Changes Underway At The Circus

Cirque du Soleil’s Paramour is not your typical Broadway show. So why should it act like one? While all other shows ‘freeze’ in the lead up to opening night (after which point no further changes are made), Paramour has cancelled a couple of performances next week to make some significant changes to the show derived from audience feedback.

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I have never understood why shows need to ‘freeze’ themselves. Audiences change over time. Societal norms change over time. And sometimes things just don’t work. So why not change them while you still have the opportunity to recover and increase your revenue?

Cirque du Soleil’s Paramour which is currently playing on Broadway has decided that it is time to make some changes. While this may not be customary for a Broadway show, Cirque’s shows often undergo rewrites as they move between towns based on feedback they receive from a significant run of performances. In the case of Paramour, which failed to win over critics when the show first opened earlier in the year, audiences were getting lost due to a lack of story development while also feeling that the opening was missing that trademark Cirque du Soleil spectacle.

The four performances which have been cancelled will allow the creatives to join with the cast as they rework some of these elements.

It sounds like a win-win to me. Cirque du Soleil has the opportunity to make their show better. The cast aren’t being overworked to change a show while also performing it at night (*cough* Spiderman the Musical *cough*). And there is the potential to create a show which leaves audiences with a much better experience – while also boosting Cirque du Soleil’s bottom line!

If these small rewrites are able to turn around the fortunes of this show (which is already doing pretty well drawing in over $900,000 in revenue per week), could this be the beginning of a change for the theatrical art? Could shows make the decision to shut down for a week while they rewrite and create a show which better communicates the artistic message to an audience now that they have a wealth of audience feedback? Television does it. Movie sequels do it. Why not the theatre?

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