The cast members in Cirque du Soleil shows perform such otherworldly, superhuman feats of artistry, you sometime forget that these people are, well, people.
Audience members were reminded of the real, human risk in these unreal shows Wednesday night when a performer in “Michael Jackson One” at Mandalay Bay fell to the stage and was taken away in a wheelchair.
Cirque is declining to release the name of the performer, saying they are "not allowed by law" to identify artists injured while on the job. But officials did confirm reports from audience members that an aerial artist in the “Stranger in Moscow” number slipped free of the “slack rope” he uses in the acrobatic act high above his fellow performers and dropped to the stage.
He missed the spongy mat placed below the number and hit headfirst on the hardened stage.
The house lights came up immediately as the performer was prone on the stage, not moving, for several minutes. To allay confusion from the audience, an announcement was made that there would be a delay in the production while the artist was evaluated.
Stagehands surrounded the performer, a gurney and a wheelchair were brought to the stage, and the artist was taken away in the wheelchair. He was conscious, and the show resumed after the incident.
Today, a Cirque spokeswoman said the performer is expected to return to the performance, and the act is still in the show. In an email response regarding he incident, she said: “All the safety procedures were taken in support of the artist to ensure that he was quickly evaluated and taken care of. He was conscious and wheel-chaired off-stage. He was assessed by our medical personnel and was sent to a hospital for evaluation. He is now back home and resting and is suffering from a mild concussion. We are all relieved.”
The incident occurred during one of the final preview shows for the highly anticipated production. The production that replaced "Disney's The Lion King" at Mandalay Bay Theater celebrates it world premiere Saturday night.