Rehearsals got underway Monday for Paramour, Cirque du Soleil Theatrical’s first show created specifically for Broadway. The global entertainment giant resolved an intriguing labor issue by negotiating separate deals with Actors Equity Association, which represents actors and stage managers, and the Americn Guild of Variety Artists (AGVA), which represents the circus performers who more typically populate Cirque shows. Scott Zeiger — the Broadway veteran recently signed by the Montreal-based mother ship to head the independent Cirque du Soleil Theatricals — said that the one-time deal will have Paramour‘s 16 actors covered by Equity’s Broadway contract. The remaining 22 company members, an international motley of acrobats, trapeze athletes, tumblers and other circus-arts specialists, will be covered by AGVA. Future Cirque Theatrical shows on Broadway and Broadway bound will be covered by Equity’s Production Contract, according to the union.
The show is slated to begin previews on April 16 and open May 25 at the Lyric Theatre, on West 42nd Street, one of Broadway’s largest houses. The 1,874-seat venue has been through several changes of ownership and was recently purchased by Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire’s London-based Ambassador Theatre Group. (Ambassador also has undertaken the renovation and restoration of the Hudson Theatre.) The opening date means that Paramour will not be eligible to compete for this year’s Tony Awards, whose nominations deadline is April 28.
Paramour promises to combine elements of Broadway musical story-telling with the nouveau circus arts that have made Cirque du Soleil a $1-billion global entertainment behemoth since modest beginnings in 1984. Full casting for the show was also revealed Tuesday: Joining previously announced Ruby Lewis as Indigo the poetess are Bradley Dean as A.J. the director and Ryan Vona as Joey the composer, involved in a Golden Age of Hollywood love triangle.
Under the artistic guidance of Jean-François Bouchard (creative guide), Paramour is directed by French stage director and choreographer Philippe Decouflé. The creative team includes Pascale Henrot (associate creative director), West Hyler (associate creative director and scene director), Jean Rabasse (set designer), Philippe Guillotel (costume designer), Bob & Bill (composers), Andreas Carlsson (composer), Daphné Mauger (choreographer), Patrice Besombes (lighting designer), Anne‐Séguin Poirier (props designer), Olivier Simola (projection designer), Christophe Waksmann (projection designer), John Shivers (sound designer), Shana Carroll (acrobatic choreographer and designer), Boris Verkhovsky (acrobatic performance designer), Pierre Masse (rigging and acrobatic equipment designer), Nathalie Gagné (makeup designer), Cirque du Soleil (casting – Montreal), and Telsey + Co (casting – New York).
Cirque du Soleil Theatricals is also producing the revival of The Wiz executive produced by Neil Meron and Craig Zadan and broadcast live by NBC in December. It’s scheduled to arrive on Broadway next season.