Cirque's shining light

Guy Laliberte wants to someday travel into space. Right now, he’s busy defying gravity on Earth. The 47-year former performer-turned-billionaire quickly created an empire after he brought the first Cirque du Soleil to Las Vegas in 1991 as part of a deal with Steve Wynn. Today, auds worldwide flock to his multiple versions of the animal-free circus, and the company just bowed a Beatles-themed Cirque in which acrobats perform to the supergroup’s songs at the Mirage where Siegfried & Roy starred. With ticket prices circling $100, the Quebec-based Cirque grosses north of $600 million annually. His “Delirium” was the industry’s No. 5 tour during the first half of 2006 with a $43.3 million gross. Laliberte says he reinvests nearly half Cirque’s earnings to develop new shows while relying on a team of creative experts to help shape the formats.

P.O.V.: “We didn’t reinvent the circus, we repackaged it in a much more modern way.”

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