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by Asuka Spangler, JOUR 3000

 
This all changed last month.

Now, appearing on stage in bright colorful costumes, everything from body contortionists and trapeze artists to Polynesian dancing and statue acts will be presented in the New Cirque Hawai‘i Theatre.

“ Hawai‘i has never seen this kind of show before,” said Miwa Ogletree, Cirque Hawai‘i assistant manager for sales and marketing. “I can guarantee it’ll be a huge success . . . something totally different,” she added.

According to company literature, Cirque Hawai‘i is “a multimillion dollar, state- of-the-art theatrical entertainment” and “a show sure to tickle your senses, showcasing world-famous and award-winning talent.”

With up to 70 vertical feet available for aerial apparatus and a one-of-a-kind stage exclusively designed for the show, as well as featuring surround sound and spectacular lighting, Cirque Hawai‘i lends itself to dramatic use of aerial performances. The show will be “a talented and exotic blend of strength, balance, humor, skill, beauty, and grace. Cirque Hawai‘i will be sure to appeal to audiences both young and old alike for an hour and a half,” according to company literature.

“ It is a modern circus stage show,” said Tuffy Nicholas, producer of Cirque Hawai‘i, who confirmed that it is much like the famous Cirque du Soleil. In fact, both the general manager and director of Cirque Hawai‘i previously worked for the more famous show.

Cirque Hawai‘i will bring together more than 40 performers and 15 world-renowned acts, Nicholas added, including clowns, bungee jumpers, contortionists, trapeze artists, Polynesian warriors, and more. Some of the more famous acts include the teeterboard, transformation, flying silk, Russian bar, skip rope, and statues.

“ This show will [also] feature Polynesian dancing, and that really shows the influence of having the show in Hawai‘i,” said Kala Mia, sales and marketing manager. “No where else will you find a finale such as this one, except in Hawai‘i.”

The Polynesian warriors portion will feature native dancing from Hawai‘i, Samoa, New Zealand, and Australia.

Mia works for Best International Marketing, a company that deals with the majority of optional attractions available to tourists, handling everything from dolphin cruises to Society of Seven stage shows.

So why Hawai‘i? Nicholas, smiling, said “for several reasons.” After touring with the Moscow State Circus and traveling to Hawai‘i to do a show, “We saw a potential for live stage shows. We were just lucky enough to find a suitable location.”

“ I think this is an excellent idea for the tourists,” Mia added. “It’s great because it’ll appeal to everybody, not just the Japanese. It’s also a show that a grandfather could watch with his three-year-old grandson, and they’ll enjoy it just the same.”

“ They only thing I’m upset about is not thinking of an idea like this myself,” he added.
Not everyone shares the group’s expectations of success. Nori Nobuyuki, a tour agent at the Honolulu International Airport, said: “I don’t think the show will be that successful. We see stage shows come and go all the time in this industry.

“ Take the John Hirokawa magic show for example,” Nobuyuki continued. “When it first came out, even all the locals were crazy about it, and that’s why it was able to be located in the Hilton. But they had to change the location of the show to a smaller place, the Waikiki Beachcomber, where it is now, because, in my opinion, it was not making enough revenue.”

Linda Hirokawa, assistant manager of planning and contracts at Jalpak, one of Hawai‘i’s leading Japanese tour companies, said: “It’s hard to tell, although I think it will do well. The stage shows that we have now, like the magic show and the one at the Princess Kaiulani Hotel, although they are great shows, they’ve been on for a long time now, so I think it’s really good to see something fresh.” She added: “It’s also nice to see something that’s not your typical Hawai‘i Polynesian show. Although the show doesn’t really have a Hawai‘i theme, I still think that it’ll do really well among the Japanese tourists.”

Cirque Hawai‘i opened Dec. 17 with a black tie, invitation-only grand opening on Jan. 6. The show offers three different packages ranging from $55 to $130 a ticket for two shows nightly except for Wednesdays, at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. For reservations call the box office at 808-922-0017.

“ I’m stoked to see the show,” said Kerry Say, a student at Honolulu Community College. “Before this you only saw this kind of stuff on TV.” She has already ordered tickets for the show.

 

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