Just announced: A new Cirque show, entitled Banana Schpeel: A New Twist on Vaudeville, will premiere at The Chicago Theatre November 19 – January 3 before moving to New York. Tickets are now available via cirquedusoleil.com or thechicagotheatre.com.
I’ve never seen a Cirque show, and can’t wait to check this one out. It looks amazing. Press release follows below, and track the show’s creation here.
CIRQUE DU SOLEIL UNVEILS A BRAND NEW THEATRICAL PRODUCTION
Written and Directed by David Shiner
First-ever performances exclusively at The Chicago Theatre
from November 19 – January 3
Tickets on sale now for all Chicago performances
Chicago, September 9, 2009 – Cirque du Soleil and MSG Entertainment unveiled today the brand new theatrical production, Banana Shpeel, at The Chicago Theatre. The show will perform for the first time ever at the theatre for a limited engagement from November 19, 2009 through January 3, 2010. Following Chicago, the show will premiere in New York at The Beacon Theatre in February 2010.
Banana Shpeel is a roller-coaster mix of styles that blends comedy with tap, hip hop, eccentric dance and slapstick, all linked by a narrative that ignites a succession of wacky adventures. This is not circus, or a musical or a variety show, or even vaudeville. It is Banana Shpeel!
Propelled by crazy humor and intense choreography, Banana Shpeel plunges us into the world of Schmelky, a cruel and irritable producer who dangles fame and fortune in front of Emmett, an innocent and romantic actor who has come to audition for him. Emmett soon finds himself trapped in a flamboyant, anarchic world where Schmelky sows terror and reigns supreme. Emmett falls in love with the beautiful Katie and meets a bunch of absurd characters, including the strange Banana Man. But who is this mysterious Banana Man and how can Emmett escape the clutches of Schmelky and his henchmen?
The Writer and Director
Banana Shpeel writer and director David Shiner started out as a mime in Paris. His career took off in 1984 when he was discovered at the renowned circus festival Cirque de Demain. Shiner later teamed up with Bill Irwin to create the wordless two-man show Fool Moon, which played from 1992 to 1999, including three Broadway runs. Fool Moon picked up numerous prizes, including a Tony Award, Drama Desk Award and an Outer Critics Circle Award. In 2007, Shiner directed his first Cirque du Soleil production, the big top touring show KOOZA.
Cirque du Soleil has called on the talents of diverse creators, including several who are working with the company for the first time:
The Creative Team:
Guy Laliberté – Artistic Guide
Gilles Ste-Croix – Artistic Guide
David Shiner – Writer and Director
Serge Roy – Director of Creation
Jean-François Côté – Composer and Musical Director
Jared Grimes – Choreographer
Dominique Lemieux – Costume Designer
Patricia Ruel – Set Designer and Props Co-Designer
Jasmine Catudal – Props Co-Designer
Bruno Rafie – Lighting Designer
Harvey Robitaille – Sound Designer
Eleni Uranis – Make-up Designer
Stefan Haves – Comic Act Designer
Tickets are available now for all performances and can be purchased at cirquedusoleil.com or thechicagotheatre.com. Regular ticket prices range from $23 to $98, with limited Premium and Tapis Rouge VIP Experience tickets also available.
Cirque du Soleil
Cirque du Soleil celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2009. From a group of 20 street performers at its beginnings in 1984, Cirque du Soleil is a major Quebec-based organization providing high-quality artistic entertainment. The company has more than 4,000 employees from over 40 different countries, including 1,000 performing artists.
Cirque du Soleil has brought wonder and delight to almost 90 million spectators in over 200 cities on five continents. In 2009, Cirque will present 20 shows simultaneously throughout the world. Cirque du Soleil International Headquarters are in Montreal, Canada.
For more information about Cirque du Soleil, visit http://www.cirquedusoleil.com.
To find out more about the One Drop Foundation, visit http://www.onedrop.org.
MSG Entertainment (MSGE), the live entertainment arm of Cablevision Systems Corporations, is a worldwide entertainment company recognized for its signature combination of event production and entertainment marketing. In addition to the nearly 700 entertainment concerts and events that take place each year at Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden, The WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden, The Beacon Theatre and The Chicago Theatre. MSGE has an exclusive co-booking agreement with Boston’s Citi Performing Arts Center/ Wang Theatre. MSG Entertainment’s live events include The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, which includes the national arena tour and the theatrical tour and has played to more than 42 different cities across North America. Additionally, MSGE has an ongoing partnership with Cirque du Soleil to create new content and productions for its venues. Wintuk, which premiered in 2007, was built exclusively for the WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden and runs every holiday season. More than six million people attend MSG Entertainment branded events annually including concerts, special events, and family attractions.
For more information about The Chicago Theatre, visit http://www.thechicagotheatre.com
12 thoughts on “New Cirque du Soleil show to debut in Chicago!”
I, too, am excited to see how Cirque takes on Vaudeville. And the title is made of win.
And — that’s Anneleigh Ashford at the top from Legally Blonde. More win!
