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April 19, 2014

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CRISS ANGEL:

Angel, Cirque say ‘Believe’ presented unique challenges

Image

Justin M. Bowen

Criss Angel and Cirque du Soleil hold a press conference Friday in preparation for the premiere of “Believe.” From left, Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte, Criss Angel and director and co-writer Serge Denoncourt.

'Believe' sneak preview

Criss Angel and crew offer a first look at the new Cirque Du Soleil production, "Believe."

Robin Leach with Celebs

Robin Leach interviews celebrities on the "Black Carpet" at the premiere of "Believe" inside Luxor.

Criss Angel, Cirque and Believe

Criss Angel and Cirque du Soleil hold a press conference Friday in preparation for the premiere of Launch slideshow »

Criss Angel says he’s living the dream.

His $100 million Cirque du Soleil show, “Criss Angel Believe,” premiered Friday night and as he walked into his Luxor theater, Playboy bunny Holly Madison was on his arm.

“Fifteen years ago I dreamt it and today I’m living the dream,” the magician said during a news conference Friday afternoon. “It just goes to show you that anybody can live their dream if you believe. And it’s not a line, it’s what I believe.

“This is beyond my dreams,” he said.

His show’s director, Serge Denoncourt, said he was also a happy man hours before the premiere of Cirque’s latest addition to Las Vegas.

“I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished on this show,” he said. “We are two happy men.”

“Very happy,” Angel added.

Guy Laliberté, the French-Canadian who founded Cirque du Soleil in 1984, was in town for Friday’s big premiere. He said during the news conference that Cirque’s first foray into the world of blending celebrity and circus was full of surprises.

“Cirque du Soleil doesn’t work with stars and there’s a reason why, because usually I don’t think it’s easy,” he said, although he said the crew had no problems working with Angel.

Laliberté said the development of “Believe” included lots of debating, arguing and learning.

“I found in the ‘Criss Angel Believe’ project … a great opportunity to explore a new artistic field in the field of magic,” Laliberté said. “Cirque du Soleil is always looking for new challenges, new artistic content.”

Denoncourt said it wasn’t easy to work Angel’s so-called “mindfreaks” into a live production -- especially the illusion that involves walking down a wall of fabric.

“I’m not lying -- it was a nightmare putting it on stage,” the director said.

Laliberté added: “To learn the world of magic was one of our biggest challenges, internally, creatively.”

Angel said there are only so many options one has when dealing with magic.

“You make something appear, you can make something vanish, you can make something levitate, you can cut it, you can put it back together, those are the physics of nature, that’s what you can do,” he said. “What I wanted to do, though, is present those concepts in a way that has never been presented on a stage before.”

Hours before “Believe” premiered to the world, the three men said they were proud of their collaborative effort.

“It’s just been an amazing whirlwind for me,” Angel said, “and I’m just so thankful.”

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