NYC Theater Review: 'Zarkana' is Cirque du Soleil's Latest, Outrageous Hit
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The acts presented (gorgeously, despite the daredevil aspect that often results in hand-squeezing and breath-holding from members of the audience) range from the familiar (Trapeze), to the unique (Sand Painting), to the unfathomable (Russian Bar, Wheel of Death, Human Pyramids), to the whimsical (in a vignette called "Outer Space," a clown ends up light years from Earth on the "Jovian Planet"). There's even an act referred to as Ladders, in which a number of ladders are placed one atop the other, looming high into the rafters.
And, like all Cirque du Soleil productions, Zarkana shines as a vivid, festive, somewhat mystical but always enthralling theatrical experience - one children won't stop talking about and adults will never forget.
Cirque du Soleil's Zarkana plays at Radio City Music Hall (1260 Avenue of the Americas at 50th Street) from June 9 through Labor Day weekend. For tickets call 866-858-0008 or visit www.cirquedusoleil.com.
Cirque du Soleil: A Mini History
From a group of 20 street performers at its beginnings in 1984, Cirque du Soleil (Circus of the Sun) has evolved into a major Quebec-based organization providing high-quality artistic entertainment. The company has 5,000 employees, including more than 1,200 performing artists from close to 50 different countries. In its 27 years of existence, Cirque du Soleil has entertained 100 million people in nearly 300 cities on five continents-including countless children who grew up mesmerized by such shows as Alegria, Kooza, Corteo, Quidam, Mystere, Ovo, ZED, and Wintuk, to name but a few.
- Zarkana's sets, props, and costumes were delivered to New York in 40 53-foot-long 16-wheelers from Orlando's old Amway Arena (where the Orlando Magic played until the new Amway Center opened in 2010). The site was chosen because it was the only space large enough in which to construct the sets and serve as a rehearsal backdrop for the cast. The entire set was disassembled and remounted on the Radio City Music Hall stage.
- Zarkana cast member, juggler Maria Choodu, began performing with Cirque du Soleil at the age of 14.
- Alan Hranitelj, who designed the costumes for Zarkana, is also a haute couture collection designer in Italy.
- Cirque founder and entrepreneur Guy Laliberté, a fan of P.T. Barnum and an inveterate poker player, recently returned from an 11-day space tourist orbit aboard Russia's Soyuz craft. His talents include the accordion, stilt walking, and fire eating.
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