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Évolution & Visuals

Milestone Date
Announcement 04/07/2005
Groundbreaking 04/18/2006
Press Conference 06/03/2006
Previews 8/15/2008
Premiere 10/01/2008
100th Show 11/21/2008
500th Show n/a
Closing Announced 07/04/2011
Final Show 12/31/2011
You could say the journey from A to ZED began all the way back in 1992, when Cirque du Soleil crossed the Pacific for the very first time and made a name for itself in the Land of the Rising Sun with Fascination, a collage of the best acts from Le Cirque Réinventé and Nouvelle Expérience. As a limited engagement, Fascination opened May 1992 in Tokyo and then moved on to seven other cities - for a total of 118 performances - before concluding that September. By the end of its tour over 560,000 (569,883 to be exact) saw the show. With the experiment a rousing success, a partnership between Cirque du Soleil and the Japanese people began to form. Cirque du Soleil returned to Japan numerous times since: with Saltimbanco in 1994, Alegría in 1996, returning again with Saltimbanco in 2000 (as Saltimbanco 2000),
Quidam in 2003, and Alegría again (as Alegría 2) in 2004. Both wanted something more, however.

[ ÉvolutionVisuals ]

From A to ZED

    The surge of resident productions beginning with 1993’s Mystère, and continuing forward to 1998’s "O" and La Nouba, 2003’s Zumanity, and 2004’s KÀ, gave Cirque an appetite to explore its options beyond Las Vegas. Indeed, Cirque du Soleil President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) Daniel Lamarre alluded in 2004 to having no less than three new permanent ventures within the "next few years" on the books, with Tokyo at the top of that list. "I wouldn't want to put a calendar to the construction," Lamarre said in an with The Star ( but I think it's safe to say we will begin work on the Tokyo project very soon."

    With an announcement on April 7, 2005 that Cirque du Soleil came to an agreement with the Walt Disney Company and Oriental Land Co., Ltd (OLC for short, the company that administers Tokyo Disneyland Resort – they own the land and the buildings, but Disney owns the content) to open a permanent theater in Tokyo, the journey from A to ZED was well on its way!

    "This will be Cirque du Soleil’s first permanent theater and show in Japan and its first permanent venture outside North America," mentions a Cirque du Soleil press release. Currently all permanent ventures reside in the United States (Mystère, "O", Zumanity and KÀ in Las Vegas, Nevada and La Nouba in Orlando, Florida), but there have been rumors of possible installations in London, England; Paris, France; Berlin, Germany and, of course, Tokyo, Japan throughout the years. Cirque will develop the original exclusive show, which is set to premiere August 2008. This as yet named project was mentioned to cost approximately $140-million US ($115-million provided by Japan’s Oriental Land Co.) and include a theater for up to 2,000 spectators.

    The agreement didn’t come overnight, however.

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