Cirque du Soleil's Las Vegas production of Viva Elvis has been cut short after relatively low attendance.
Aria Resort and Casino has decided to pull the plug on the Cirque's acrobatic and dancing tribute to Elvis Presley at the end of 2012, the first time a Las Vegas venue has curtailed a Cirque production.
"All of us at Cirque du Soleil are saddened that we may have to bring Viva Elvis to the end of its journey. However, we respect the decision of our partner as ticket sales have not met expectations," said Cirque president and chief executive Daniel Lamarre in an internal memo to the cast and crew of the show.
Viva Elvis's lack of successis relative, though. Since the show began in December, 2009, it has been seen by one million people over nearly 900 performances. However, Cirque's dominance in Las Vegas is so strong that Aria Resort was hoping for a packed house every show. Cirque currently has seven shows in production throughout the Nevada city – eight if you include Cirque's 33-show run of The Michael Jackson Immortal World Tour, to begin Saturday.
Aria's theatre was 60-per-cent full on average for Viva Elvis. This compares to 99-per-cent occupancy for Cirque du Soleil's water-themed show O and its Beatles-musical tribute Love. Those shows have been running 13 years at the Bellagio casino and five years at The Mirage, respectively.
And the 19-year-old production of Mystère still fills 82 per cent or more at Las Vegas's Treasure Island Resort, according Cirque du Soleil's senior director of public relations Renée-Claude Menard.
Viva Elvis has received mixed reviews, although Lamarre characterized the cancellation by Aria as "simply a business decision." An extended break had been planned early next year to revamp the production. Instead, the show will be only halted briefly between Feb. 4-11, and a new acrobatic act will be added. Lamarre said the company will try to move many of the artists and crew to other productions after the show ends late next year.
This summer, Cirque also announced the cancellation of its production of ZED at the Tokyo Disney Resort due to damage and ongoing problems there from Japan's March earthquake and tsunami.