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Zumanity ( formerly known as Zumanity: Another Side of Cirque du Soleil and Zumanity: The Sensual Side of Cirque du Soleil ) was a resident Cirque du Soleil cabaret production created and directed by René Richard Cyr and Dominic Champagne. It was the first "adult-themed" Cirque du Soleil production intended to be for mature audiences only and a radical departure from Cirque du Soleil's previous works.[1] Zumanity premiered on September 20, 2003, at the New York-New York Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV.

On March 19, 2020, performances of Zumanity were suspended in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of the pandemic, Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group had announced on November 16, 2020 that Zumanity would close permanently. It had performed over 7700 shows with it's final performance on March 14, 2020.[2]

The name of Zumanity is a portmanteau of the words "zoo" and "humanity".

Production[]

In 2003, Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté had been offered the chance to create two new shows in Las Vegas by MGM Mirage, one for The New York-New York Hotel and Casino and The MGM Grand.[3] Lalibertéwanted to create something completely new and original rather than create multiple similar shows that would "cannibalize off of each other's sales and audiences". The creation of Zumanity for Laliberté was to create a show that explored human sexuality and offered the chance to work with riskier "edgier" subject matter. Laliberté felt that their past productions were more "family-oriented and politically correct". With Zumanity, Laliberté states "the subject matter reflects who we really are... We like to live new experiences. Zumanity deals with some of those new experiences."[3]

When pitching Zumanity to MGM Mirage, the concept of a more adult Cirque du Soleil show appealed more to the casino. MGM Mirage wanted to make the New York-New York Casino feel more "trendy, more Generation X, and more underground".[3]

On January 20, 2015, a planned "refresh" of Zumanity was introduced to the public in which roughly 30% of the show was changed from its original concept.[4][5] The "refresh" was apart of Cirque du Soleil updating their Las Vegas productions with Mystère in 2013 and The Beatles: Love in 2016.[6] The aerial hoops, "Dance on TV", and the aerial silks duo acts were replaced with "Aerial Dream", "Chains", "Perfect Jam", and Aerial silks solo act. The "Rose Boy" striptease act was converted into a special agent themed striptease act called "Magnum".[4][7]

Choreographer Yanis Marshall was hired for the refresh to create new and update old choreography throughout the show. New dance segments include Come Together (originally called "Wind"), Perfect Jam, and "2Men (originally called "Strange Love")". The show also features new and updated music, costumes, comedic acts, characters, and artists.[4]

Set and Technical Information[]

ZumanityStage.jpg

The Zumanity stage and theater were designed by Stéphane Roy and built by architect Marnell Corrao and Auerbach Pollack Friedlander Consultants.[8]

The theater is 68,000 sq ft. and can seats up to 1,256 audience members.[8] Roy was inspired by Art Nouveau when designing the theater.[3]

Characters[]

Listed below are the characters currently in the show with known names. Further artists are listed in the Acts section. Additional hosts listed in the Vocalists section.

Current Characters:[]

  • Mistress of Sensuality (Edie): hostess (Played by Christopher Kenney as Edie)
  • Spirits of the Wind: dancers. (Played by Ashley Galvan, Angelique Janowski, Monteece Taylor)
  • The Sexperts (Dick and Izzy): clowns (played by Nicky Dewhurst and Shannan Calcutt)
  • Afrique: dancer (played by Makeda Crayton)
  • Magnum: dancer (played by William Hulett)
  • Biker: aerial chains (played by Brandon Pereyda)
  • Fauna: character (played by Tonio Moore)
  • Athon and Arno Extravaganza: acrobatic dancers (played by Chaun Williams and Arnaud Boursain)
  • Molinier: character (played by Leah Sykes-Hodgeson)
  • Botero Sisters: actors/clowns (played by Licemar and Luciene Medeiros)
  • Casanova: actor/clown (played by Araz Hamzayev)
  • Miss Salsa: dancer (played by Monteece Taylor)
  • Mec Branché: character/performer (played by Chaun Williams and William Hulett)
  • Mademoiselle Loup: aerial straps (played by Jill Crook)
  • Dominatrix: dancer (played by Leah Sykes-Hodgeson)
  • Ballerine: body2body 2.0 (played by Tsvetelina Tabakova)
  • Romantique: dancer (played by Joli Irvine)
  • Scottish Fantasy: hand2hand (played by Wayne Skivington)
  • Tissu Star: aerial dream (played by Marina Tomanova)
  • Blue Blade: dancer (played by Brianna McKee)
  • La Catin: dancer (played by Joli Irvine)

