Their business really is a Circus.

Who doesn’t love a little Cirque du Soleil?

I remember the first time I saw “O” in Vegas (and yep, I said first time, because I’ve seen in multiple times).  I spent most of the evening with my mouth wide open, wondering how the $#&@ they came up with this stuff.  (I was actually lucky enough to dine with “O” Director Franco Dragone in Belgium a few years later and heard some of the amazing stories about how he did come up with that stuff – and it was one of the most inspiring dinners I’ve ever had).

Since then, Cirque has dominated the live entertainment world, and made more money than you can fit in a clown car.

Until recently.

In January, Cirque announced that they were laying off 400 people and closing 4 of their 19 productions around the world.

What happened?

Super rapid expansion, ballooning budgets, no/little outside investment, attempting to do shows outside of their sweet spot (Banana Shpeel anyone?) and a weak Canadian Dollar, etc. are just a few of the excuses I’ve heard about why Cirque has stumbled.

At the end of the day, they’re going to be just fine.  They still have their tentpole productions, and the quality of their product is still thrilling.

But there is no question they made some missteps.

So what can we learn from it?

Running a business ain’t just about launching a business.  Anyone can get something started.  But to get it to remain consistent over the long haul is the hard part.  They call it running a business for a reason.  It’s not walking a business.  You’ve got to run.

But to use another analogy . . . think of your business or your show like a marriage.  It’s actually easy to get married, right?  Two people.  City Hall.  And you’re done.

But if you want your marriage to work year after year after year, it’s going to take a heck of a lot of work . . . and a whole lot of love.


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  • Sue says:

    I am not a big fan of Cirque. It’s like watching a show through thick glass. I don’t feel that they connect with the audience. Not everyone is a repeat customer.

    Take me to the Big Apple Circus instead.

  • Edwin Rojas says:

    I’ve worked with Cirque du Soleil before, when I was with a major cruise line. I see what they have done in Vegas and it is to be commended, but everything has a ‘life cycle,’ and they are reaching the end. Overexposed? Over extended? Whatever you want to call it, I call it complacency. People want something new and exciting. Will it be Steve Wynn’s and Kenny Ortega’s new production in waiting “FUNHOUSE?” This new show is supposed to be the ‘next big thing.’ We shall see, but we are ready — the market is ready — for a new thing…change is in the air!

  • Andrea Jill says:

    Have you ever seen Cavallia? They set up their huge white tents (stage plus living quarters and barn, etc.), and present an amazing show with 50+ beautiful horses, fantastic trainer/riders, acrobat/dancers, musicians, scenery, special effects (a lake on stage). They’re based in Canada. Just saw the newest show “Odysseo” in Scottsdale. Hope you’re in vicinity of their tour!!

  • CMT says:

    “Iris” in Hollywood was a Universal theme park show at best.

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