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An ‘O’ celebration: 25 facts on 25th anniversary

“O” turns 25 this weekend. It is not the first Cirque du Soleil residency production on the Strip, following “Mystere’s” opening on Christmas Day 1993. But the critically acclaimed “O” is the company’s undisputed box-office champ and flagship production.

The show’s formal silver anniversary celebration is Sunday night at the Bellagio Theatre. We’ll dive in (as it were) with a list of 25 facts about “O” as it turns the calendar:

25: The show is performed in a 1.5-million-gallon, man-made lake.

24: The stage is 25 feet deep.

23: The production has notched about 11,350 performances.

22: A total of 1,200 costumes and headpieces are used in every performance.

21: The theater is based on a 14th-century European opera house.

20: The show’s name is from “eau,” French for water.

19: During a marketing campaign for “V — The Ultimate Variety Show” at the V Theater at “the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort, producer David Saxe produced a series of videos satirizing Cirque. The clips featured a character named “Eau” and were a spoof of the Mac vs. PC commercials airing at the time.

18: Cast members and the theater are featured in Imagine Dragons’ video for “Sharks,” issued in 2022. As of this week, the video had amassed almost 106 million views.

17: More than 60 technicians and 12 scuba divers work behind the scenes on “O.”

16: Seventy-seven performers are employed by the production.

15: The character engulfed in fire is called L’Allumé, a drifter who seems oblivious to the fact that he has been set aflame.

14: The long-haired characters who appear in nearly every scene are a team of synchronized swimmers known collectively as the Nage.

13: The theater’s Art of Richard MacDonald gallery exhibits more than 100 bronze sculptures, including 20 life-size works, along with original drawings, paintings and limited-edition prints.

12: Air vents under each seat keep the temperature at 72 degrees.

11: Twenty-six underwater speakers are installed in the stage.

10: Musicians play inside glass booths to protect their instruments, some of which are 100 years old.

9: An erhu, a traditional Chinese stringed instrument, can be heard in the “O” soundtrack.

8: Sixty loads of laundry are done each night.

7: All the figures in the four-horse carousel are constructed from fiberglass, with a propeller and steering mechanism to allow artists to navigate through the water.

6: The heaviest prop, the clown house, weighs more than 7,000 pounds.

5: The theater uses 222,956 feet (more than 42 miles) of cable.

4: About 19.1 million tickets have been sold over 25 years, surpassing the 18 million sold by all-time Broadway champ “Phantom of the Opera.”

3: This was the first production ever in Las Vegas to command a $100 ticket price when it opened in 1998 (the joke at the time was, when people saw the ticket price, they went “O!”).

2: The show was an inspiration for Celine Dion’s “A New Day …” Dion and Rene Angelil partnered with “O” writer-director Franco Dragone to create the groundbreaking residency production at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace.

1: In 2001, Paul McCartney and George Harrison visited “O” to scout the production for a Beatles-Cirque show being discussed at the time. That show was, and is, “Love.”

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on X, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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