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Cirque official on closing of ‘The Beatles Love’: ‘It wasn’t our decision’

Updated April 9, 2024 - 6:04 pm

The Hard Rock Las Vegas will rock without the Beatles.

“The Beatles Love” by Cirque du Soleil is closing at The Mirage/Hard Rock Las Vegas on July 7. Producers announced the decision Tuesday morning.

Thus ends the only live production anywhere in the world licensed by Apple Corp, the Beatles’ parent company.

Cirque du Soleil CEO Stéphane Lefebvre said Mirage/Hard Rock Las Vegas officials pulled the plug on the show.

“This wasn’t our decision,” Lefebvre said in a virtual interview Tuesday afternoon, after being asked why the show is closing. “As you you know, Hard Rock needs to take control of the entire venue and do some major renovations. So they need to get the show closed by July 7.”

Lefebvre, based in Montreal and Cirque’s top-ranking official said he found out “late last week” the show would be shut down. He also confirmed there are no plans to tour “Love,” a show that would seem to have strong demand internationally.

“If it has a life beyond this venue, it will need to change the format a little bit. The theater is so unique, it’s a 360-degree stage and very deep,” Lefebvre said “If we want to move it elsewhere, if we look at somewhere in Europe, we need to make some significant changes.”

A total of 230 members of the “Love” cast and crew are to lose their jobs as the result of the shutdown.

‘Love’ problems

The future of “Love” had been in question as The Mirage turns over to Hard Rock Las Vegas. The show was reportedly running between 40- and 60-percent capacity in its 2,013-seat theater. That is the lowest box-office performance of Cirque’s six productions on the Strip.

The loss of “Love” creates a void among Cirque shows in Las Vegas. The company still operates “Mystere” at Treasure Island, “O” at Bellagio, ‘Ka” at MGM Grand, “Michael Jackson One” at Mandalay Bay and “Mad Apple” at New York-New York.

Cirque also owns Blue Man Group at Luxor and is a partner in the outgoing “America’s Got Talent Live — Superstars” show at Luxor.

Lefebvre addressed possible new Cirque projects, saying, MGM Resorts International remains the company’s primary Las Vegas partner, though Cirque is in partnership with Phil Ruffin with its longest-running show, “Mystere” at Treasure Island and is closing out its business relationship with Hard Rock.

“MGM is by far is our strongest and most important partner,” Lefebvre said. “I think first and foremost, before we start looking around at other potential partners, we really want to do something with MGM. Absolutely.”

The MGM portfolio now includes Cosmopolitan, where Spiegelworld’s “OPM” closed earlier this year. Lefebvre said investigating that space, among other smaller-scale opportunities “could be interesting for us, clearly.”

The future of “Love” had been in question as The Mirage turns over to Hard Rock Las Vegas. The show was reportedly running between 40- and 60-percent capacity, the lowest box-office performance of Cirque’s six productions on the Strip.

‘A captivating show’

Mirage President Joe Lupo praised the show, which will have run for about a year and a half under his company’s stewardship of the resort.

“Throughout its historic 18-year run at The Mirage Las Vegas, ‘The Beatles Love’ has been a captivating show that has delighted millions of guests as they shared in the wonder of Cirque du Soleil,” Lupo said in a statement. “I want to share my sincere appreciation to MGM and the entertainment team who ensured that the show’s legacy continued during our ownership transition.”

Lupo also thanked the Cirque performers and team members, adding, “The closure marks the continued construction that directly impacts daily offerings, as we continue the process of transforming our property into the Strip’s newest icon.”

When “Love” bows out, Cirque will have closed three shows in a little more than four years. “R.U.N” at Luxor came and went in five months ending in March 2020. “Zumanity” at New York-New York did not return after the pandemic shutdown, closing permanently in November 2020. “Mad Apple” replaced “Zumanity” in the same theater in May 2022.

‘Love’ history

The decision ends a wondrous production that opened in June 2006, with Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison — the widow of George Harrison — in attendance. McCartney and Harrison scouted “O” at Bellagio together in 2001 to gauge how The Beatles’ music and images could blend with Cirque artistry.

Harrison was a close friend of Cirque co-founder Guy Laliberte, with the idea from the show hatched between the two at the F1 Montreal Grand Prix in 2000. With Harrison leading the initial vision for the show, Laliberte steered the production to creation at the Mirage.

The Love Theatre took over the former Siegfried & Roy Theater at the resort.

According to Cirque figures, a total of 44 nationalities are represented. The show required 11,600 costume pieces, 250 pairs of shoes, and 225 wigs each night. A total of 750,000 lumens in projections, 500 props and scenic pieces were required to put on the show.

Upcoming moves

The closing of “Love” is not the only shift in the entertainment landscape at The Mirage. Current Mirage Theater headliner Shin Lim is also the focus of speculation he will be leaving the resort this summer. Several interested parties are reportedly attempting to lure the headlining magician.

The Mirage Theater’s former Aces of Comedy program, developed under MGM Resorts, ended with the hotel’s sale to Hard Rock. Several familiar headliners (including David Spade, Ron White and Ray Romano) moving to other venues on the Strip.

The Center Stage series is holding down the comedy programming in the short term, alternating showtimes with Lim. His post-Mirage plans should be announced soon.

Meantime, “Love” will fade out after playing to more than 11.5 million ticket-holders in its 18-year run. Every performance closes with “All You Need Is Love.” That is how we will remember this show.

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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