Retired Characters:[]

  • Mistress of Seduction: The original Mistress of Ceremonies. ( Performed by Joey Arias )
  • The Porn Clowns ( 2003-2005 ): The original clown act of Zumanity. ( Performed by the comedy group Spymonkey )
  • The Rose Boy ( 2003-2013 ):

Costume Design[]

Thierry Mugler, a French Fashion designer, was consulted to design the costumes for Zumanity. At first reluctant to work on the show, Mugler stated: "I began to fall in love with the project when the casting started and I saw the artists rehearsing".[3] Many of the costumes are highly colorful, yet some are minimal to an exaggerated extreme. Fur, feathers, leather, lace, fishnet stockings, velvet dresses, tiny corsets, cone bras, and plastic accessories were primary materials utilized to create the costumes' provocative appeal.

Acts[]

  • Pre-Show: The Sexperts interact with the audience with Dick teases the audience with sex toys and Izzy hitting on other men. The Casanova hits on women while the Botero Sisters feed strawberries to audience members. (Performed by Araz Hamzayev, Shannan Calcutt, Nicky Dewhurst, and Licemar and Luciene Medeiros)
  • Opening / Welcome: The host of Zumanity Edie makes her appearance and teases audience members. (Performed by Christopher Kenney)
  • Warnings ( Singing ): A diva sings a song about the Zumanity's theater policies and fire safety codes. (Performed by Paris Red)
  • Catwalk ( Interlude ): Edie introduces the cast of Zumanity in a catwalk-like fashion.
  • Come Together ( Wind ) ( Contemporary Dance ): Three dancers called "The Spirits of the Wind" dance while rose petals fall. (Performed by Monteece Taylor, Ashley Galvan, Angelique Janowski and Arnaud Boursain. Original performer: Marcela de la Vega Luna.)
  • African Dance (Afrique) ( African Dance ): An African dancer performs a tribal dance.(Performed by Makeda Crayton. Original performer: Wassa Coulibaly.)
  • Water Bowl ( Waterbowl / Contortion ): Two women perform contortion in a large waterbowl. (Performed by Ulziibayar Chimed-Sahagun and Estefania Laurino. Original Performers: Gyulnara Karaeva and Bolormaa Zorigtkhuyag.)
  • Chains ( Aerial Chains ) The Biker performs an aerialist act on chains. (Performed by Brandon Pereyda.)
  • Magnum ( Striptease ) : A special agent stripteases and dances erotically for the audience. (Performed by William Hulett)
  • Scotch Baggies ( Clown Act ) : Izzy shows the audience how to make fake breast implants using sandwich baggies filled with scotch, and gets an audience member to help her put them on. (Performed by Shannan Calcutt.)
  • Hand-2-Hand ( Hand to Hand ): Two artists perform an intimate hand to hand duet. (Performed by Wayne Skivington and Ekaterina Bazarova. Original performers: Nicolas Alain Michel Besnard and Joanie Leroux-Côté)
  • Dislocation ( Contortion ): A artist performs contortion. (Performed by Araz Hamzayev. Original performer: Moukhtar Gusengadzhiev.)
  • Perfect Jam ( Erotic Dance ) : The band moves down to center-stage while many of the cast members performed a fast-paced and erotic dance. (Performed by Monteece Taylor, Leah Sykes-Hodgson, Joli Irvine, Brianna McKee, Angelique Janowski, Ashley Galvan, Arnaud Boursain.)
  • Aerial Dream / M&M ( Aerial Hoop ) : Two artists perform an a giant framed lyra hoop. (Performed by Marina Tomanova and João "Paolo" Souza. Original performers: Marina Tomanova and Michael James McNamara.)
  • Expressions ( Break Dancing ): The Fauna breakdances (Performed by Antonio "Tonio" Moore. Original performer: Jesus "Jesse" Villa.)
  • 2Men [Wushu] ( Wushu ): Two ninjas perform a wushu act. ( Performed by Pasha and Sebastian Castellanos. Originally performed by Philip Sahagun and Wes Scarpias.)
  • Inferno ( Interlude / Juggling ): The Botero sisters juggled dildos, there were whips and the snakes, Adam and Eve, with Jacobo. (Performed by “Almukatab” Jacobo Espina, Licemar Medeiros and Luciene Medeiros.)
  • Straps ( Aerial Straps ): An aerialist performs on aerial straps. ( Performed by Jill Crook. Original performer: Laurence Jardin .)
  • Express Dating / Vegas Hookup ( Clown Act ) : Izzy and Dick teach audience members how to skip the course of a typical date and get straight to the action. (Performed by Shannan Calcutt and Nicky Dewhurst.)
  • Tissu ( Aerial Silk ): An aerialist performs an aerial silks act. (Performed by Alan Jones Silva.)
  • Midnight Bath ( Erotic Performance ): A man and a woman play with water and champagne in a bathtub. (Performed by Chaun Williams, Monteece Taylor and William Hulett. Original Performers: Vanessa Convery and Ugo Mazin)
  • Lazy Susan of Sex / Gentle Orgy ( Erotic Performance ): The entire cast goes on stage for an implied orgy, and guests are invited on-stage to participate. (Performed by Christopher Kenney and the cast of Zumanity)
  • Extravaganza (Finale): The cast walks out in catwalk fashion.

