Cirque du Soleil Gears Up for a One-Off Extravaganza

The performance benefits Guy Laliberté's water access foundation One Drop

When Guy Laliberté puts on charity benefits, he doesn’t go small. Witness the million-dollar buy-in Big One for One Drop event he hosted at last year’s World Series of Poker that sent $111,111 to his One Drop Foundation. Now there’s going to be a one-night-only Cirque du Soleil performance for Laliberté’s water-access charity, One Night for One Drop on March 22. And doctor, it’s going to raise some serious dough, with tickets starting at $1,500 and going up to $250,000 for certain limited VIP packages.

When the curtain lifts at the O Theatre, it will be on Krista Monson’s production that draws performers from all seven local Cirque shows and tells the story of a young man on a journey of self-discovery. We caught up with Monson at a rehearsal for the performance—it appears that it’ll involve lots of twirling over the audience.

When you first drew this assignment, what was your reaction?

“Oh my God.” On the one hand my passions and my energy are always strong and I want to jump in, but this is a big mandate. We had to couple the entertainment quality, the artistic expression, the “wow” factor we want to deliver, with our resonating message.

What were the challenges of merging seven shows?

There are obviously logistics. Each of our shows in Vegas have a different weekend. So we cannot take for granted people’s availability. At the same time we wanted to make the opportunity equal for everyone to participate. And all of the artists are working until midnight, so we cannot have a 9-to-5 rehearsal schedule. … We have to be patient and trusting in everybody’s innate ability. The talent level is enormous. So that’s what it is—it’s pushing everyone and submitting to the schedules and really trusting that we move forward. And we are.

What were you looking for from performers and acts?

I wrote a concept with some creative partners. We knew it was going to be big. Big in terms of scope, big in terms of number of artists participating and creative team, but we wanted to make it true to the vision. After that writing and conceptualization phase, we started envisioning how that concept could be translated into acts.

How many different acts are going to be in the final production?

I believe 18. It helped that I was the casting director for all our resident shows before I came with this mandate. So I was familiar with not only what everyone does on a nightly basis at their own shows, but many, many of them have hidden talents, things they were working at on the side. We were all able to tap into those dimensions.

Has the show morphed from its original concept?

I would say we have not strayed from our original concept, but with every person, whether it’s a composer, an artist, a set designer, a props designer, they are not only executing a vision, but they are fueling it. It’s so gratifying to see that happen.

One Night for One Drop, O Theatre at Bellagio, 7:30 p.m. March 22, $150, tickets with admission to post-party $2,500 and up,

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