The international circus phenomenon Cirque du Soleil has filed for bankruptcy earlier today. The Montreal-based company made the move “in response to immense disruption and forced show closures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic." Cirque du Soleil furloughed nearly 4,700 employees since March due to the coronavirus' spread and being unable to put on their shows as expected. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the company's bankruptcy filing and restructuring will likely see the company undergo new ownership before the end of the year. The price for the company itself was not disclosed but they're currently saddled with nearly $1 billion in debts.
"For the past 36 years, Cirque du Soleil has been a highly successful and profitable organization," president and CEO of Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group Daniel Lamarre said in a statement. "However, with zero revenues since the forced closure of all of our shows due to COVID-19, management had to act decisively to protect the Company’s future."
Before the global pandemic, Cirque du Soleil operated 44 shows around the world with six shows operating out of Las Vegas alone (these include Michael Jackson ONE at the Mandalay Bay, The Beatles LOVE at The Mirage, “O” at the Bellagio, Mystère at Treasure Island, Zumanity at New York-New York, and KA at the MGM Grand). Another famous Vegas act operated by Cirque du Soleil is the world famous Blue Man Group who are wrapped up in these legal proceedings as well.
For those worried this might mean the end of the company or that any of Cirque du Soleil's programming in Vegas will be gone, there's hope yet.
"As Cirque's largest global partner, MGM Resorts understands that this is a difficult time for the entertainment industry, including Cirque," George Kliavkoff, President of Entertainment & Sports, MGM Resorts wrote in a company memo. "Impacted Cirque employees have received notification and information directly from Cirque about their options. At present, we do not believe Cirque's filing will impact our ability to restart our shows when appropriate and call you back to work. However, the decision to reinstate entertainment at our properties will continue to be driven by health and safety mandates and guidelines established by government agencies and by business demand."
Founded in 1984, Cirque du Soleil became an international success story by becoming a unique and colorful circus act with no animals and focusing almost exclusively on acrobats, jugglers, dancers, fire breathers, and musicians.
(Cover photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
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