  • Body2Body ( Adagio / Hand To Hand ): A combination fo Adagio and Hand To Hand.(Performed by Stéphan Choinière and Tsvetelina Tabakova.)
  • Cerceaux: An aerialist performs on a Lyra hoop above a bed. (Performed by Marina Tomanova.)
  • Hoops ( Aerial Hula Hoops ): An erotic schoolgirl performs an aerial hula hoops act. (Performed by Tamara Yerofeyeva. Original Performer: Julia Kolosova (2003-2015).)

    • 2Men ( Savage Love ) ( Acro Dance ) (2003-2015): Two men fight over the love for a woman in a cage, but realize they love each other. Originally performed by Patrick King and Johan King Silverhult.
    • Body2Body (2003-2005): The original Body2Body Act. (Performed by Stéphan Choinière and Sara Joel.)
    • Castroses ( The Rose Boy ) (2003-2013) (Striptease): A man wearing a fur coat and cowboy boots give roses to female audience members and stripteases. (Performed by Alex Castro.)
    • Dance on TV ( Erotic Dance / Pole Dancing ) (2003-2015): A woman performs an erotic dance on a TV set while her lovers watch a football game. (Originally performed by Elena Gatilova. Felix Cane converted the act into a pole dancing act.)
    • Fire ( Fire Knife ) (2003): A artist performs a fire knife manipulation act that involves snakes. This is the third instance of animals used in a Cirque du Soleil production. (Performed by Jila Alaghamandan and Heidi Good.)
    • Hand Balancing on Pole ( Hand Balancing / Pole Dancing ) (2010-2018): A performer uses a pole to hand balance on. This act combines hand balancing with pole dancing. (Performed by Dima Shine.)
    • I Like It ( Singing )(2005 -2017): Mistress of Seduction performs a lounge song. ( Performed by Joey Arias.)
    • Knife ( Sword Demonstration ) (2015) (Rotation): A Martial Arts swordsman performs with Chinese Broadswords. (Performed by Philip Sahagun.)
    • Knife Throwing ( Clown Act ) (2005-2006): An audience member is brought up on stage and is tricked into thinking knives are being thrown at them. (Performed by Shannan Calcutt and Nicky Dewhurst.)
    • Lite (2015-2018): Dick and Izzy bring an audience member up to rave with them on stage. ( Performed by Shannan Calcutt, Nicky Dewhurst, and Christopher Kenney.)
    • Market (2003-2005): The Gigolo is captured by the Vixens in a quest for revenge of love scorned. (Performed by Antonio Drija, Laetitia Dewhurst, Vanessa Convery, Jonel Earl, Agnès Roux, and Sophie Elisa Ayache)
    • Musical Backup: (Rotation) (2017-2018): Two musicians perform a Piano and Cello Duet. (Performed by Eliot Douglass and Mariko Muranaka.)
    • Pacemakers ( Acro Dance ) (2003~2006): Two elderly audiences members perform an acrobatic dance. (Performed by Birgit and Flemming Thomsen.)
    • Pompoms ( Clown Act ) (2003-2005): A group of dancers performs a burlesque erotic dance only covered by pompoms.
    • The Puritans ( Clown Act / Pre-Show) (2003-2005): A group of Puritans tries to keep the audience from seeing the show while joking about sex.
    • Revenge of The Sex Doll ( Clown Act ) (2003-2005): A sex doll comes alive and interacts with the audience.
    • Roue ( Cyr Wheel ) - Rotation (2010-2018): The Casanova performs on a Cyr Wheel. (Performed by Jonas Woolverton.)
    • Tissu Duo ( Aerial Silk ) (2003-2015): Two aerialists perform on a single aerial silk. (Originally performed by Alan Jones Silva and Olga Vershinina.)
    • Trapeze (2017): An Aerialist performs on a flying trapeze. (Performed by Arthur Morel van Hyfte.)
    • Scottish Fantasy ( Striptease ) (2013-2015): A man wearing Scottish attire stripteases for the audience.
    • Sheets (Interlude) (2003-2015): Segue into Tissu.
    • Swinging Aerial Hoop ( Aerial Hoop ) (2005-2006): A aerialist performs from a swinging Lyra hoop.(Performed by Hugo Desmarais.)

