Cirque du Soleil will take a shot a diversifying its output with the launch of a new theatrical division to be led by Scott Zeiger of BASE Entertainment.
The new branch of the Montreal-based megatroupe aims to craft productions that are rooted in more traditional theater but infused with the company’s artsy-circus aesthetic.
The new branch, Cirque du Soleil Theatrical, marks a formalized move into a style of live entertainment that aims to be something of a departure from the highfalutin high-flying that has become Cirque’s signature. The initiative kicks off about a year after layoffs at the company highlighted the possibility that Cirque had overloaded the market with its ongoing wave of similar-but-different new titles peppering the globe with sit-down productions and international tours. Last year the company also endured the press scrutiny that ensued when a performer in one of its Vegas productions, “Ka,” fell to her death.
Zeiger, an alum of Clear Channel Entertainment, comes to Cirque about eight years after co-founding BASE, the company behind Vegas incarnations of Broadway brands such as “Phantom — The Las Vegas Spectacular,” “Jersey Boys” and “Rock of Ages.” BASE co-founder Brian Becker will run the org solo after Zeiger exits.
Cirque du Soleil Theatrical will be based in New York City, where Cirque has found success with its touring shows but had less luck in creating sit-down productions (“Zarkana” at Radio City Music Hall, “Banana Shpeel” at the Beacon Theater) in Broadway territory.
Zeiger takes up his post as president and managing director of Cirque du Soleil Theatrical starting March 3.