Broadway has a new tenant, a $25 million spectacle called "Cirque du Soleil: Paramour."
The show, a mash-up of a full-fledged Cirque du Soleil performance and a traditional Broadway musical, opened last month at the Lyric Theatre in downtown New York City. After 32 years, Cirque is hoping it will be able to expand its brand beyond its famed acrobatic pageants.
"We've conquered the Las Vegas spectacle, we have incredibly successful arena tours that play in basketball and hockey arenas, we've done the Super Bowl halftime show, we have these Big Top tents that are extraordinary, beautiful, custom tents that crisscross the world," Scott Zeiger, head of Cirque du Soleil's theatrical division, told CNBC. "We have a permanent installation at Disney World. Never on Broadway."
While the production has been praised for its visually stunning sets and the athleticism of twin aerialists Andrew and Kevin Atherton, it leaves much to be desired in the way of music and story, according to some critics. "Paramour" was widely panned following its opening in May, due in part to the lack of cohesion between the show's Broadway ambitions and its roots in the circus.
"The resulting show, I'm sorry to say, achieves the singular feat of being simultaneously frenetic and tedious," wrote The New York Times critic, Charles Isherwood, of the production.
"Paramour" is not Cirque du Soleil's first attempt at a no-holds-barred Broadway debut. "Banana Shpeel," flopped in 2010 at the Beacon Theatre and "Zarkana" failed to launch after taking over Radio City Music Hall in 2011 and 2012.