    Music[]

    The music used in the Zumanity show was composed by Simon Carpentier. A studio album inspired by the music used in Zumanity was released on March 22, 2005.

    A promotional album entitled Foreplay was included with the original program. Foreplay was released on July 31, 2003, and contains select work-in-progress songs from the show's creation period.

    Vocalists[]

    Mistress of Ceremonies

    • Mistress of Sensuality - Edie, Christopher Kenney
      • Original performer: Mistress of Seduction - Joey Arias
    • Axle Beaurouge, Brandon Pereyda ( backup )
    • Alan Jones "Pulga" Silva ( backup )

    Paris Red (R&B Singer):

    • Lonnie Gordon: 2003 - Present
    • Véronique Lapierre ( Cassiopée ) ( backup ): 2003 - Present

    Rock Singer ( Retired ):

    • Corinne Zarzour: 2003 - 2019
    • Cassiopée Véronique Lapierre ( backup ): 2003 -2019

    Musicians

    • Jean-François Blais ( Clarinet /flute/soprano and tenor saxophones )
    • J.K. Kleutgens ( Bandleader/bass/Ableton (Mixer) )
    • Melle Vasquez ( Guitar/vocals )
    • Piano, drums, flügelhorn, trumpet, trombone, and bass retired Oct. 31, 2019

    For more information on the songs featured in Zumanity and the soundtrack, please visit Zumanity (Soundtrack).

    Filmography[]

    Lovesick is a feature-length documentary chronicling the creation of Zumanity: Another Side of Cirque du SoleilLovesick was released on May 30, 2006, on DVD.

    Trivia[]

    • Zumanity offers to perform marriage ceremonies at the New York-New York called "Zumanity Weddings". The ceremony is performed by the Mistress of Sensuality Edie in the lobby of the Zumanity theater. The Zumanity Weddings package includes the wedding ceremony, high resolution printed and digital images of the wedding, a webcast of the ceremony up to 30 days, a bottle of sparkling, red, or white wine, and VIP seating of Zumanity.[9]

    Accidents and Incidents[]

