

Some telling info from one of the articles:

“Iris” opened in September 2011 at an estimated cost of nearly $100 million in production expenses and theater renovation, helped along by a $30-million loan from the city’s Community Development Department to a partnership set up by the CIM Group, which owns the theater and the rest of the Hollywood & Highland Center.

The effect of the show’s closing on Los Angeles was not immediately clear. Top executives at the Community Development Department, the agency that designed the loan, could not be reached. A representative of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who is on a trade mission to South America, was not expected to have any comment until Monday.

A spokesman for City Councilman Eric Garcetti, who had championed the loan three years ago, said his boss was still trying to obtain details on the show’s closure. But he noted that the loan was used to finance upgrades to the Dolby Theatre, formerly known as the Kodak.

As many in the smaller and mid-size Los Angeles Theater Community already know, it ain’t easy producing a successful theater run in Los Angeles whether you have 100 million behind you or 5K. Ask the Colony Theatre who have been around for almost 40 years. Love this quote from the Cirque boss in response to the closing:

Daniel Lamarre, Cirque’s president and chief executive, told The Times shortly before “Iris” opened that “there are 18 million visitors every year walking in front of the theater, but they have nothing to do. So we hope we can capture those clientele, bring them in the seats and make this show last forever.”

Lamarre couldn’t be reached for comment Friday.

Renee-Claude Menard of Cirque said by phone from Montreal that the company spent $50 million to $55 million to produce the show. She said the cost of renovating the theater, reported to be $40 million, was paid by the CIM Group. “We put a huge effort into marketing and overseas marketing, but nothing would tilt the needle,” Menard said. “The L.A. market is not ready for a permanent show.”

Or perhaps we weren’t ready for YOUR permanent show, Renee-Claude.

Classic. Blame the audience and not the product.

Don’t know why I feel the need to gloat about this, maybe it’s just because I found the Cirque du Soleil endeavor to set up shop for a ten year run to be, I dunno, arrogant and unrealistic and I suppose I like it when the arrogant and unrealistic are taken down a peg. I have no problems with big companies setting up big shows and running big runs – in the grand picture it seems that it could only be good for the city as a whole – but these guys just figured, if we build it they will come, without really putting a lot of thought into the climate and ecology that had already been established here and how they might fit into that ecology.

And so they failed.

Oh, also, way back in this article that I wrote – pivoting off of something that Don Shirley wrote – I was hoping these big boys might use their wealth and influence to perhaps also help market the already established theatre community in Los Angeles. They didn’t. I don’t think it had any bearing on them not being able to sell tickets, but it might have. Perhaps by connecting themselves to the organism that was already living and breathing in this city they might have formed a symbiotic relationship that could’ve given them some more tenable roots. Who knows?

We sure don’t, because they never tried.


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Colin Mitchell About the Author: COLIN MITCHELL: Actor/Writer/Director/Producer/Father, award-winning playwright and screenwriter, Broadway veteran, Marvel comics scribe, Van Morrison disciple, Zen-Catholic, a proud U.S. Army Brat conceived in Scotland and born in Frankfurt, Germany, currently living in Los Angeles and doing his best to piss off as many people as possible.

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  1. Kevin Delin Kevin Delin says:

    As William Goldman observed, “Nobody knows anything.”