Getting Set to Face the Music
Photo: Eric Piche
"There's nothing you can do that can't be done."

Interpreting that most famous of Fab Four truisms, Cirque du Soleil, in collaboration with record label Apple Corps Ltd., has fearlessly redone the legacy of four musicians that undeniably got it right the first time.

Sir George Martin, the Beatles' legendary producer, and his son Giles Martin -- with a little help from Paul, Ringo, Yoko and Olivia Harrison -- reworked the entire archive of Beatles recordings to create the soundtrack for Love, Cirque's latest show.

Cirque du Soleil, or "Circus of the Sun," first performed in honor of the 450th anniversary of Quebec City, Canada, in 1984.

The troupe had strong roots in juggling, stilt-walking and street performances in the nearby village of Baie-Saint-Paul.

Since then, Cirque's touring shows have made nearly 250 stops in over 100 cities around the world, and its resident shows run in theatres in Las Vegas, New York City and Orlando.

The Beatles, Remixed

I grew up singing "Yellow Submarine" with my father to break the monotony during family road trips, and proudly put the first scratch on my parents' copy of The White Album, so naturally I was taken aback at the prospect of messing with the divine.

However, I soon discovered that the Abbey Road I grew up with hadn't changed; it had just taken some breathtaking new turns.

Born out of a personal friendship between Cirque founder Guy Laliberte and the late George Harrison, the Love soundtrack has stayed true to the untouchable Beatles spirit.

Beatles songs were mixed and layered into each other to create innovative new sounds without compromising their original compositions.

"A Beatles connoisseur will be able to catch on to that immediately," says Kati Renaud, artistic coordinator for the Love performance.

Dominic Champagne -- Love director, writer and show concept creator -- and the Martins sat in the studio for many hours deliberating over what songs to use and how they would be mixed, Renaud says.

"Sir George and his son had such a deep understanding of the music and what the songs mean that it has been done tastefully and with so much research," explains Renaud.

"The Beatles and George Martin invented everything we love about modern recorded rock music," says Andrew Slater, president and CEO of Capitol Records. "It is only fitting that they now shake things up and create the new blueprint for rediscovering and falling in love again with the soundtracks to our lives."

Come Together

The revamped songs serve as an ethereal soundscape to Love, which is performed exclusively at The Mirage in Las Vegas.

The custom-built theater features 360-degree seating, panoramic video projection and surround sound.

To view Annika Mengisen's video take of today's Good Life segment, click here.

The show, which features nearly 30 songs, premiered in the summer of 2006 and is the first Cirque show not to use a live band.

An international cast of 60 circus performers combines extreme sports, urban dance and aerial performance to present a series of scenes that channel the poetry and raw energy of songs such as "Glass Onion," "Lady Madonna" and "Gnik Nus" (a favorite played in reverse).

Dazzled audiences watch as surreal jellyfish from an octopus's garden float above the audience in submerged slow motion, acrobats bounce off of a towering red telephone booth to the tune of "Revolution," and Sgt. Pepper himself plays drum for his Lonely Hearts Club Band.

"It's great to watch people tapping their feet and lip-syncing," says Renaud.

On With the Show

There's nothing like your first Love -- or second, or third.

With 10 90-minute shows per week, no two Love performances are identical. Renaud maintains the high quality of each production while still allowing the performances to evolve and mature.

She works with 16 dancers, 15 characters and 18 acrobats to make their performances fresh and engaging every night.

"It helps the performers get through the week with a different twist on their characters," she explains.

Renaud also works to integrate new artists joining the show and create modified versions when artists are out on injury. "You know, the show must go on," she quips.

Yet Renaud says the biggest challenge isn't working with the movements of the performers -- it's the stage they cavort on.

Typical of over-the-top Vegas venues, the Mirage's stage has a choreography all its own.

It twists, warps and turns in so many directions that the artists must develop a heightened awareness to anticipate the stage's every move.

"When you come running out to do a leap, you have to know what the stage is doing," says Renaud.

Happy Just to Dance

A former Cirque dancer, Renaud was particularly excited to work on Love because it includes more dancers than other Cirque shows.

"It's good for them because they know I've been there too," she says, referring to the dancers she works with, who come from backgrounds as diverse as classical, street and breakdancing.

A Love Cast Member: He's No Clown
Photo: Tomas Muscionico

Each dancer brings a unique style to the performance, which gives the choreography a funky style that's seething with energy, says Renaud.

"This is what the Beatles did ... they made people get out of their chairs and dance," she explains.

Despite impressive acrobatics and eclectic dancers, the soundtrack is what makes the show for Renaud, who recalls listening to her older brother and sister's Beatles LPs at a young age.

"When I watch the show, it's the music that really carries me," she says.

If you want to feel the Love, you can order tickets online ($70 to $150 per person).

And if you can't get to Vegas, you can still experience the Beatles Love album released by Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol Records, available for purchase online.



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