Tuesday, March 25, 2014 | 2 a.m.
A record-breaking $6 million was raised for Guy Laliberte’s One Drop Foundation from the World Water Day festivities that were highlighted with the spectacular one-night-only performance of “One Night for One Drop” at Mandalay Bay on Friday night.
Cast members, technicians and backstage workers from all eight Cirque du Soleil shows on the Strip took part in the all-volunteer effort for the “One Thought, One World” production choreographed and directed by Mukhtar O.S. Mukhtar from Cirque’s “The Beatles Love” at the Mirage.
“It was an amazing night,” Las Vegas-based Jerry Nadal, senior VP of resident shows worldwide, told me. “We set a very high bar with the first ‘One Drop’ show last year (in “O” theater at Bellagio), and we surpassed it. Everybody was ecstatic with its success.
“We raised more money in ticket sales. We raised more in the auction. Our turnout was higher all round, and the initial total looks like a $6 million record.
“This show proved that we have no shortage of talent here in Las Vegas. We will select a new choreographer and director within the next month for next year’s third show. Guy and his entire Montreal team said that they couldn’t have asked for better — everything was flawless.
“With all the moving parts and people volunteering while still doing their regular shows, you would have thought something would easily have gone wrong. But everything was flawless.”
Our news coverage of a third show, along with the dress rehearsal at Michael Jackson One Theater, blue carpet arrivals at nearby Aureole and show photo galleries, was posted earlier today.
The four-act, 93-minute production told the story of the desertification of our world and the search for water. Mukhtar showed the struggles of Earth’s “Call for Help” in the “Walk for Water” and “Search for Rain” segments. He brought to life the inner innocence of childhood with a dream sequence that “Crystalized” with violin genius Lindsey Stirling of YouTube fame.
The third act was titled “Oasis” and featured spectacular acrobatics by trampoline artists through rain and a waterfall in the water celebration titled “Dripping Strings.”
Guest performers The Tenors took part in the second act of “City & Technology,” proving the “Power of Music“ and also closed the show with “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen for the “New Birth” signaling “The Future of Our Planet” as the theme of the fourth act.
Spoken-word poet In-Q mesmerized the audience with his “Mirrors” speech. Musical composer Nick Littlemore created the music for the amazing aerial duet “Rae.” There were incredible contortionists, taiko drummers, gymnastics, aerial artists, a wickedly suggestive yoga instructor and a tall, stacked chair balancer.
It’s sad in a sense that the show was only for one night because there were so many happenings onstage and within the theater, it was impossible to absorb it all. Thankfully, TV cameras recorded it, and we’ll get the opportunity to see it online next month. I will share the details and dates when we learn them.
The global philanthropy production taught us that one person can make a difference and help change the world by working with others to protect our earth to ensure a better world for the next generation.
The production showed us that Cirque has extraordinarily talented and creative people who volunteered their time over five months to support their fearless leader by changing a life, a community and a country to provide access to water.
As Guy pointed out, there are still 800 million people around the world who struggle to survive due to poor access to water. He estimated that by the end of 2014, all of his One Drop programs combined will have helped transform the lives of more than 1 million people.
The problem is no longer over there. It’s now here. Water gets scarcer by the moment at our Lake Mead and for our neighboring farmers in California. The One Drop Foundation helps support our Springs Preserve and its water education programs.
I talked with Siegfried & Roy at the pre-reception in Aureole, and they have contributed a surprising auction item for our Keep Memory Alive gala in April. They will invite the winning bidder and 11 of their friends for a tour of their stunning Jungle Palace estate with its menagerie of animals, followed by a star chef-catered dinner party. The winner leaves with a couple of Siegfried magic trick secrets.
I was dwarfed by the height of U.S. Olympic rowing gold-medal-winning athletes Esther Lofgren and Susan Francis. They let me hold the Olympic gold medals, and I was surprised at how heavy they are.
At the after-party in Moorea Beach Club, where the pool was covered with a carpeted Plexiglas floor, my friends The Tenors told me that they’d been invited by Cirque to travel South America and other countries with the touring shows.
They posed with the new electric Formula E car that will race next February in Los Angeles and Miami next March as part of its inaugural 10-city global championship. The car is capable of reaching 0-100 mph in less than three seconds with a top speed of 220 mph. Richard Branson, Leonardo DiCaprio and Michael Andretti are three of the famous team owners.
Singer Clifton Murray reintroduced me to his mom and dad, Deborah and Craig, who I interviewed 25 years ago on “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous” at their Nimmo Bay wilderness adventure resort in the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia.
It was a wonderful reunion and the perfect way to end an extraordinary night that will have positive repercussions around the world for years to come. It could only happen with the unbelievable magic mix of Cirque du Soleil and Las Vegas.
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.
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