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Behind the Curtain With “Mad Apple” in Las Vegas

We talked with the Artistic Director of Cirque du Soleil's "Mad Apple" about the stunning new production at New York-New York Hotel & Casino.

When Mad Apple debuted last spring in Las Vegas, the new show brought a unique edge to Cirque du Soleil’s renowned roster of high-quality productions. The show blends the classic elements of Cirque du Soleil’s traditional acrobatics with modern music and comedic performances. “Mad Apple is New York City’s wildest night out in Las Vegas, presented at New York-New York Hotel & Casino,” Mad Apple Artistic Director, Pierre Parisien, told us. “It is packed with acrobatics, singers, and dancers; there’s truly something for everyone here. It’s the perfect combination of the extraordinary creativity of Cirque du Soleil and the madness that is Vegas. This is a show created to bring people together with the magnetism and intensity of New York City!”

See the Best of NYC at Mad Apple in Las Vegas

Taking over the former stage of Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity (which closed permanently during the COVID-19 lockdown), Mad Apple makes the entire showroom its stage. “Vincent Schonbrodt, the theatre designer, envisioned Mad Apple embodying all of the fun, unique sides of New York City, from the underground Brooklyn subways to Luxurious 5th Avenue highrises,” Parisien explained. “One of the most prominent changes is the addition of the Mad Apple Bar, front and center stage. The bar, a character in itself, is the first thing you see when you walk into the bustling theater as it resembles a skyscraper in the iconic city and transforms into the stage as soon as the lights begin to dim. New York City is bursting with amazing architectural designs, so it only makes sense for iron and metal accents to be prominent in the theater. Lady Liberty’s steel crown sits righteously above the stage as an homage to the glorious city throughout the performance. The new industrial details will have you feeling like the first time you set foot in NYC.” 

"Mad Apple's" Basketball Dunkers Las Vegas | WHERE Traveler®
"Mad Apple's" Basketball Dunkers (©Denise Truscello for Getty Images)

Unlike most other Cirque du Soleil productions, Mad Apple utilizes English as its main language instead of the troupe’s usual “cirquish.” Several comedians are also part of the show’s talent roster, which is a new element. “Cirque du Soleil is constantly seeing how we can create something extraordinary and innovative to reach new audiences and continue to wow fans alike,” Parisien said of the comedic element. “Las Vegas is a unique place, always filled with people from all over the world; we wanted a show that everyone could enjoy with a different twist. It just made sense for comedy to be a new element that we could experiment with. We also wanted to shine a spotlight on individual talents, which isn’t something Cirque du Soleil has done often in the past by offering a comic presence.”

Performer at "Mad Apple" Las Vegas | WHERE Traveler®
Performer at "Mad Apple" (©Denise Truscello for Getty Images)

Another new element that can be found in Mad Apple is the high level of visibility for the show’s musicians. “We have live music on the majority of our shows,” Parisien told us. “In Mad Apple, the band themselves are on full display, in their own dedicated environment over the stage. They bring another level of energy and personality that are able to interact with the artists as they perform. The show is constantly moving, there’s always something to be entertained by, and the band is the piece that helps keep a cohesive rhythm that blends the show’s dynamic acts together.”

“Additionally, the team wanted to make sure the audience is always engaged with clever, jaw-dropping acts and catchy music that makes you want to dance. We wanted the performance to highlight individual acts and artists honing their skills in a performance by themselves, but all together, it creates this amazing piece. It wouldn’t be the same without every single one of our acts, as New York wouldn’t be the same without all of its different elements.”

Cast at "Mad Apple" Las Vegas | WHERE Traveler®
Cast at "Mad Apple" (©Denise Truscello for Getty Images)