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October 23, 2014

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Photos: ‘One Night’ to remember to become annual Cirque du Soleil spectacular in Las Vegas

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Tom Donoghue/DonoghuePhotography.com

Jackie Evancho performs during Cirque du Soleil’s “One Night for One Drop” at Bellagio on Friday, March 22, 2013.

Cirque du Soleil's 'One Night for One Drop'

Cirque du Soleil's Launch slideshow »

'One Night for One Drop': Blue Carpet at Hyde Bellagio

Shania Twain arrives on the blue carpet for Cirque du Soleil's Launch slideshow »

'One Night for One Drop': After-Party at Bellagio Pool

Andrea Wynn, Steve Wynn, Guy Laliberte and Claudia Barilla attend the afterparty for Cirque du Soleil's Launch slideshow »

'One Night for One Drop': Robin Leach's Candid Shots at Hyde, After-Party

Coco Austin, Pamela Anderson and Jesus Villa attend the Launch slideshow »
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Michael Phelps and Claire Sinclair arrive on the blue carpet for Cirque du Soleil's "One Night for One Drop" at Hyde Bellagio on Friday, March 22, 2013.

Click to enlarge photo

Cirque du Soleil's "One Night for One Drop" at Bellagio on Friday, March 22, 2013.

One Night for One Drop blue carpet at Hyde Bellagio

One Night for One Drop blue carpet at Hyde Bellagio

In-Q performs in L.A./WARNING: ADULT CONTENT

Amazing! Astonishing! Extraordinary! Beautiful! Powerful! Time and again Friday night and early this morning, those were the words repeated by the 1,800 guests who witnessed the moving “One Night for One Drop” at “O” Theater in Bellagio.

It was an epic event to match -- maybe even exceed -- anything Hollywood produces for the Oscars and Emmys. More incredible was the fact that “One Drop” was an all-volunteer production by Las Vegas casts and crews of the seven Cirque du Soleil shows to raise funds for founder Guy Laliberte’s nonprofit One Drop on World Water Day.

Guy was perhaps more thunderstruck than anybody else at what his Las Vegas family achieved; all seven Cirque shows in Las Vegas were dark to unite as “One Drop.” What was to be only a one-time event will now be an annual -- but always different -- spectacular. A year from now, the unpaid team will create an all-new production at Mandalay Bay.

“That’s what he’s charged us with; it now becomes our mission and duty,” said Jerry Nadal, VP of Las Vegas Cirque shows. “We have the creative team to do it, and we will. There might not be water on the stage like Bellagio at the new ‘Michael Jackson One’ show at Mandalay, but there will be that enormous pool close by. Then we’ll rotate each year to the other Cirque theaters on the Strip.“

Guy, with partner Claudia Barilla, the mother of two of his children, was among the first to arrive at the pre-party at Hyde Bellagio. Guy told me: “Our target is to raise $3 million tonight and then more starting for a week on Monday, when people around the world can watch the entire show on our Internet broadcast and make a $5 donation to the cause.

“This is the first time in my 28 years of Cirque I had absolutely nothing to do with the creative production. I didn’t see one rehearsal. I have no idea what to expect.” Later, he added: “To say I was blown away would still be an understatement. I’m in tears from the experience.”

Guy closed “One Drop” addressing the audience and later hugged hotel tycoon Steve Wynn, who was with wife Andrea, for being the first to believe in him and Cirque more than two decades ago -- for “letting the flower first begin to bloom in the desert.”

In keeping with the water theme, Olympic champions were in the well-heeled and star-studded audience, and Cirque President Daniel Lamarre and others flew in from around the world. Some guests paid nearly $10,000 a ticket for the events of the seven hours of festivities. Tickets for the show were $1,125 each; I made a donation on behalf of Vegas DeLuxe.

The Olympic champions included Michael Phelps, dressed in the requested blue for the blue carpet, and Missy Franklin, plus, Olympic rowers Mary Whipple and Erin Cafaro, who on World Water Day helped Cirque chiefs present $1 million to our Springs Preserve for water-conservation programs here in the Las Vegas Valley. We’ll face the drought crisis we think of only being confined to Africa.

As Guy, who partnered with MGM Resorts International and Lamborghini in the global philanthropic effort, said: “It is only one world. There is no Third World. If we do not care for water now, one day our children’s children could have none left to drink, and the earth dies. Today, we already have a global water crisis devastating the lives of tens of millions of people.”

It was the first public appearance for reality TV star (“The Girls Next Door”) and former “Peepshow” at Planet Hollywood actress Holly Madison since the birth of her baby girl Rainbow with boyfriend Pasquale Rotella, and she looked radiant and glamorous in blue.

