Favorite moments from favorite Cirque du Soleil shows

Zarkana” by Cirque du Soleil.
Cirque du Soleil

Now that Zarkana has arrived in Las Vegas, the Weekly team took some time to reminisce on our own personal greatest hits from Cirque de Soleil experiences over the years.

My favorite moment: Mystére. Part of really enjoying a show is the way you feel before the show starts. In a brilliant bit of comedy, a few performers posed as ushers, showing people to the wrong seats then appearing to tear up their tickets, only to have an actual usher "rescue" them. What really made this bit funny was knowing that some unsuspecting customer was next, and watching the looks on their faces, wondering why the crowd was laughing. It happened several times, and it never got old. And it made the show that followed that much more enjoyable.—Ken Miller

At one point in O, when all the majestic Dr. Seussian characters are prancing from one side of the stage to the other—I'm thinking about the marathon Mozart guys here—I remember thinking to myself, I wish my life had such purpose. Seriously, these guys were marching back and forth with such authority that it made me jealous. Now, I have absolutely no idea where they were going or why, but it didn't matter. They had a definite purpose within the world of O, and they were fulfilling it. Cirque creates beautiful worlds in which everything is extraordinary and new, and yet fully understandable. We have no idea what's going on, yet we know precisely what's going on. Everyone has a part to play. Everyone fits in, one way or another. At least, that's how it feels when I watch O and KA. I hope I feel the same at Zarkana.—Rick Lax

Cirque du Soleil's "Mystere" at Treasure Island.

Cirque du Soleil's "Mystere" at Treasure Island.

My first Cirque experience was also my first Vegas experience. I was turning 25, and my mom and sister sprung for airfare and tickets to Mystère. We walked in the dark, in insane May heat, from our cheap hotel to the cool stillness of TI’s theater. I remember the entire show being beautiful, but the only image that’s still sharp all these years later is the bodies of two men braided in an impossibly slow acrobatic ballet. Single palm to single palm, one lifted the other into ghostly light. I actually stopped breathing. But I have never stopped marveling.—Erin Ryan

Although it was a cold one on December 17, 2008, one thing was definitely burning: the ticket in my pocket for The Beatles LOVE. I’m guessing a few fireplaces were en fuego as well—that was the day the Valley got pummeled with record snowfall, which prompted my friends and I to call a cab to the Mirage. About halfway into the ride, our taxi driver suggested we enhance our tour through the city’s winter wonderland with a few beers. Was this guy reading my mind? Only in Vegas do the cabbies also play the roles of party ambassadors and booze concierges. So we arrived at the Mirage, buzzed and beers in hand, and headed directly for the showroom. We grabbed a couple Newcastle Brown Ales (in honor of the British Invasion, of course) and nestled into our seats just moments before the show began. Although I had a few, rest assured: Lucy wasn’t in the sky with diamonds. That’s probably a good thing, too, as the show was a stunning spectacle and a magical end to a magical evening. Warm and cozy, sipping on an English beer, enjoying the company of friends? I think the Beatles would have approved.—Mark Adams

When we went to see KA, my first Vegas Cirque show, my boyfriend and I splurged on the large drinks they sell in the lobby. I settled on a giant margarita in a cup that dwarfs a Super Big Gulp. I only made it a few sips in before I gave up. Throughout the show, my boyfriend managed to finish it, along with his own colossal drink. We were seated in the middle of a row with no hope for a mid-show bathroom dash. He was in such urgent need that as the show ended, during the applause, he was already untucking his shirt and loosening his belt. The ushers had seen this phenomenon before and were already directing him to the bathroom as he nearly bowled people over to leave the theater. We now refer to the dire need of a restroom as “KA levels” of having to pee.—Allison Duck

Mystère at Treasure Island is my first Cirque du Soleil show and remains my favorite—you never forget your first. It’s inventive, captivating from start to finish, and most importantly, whimsical. And yet with the death last month of “big baby” Francois Dupuis, who was with the show since its 1993 premiere in his diaper and bonnet, my memories of Mystère are now tinged with a little sadness. RIP, baby.—Don Chareunsy


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