By: Sandi Durell
Cirque du Soleil has gone Broadway – big and bold, even the playbill! The circus aspect isn’t in-your-face but peppered throughout a Hollywood theme flashback “The Golden Age of Hollywood,” featuring Broadway’s Jeremy Kushnier (Footloose, Rent) as AJ Golden, a hyper director-power broker, ready to make mush-meat of anyone who stands in his way. He has discovered his new star Indigo (debut for Ruby Lewis of the big voice) who is in love with her composer boyfriend/pianist Joey (Ryan Vona –Once) as a love triangle unfolds between the three.
As the movie scenes roll out (or film as AJ prefers them called) – Egyptian, a western Calamity Jane – what you see are some top dance production numbers, choreographed by Daphne Mauger – particularly a creative Filmstrip number that unfolds with unique timing – outstanding colorful costume designs (by Philippe Guillotel) and great expansive sets (by Jean Rabasse).
The impressive aerial strap artists, wonder twins Andrew & Kevin Atherton, come flying over the audience to everyone’s delight; the springboard acrobats and lamplight pole artists amaze with their strength and control; they’re all sprinkled in and through the you-gotta-have-a- theme production. Highly impressive is Act II’s New York City Rooftops trampoline fight scene (reminded me of “The Rumble” in West Side Story). Thank acrobatic designer Shana Carroll.
The music, composed by Bob & Bill, Guy Dubuc and Marc Lessard, with lyrics by Andreas Carlsson (also co-composer), is easy on the ears and a shout-out to Indigo and Joey’s love theme ‘Everything” (Act II) which is graceful and poignant.
And if you wonder how that magic carpet flies in “Aladdin,” you’ll experience the same awe watching flying chandeliers.
So what’s the beef? Why the put down on a new entry to the Broadway scene? There surely have been much shoddier, circus-like productions better received in the critical world of Broadway. If you want to gauge by audience reaction, I’d say they had a great time. This is a spectacular spectacle, fun for all ages, at a big price – – $25 million.
The open run at The Lyric Theatre on West 42 Street is the brainchild of Jean-Francois Bouchard and Philippe Decoufle. www.paramouronbroadway.com