Other blue carpet celebrities: Coco Austin (Holly’s successor in “Peepshow”), a smiling Shania Twain, pinup beauty Pamela Anderson with Cirque performer Jesus Villa, “Believe” magician Criss Angel, The Canadian Tenors, Stratosphere headliner Claire Sinclair (“Pin Up”) and Plain White T’s singer Tom Higgenson.

Our thanks to videographer Richard Corey for his videos posted on YouTube. Richard’s videos include Mayor Carolyn Goodman, her husband former Mayor Oscar Goodman, Guy, Shania, Michael, Missy, Pamela, Jesus, Coco, Claire, Holly, Josh Strickland, Kyle Richards, Hana Mae Lee and Jackie Evancho.

To avoid paparazzi, pop princess Britney Spears and her new boyfriend, David Lucado, slipped in through back hotel passageways just as the curtain went up, then snuck out for dinner at the new Nobu Caesars Palace as the curtain came down to end “One Drop.”

Against a special-effects montage of thunder, lightning and rain, 12-year-old superstar singer Jackie stole the night with her “Bridge Over Troubled Water” sung barefoot in the water of the giant stage alone except for the background pianist. She also dominated the fantastic finale flying in as an angel on a harness from the theater rooftop as all 240 performers filled the stage.

Our thanks to contributing photographer Tom Donoghue for his stunning stage and blue carpet photos. My friend Australian “human mermaid” Hannah Fraser amazed with her underwater feats. She also swam with mermen in the Bellagio pool at the afterparty beneath a Plexiglas floor covering the pool.

Cirque put up a $10 million insurance guarantee to stage that party on the pool, the first time ever permitted by the hotel. Lorena Peril and her “Fantasy” cast, The Canadian Tenors, “Zumanity,” “X Burlesque” and Tom entertained as chefs including James Beard winner Julian Serrano served taste treats. Models appeared as silver champagne severs and human cupcakes.

Prince Albert of Monaco, who was expected to attend, sent his Honorary Consul Jonathan Warren from his Las Vegas consulate. The most memorable moments from “One Drop”: the hand-to-hand ice-figure acrobats on the melting ice floes as snow fell in the theater and the incredible high-diving feats of men dressed in only Speedos from the stage ceiling 100 feet high.

Also, the stunning supermodels, including Oluchi Orlandi of Victoria’s Secret, dressed in fabulous designer outfits, including the black-and-white flair of Roberto Cavalli and one beauty balancing a 25-foot-high headpiece of horns, and the children and women who poignantly drove home the daily hardships of searching for water far from where they live.

Finally, the fiesta parades of all the Cirque artists through the theater, and the spirited, teary-eyed painting by “America’s Got Talent” performance artist David Garibaldi. Las Vegas resident Krista Monson, who created the show along with technical director David Chabira, deserve huge applause.

Editor at Large and The Kats Report columnist John Katsilometes’ story of the daring duo was posted Tuesday. Then of course there are all the unseen backstage heroes who contributed countless and volunteer time and energy to the massive production, which included works by Danny Elfman and Sonya Tayeh (“So You Think You Can Dance”).

The “One Drop” artists and producers pulled off a miracle. There were weeks of preparation but only four full run-through rehearsals. Incredibly, there were only two minor hiccups in the complicated three-act production: one hoop went awry, and the spotlight didn’t catch Jesus fast enough for his back-flip somersault on spring stilts, which he still executed in darkness.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t single out one extraordinary artist. To think a monologue -- a spoken rap -- about water could hold a theater spellbound is beyond belief, but actor and songwriter In-Q was masterful. His work of rhythmic artistry is unique as evidenced on his poetry CD “When Two Worlds Collide.” Watch his remarkable performance starting Monday at OneNight.OneDrop.org.

There’s another way to give. Go to CharityBuzz.com/OneDrop to see the 35-plus auction items Guy’s team assembled. Prince Albert contributed a Chopard watch, Roberto a couture gown, Lamborghini a $500,000 Aventador, Jay Leno a tour of his private car collection, Guy the keys to his $100,000-a-week Hawaiian mansion and Cirque two tickets to the “Michael Jackson One” premiere in June.

Krista said: “We set out to celebrate Earth as an artistic creation highlighting water as the essence of life within Earth’s ecosystem. We were charged to raise awareness of water-related issues and reverse the world’s growing water crisis. It was a very simple message for a very difficult problem. We hope that by next week’s global broadcast to have achieved that around the world.

“Then we start our minds thinking for the next one a year from now.”

One Drop is a nonprofit created by Guy working to secure water access by implementing integrated water projects around the world. Guy summed up: “Our mission is to ensure that water is accessible to all today and forever. We intend to do just that.”

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.

Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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