    • On April 21, 2006, during a rehearsal run of the aerial silks duet act, aerialist Olga Vershinina fell 20 to 30 feet from her silks breaking her back, her pelvis and shattering the bones in her feet.[10] Her aerialist partner Alan Silva suffered minor injuries. She was required to have 5 surgeries for her recovery.[10][11] In 2007 after the second aerial silks duet accident, Vershinina ( represented by the Las Vegas lawyers David Churchill, David Francis, and Brent Valdez ) sued Cirque du Soleil for $1 million for negligence and unsafe practices that caused her injuries and ending her acrobatic career early.[10][11] The lawsuit also accused Aerial Acrobatics Coach Marina Vetrova and Artistic Director Ria Martens of threats and/or harassment of Vershinina causing her to have "extreme emotional distress and severe physical injury".[10] Vershinina stated that the lawsuit was to cover medical expenses caused by the injuries[11] and "suing Cirque because I really believe they’re going to hurt somebody".[10]
    • On November 15, 2007, during the aerial silks duet act, aerial silk performers Alan Silva and Maia Tabakova fell 15 to 35 feet during the 7:30 PM performance.[12] Tabakova lost her grip on the silk and collided into silk partner Silva. The performers were taken off stage in stretchers to receive medical attention and were rushed to the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada. Silva was released from the hospital suffering minor injuries. Tabakova was in critical condition and was rushed to the critical care unit.[13] The aerial silks duo act was suspended and removed after the accident and went under review by Cirque du Soleil.[14][12] The act was later replaced by a solo aerial silk act performed by Alan Silva.

    Gallery[]

    Promotional

    Characters

    Performance

    Videos[]

    Trailers

    Behind the Scenes

    Related Videos

    References[]

    1. Ouzounian, R. (2003, October 9). Zumanity. Retrieved from https://variety.com/2003/legit/reviews/zumanity-1200538702/
    2. Zumanity has taken it's final bow at New York-New York Hotel & Casino. | Cirque du Soleil
    3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Babinski, T. (2004). Cirque du Soleil: 20 years under the sun: an authorized history. New York: Harry N. Abrams.
    4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Can Cirque du Soleil's 'Zumanity' get sexier? A revamped production tries just that. (2015, February 26). Retrieved from https://www.latimes.com/travel/lasvegas/lasvegasnow/la-tr-lvn-las-vegas-shows-zumanity-20150225-story.html
    5. Katsilometes, J. (2015, March 25). Cirque retools and refocuses in the face of edgy Strip competition. Retrieved from https://lasvegasweekly.com/blogs/kats-report/2015/mar/25/cirque-du-soleil-zumanity-strip-competition/
    6. Kelly, B., & Montreal Gazette. (2015, August 27). Cirque du Soleil owns the Vegas Strip. Retrieved from https://montrealgazette.com/entertainment/arts/cirque-du-soleil-owns-the-vegas-strip
    7. Weatherford, M. (2017, March 2). 'Zumanity' tries new things to spice up its Vegas relationship - PHOTOS. Retrieved from https://www.reviewjournal.com/entertainment/arts-culture/zumanity-tries-new-things-to-spice-up-its-vegas-relationship-photos/
    8. 8.0 8.1 New York-New York, Zumanity, The Sensual Side of Cirque du Soleil™. Retrieved from https://www.auerbachconsultants.com/projects/new-york-new-york-zumanity-another-side-of-cirque-du-soleil/
    9. Zumanity Weddings. Retrieved from https://www.cirquedusoleil.com/usa/las-vegas/zumanity/premium-experience/weddings
    10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 'Zumanity' acrobat sues Cirque. (2017, March 1). Retrieved from https://www.reviewjournal.com/news/zumanity-acrobat-sues-cirque/
    11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Acrobat sues Cirque over fall that ended her career | CBC News. (2008, January 9). Retrieved from https://www.cbc.ca/news/entertainment/acrobat-sues-cirque-over-fall-that-ended-her-career-1.769793
    12. 12.0 12.1 Admin. Cirque Aerialist Still in Critical Condition. Retrieved from http://www.intlgymnast.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=236&catid=2:news&Itemid=53
    13. Stage Directions. (2007, November 16). Two Zumanity Acrobats Injured in Aerial Stunt. Retrieved from http://stage-directions.com/news/30-industry-news/521-two-zumanity-acrobats-injured-in-aerial-stunt.html
    14. Retrieved from https://www.lasvegaslogue.com/what-to-do/las-vegas-shows/breaking-news-two-injured-during-zumanity-show/

    External Links[]

    Official Website

    New York-New York Official Website

    Zumanity Facebook Page

    Zumanity Weddings

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