I saw my first Cirque show, Alegria, in July and had fun, (thrills, chills, etc.) even though I don’t think a coherent narrative is their strong suit. But this one does sound interesting. Can’t wait to hear what you think!
[…] Shpeel on “America’s Got Talent.” As I posted here last month, a new Cirque show, entitled Banana Schpeel: A New Twist on Vaudeville, will premiere at The […]
That’s what I love about Cirque du Soleil – they always have something fresh, new, and different. If only the tickets are less expensive, I will be going for sure.
Not to worry Heather. I found a link that is giving you a chance to win tickets. Enter your tweet on their site, and your entered. That’s it! Here it is: http://www.dailyshpeel.com/enter-to-win
This was the worst theatrical performance I have witnessed in my entire life. Cirque has finally produced a flop…..I wouldn’t go again if it were free. It’s a SAD day in Chicago !!
Banana Shpeel stole Cirque Du Soleil’s name….By far a genius marketing scheme….however, it wasn’t funny, wasn’t original, wasn’t artistic, wasn’t anything but a waste of $175 bucks and 2 hours of my life. Should be ashamed to have the Cirque Du Soleil’s name attached to it……
As I entered the illustrious Chicago Theatre on November 18, 2009, I certainly had high expectations for Banana Spheel, a new twist on Vaudeville, Cirque du Soleil’s newest production. Cirque du Soleil, a contemporary circus known for its stunning acrobatics and awe-inspiring entertainment. However, Banana Spheel is not a circus. It is not intended to be the usual circus act, but something totally different- “a roller-coaster mix of styles that blends comedy with tap, hip hop, eccentric dance and slapstick, all linked by a hilarious narrative that ignites a succession of wacky adventures”, as the program describes it.
How was that possible?
That was the question on my mind trying to find my seat in the theatre, carrying a box of popcorn and a bottle of water I bought from a concession stand. The theatre was crowded; the curtains were closed. This had already set an atmosphere of excitement for what was to come. It felt like waiting for a musical, but I was eating popcorn, which was a symbol of a circus.
The whole show was constructed as a story. Schmelky, a cruel and irritable producer is recruiting people to perform in his show. He has two assistants who are always being outwitted by three clowns who ruin the show.
Banana Spheel opened its curtains to reveal two clowns, dressed in bright green suits. Their exaggerated expressions and humorous antics told the audience that this show was going to be cheery and fun. They had on heavy make-up which totally transformed their faces, giving them the personalities of their characters.
The first dance seemed to be a mix of jazz and hip-hop. There was about ten female dancers and five male dancers. Some of them stood on the stairs which lit up. The lighting was bright and frequently changed colors. The costumes were shiny shiny shiny with dramatic colorful headpieces. The music was fast and exciting, with a solid beat to it. A small group of musicians played behind the dancing. It made me want to dance along; the dancers seemed to be having so much fun. During this dance, I recognized the Charleston. They shimmied their hands and swung their arms and legs.
Banana Spheel also showcased multiple tap dances. Those were my favorite out of all the dances. The dancers clanked their feet so rhythmically it was as if they were making music with their feet. A lead male and female were singled out and danced together. Their taps were so loud and clear that is was hesitant to believe that it really was them and not the musicians behind them that were creating the sound.
One of the most interesting performances came after the intermission. The lights had dimmed and everyone was scurrying back to their seats. All of a sudden, streaks of glowing light started twisting to a futuristic hum. Looking closely, I saw that the streaks were dancers wearing glow-in-the-dark costumes moving around the platform. They twisted their bodies in weird shapes. And then- BAM! – The lights were back on and everyone started dancing. The dance was similar to the dance in the beginning.
Nearing the end, there is one act which involves acrobatics, yet when I watched it, I felt that the performer had to have some sort of dance experience. This act consisted of a female artist who twirled disks with her arms, legs, and even her head. I think that that performance was very artistic. It was not just a show of skill, but using that skill to make art. Each position and transition was fluid and graceful. Her posture was very nice also. Her costume reminded me of a pink tutu- it was frilly and delicate. The lighting and scene were pink too. There were three fan dancers in the backdrop. To me, it felt like an elegant ballet. This showed me that dance and skill can be combined.
The finale was very grand. All the dancers and other performers stepped onto the stage and did a small part of their act. Even the clowns were dancing too. Their movements were wacky and loose, but really fun. I was satisfied since it actually felt like the whole show had ended. I was surprised to see that the cast was not as large as I expected. All of the dancers had taken part in multiple dances, so there actually weren’t that many. The dancers must have been very talented to be able to dance all those types of dance fluently.
Overall, Banana Spheel was certainly one-of-a-kind. David Shiner had done a good job at this. Annaleigh Ashford (Glinda from Wicked) and Michael Longoria, the two leads of the show, had left the cast. Shiner needed to change the plot of the story to adapt to the changes. Even so, Banana Spheel was still funny, interesting, and dramatic. I would recommend it to others.
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We have introduced some new exiting features in our perfomance which includs limo,dancing under burning pole,rope skiping,body pyramids,chinese ring and more precarious gymnasics.
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