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Randall's Island Park

The Daily Plant : Thursday, May 13, 2004

CIRQUE DU SOLEIL MESMERIZES NEW YORK CITY


Seen by more than 7 million people on four continents, Cirque du Soleil’s "Alegría" has returned to New York City to celebrate its tenth anniversary. Alegría premiered on May 6 under the blue and yellow Grand Chapiteau at Randall’s Island Park on Manhattan’s East River.

A Spanish word for elation, joy and jubilation, Alegría features an international cast of 59 performers and musicians from 16 countries. Alegría has a baroque, operatic style with flamboyant costumes, extraordinary lighting and an elaborate set design. The result is an impressive mix of skill, strength and speed combined with elegant performances.

The two-and-a-half hour spectacle showcases breathtaking acrobatics, including the Synchro Trapeze and the high-speed, high-energy Aerial High Bars, where daring aerialists fly to catchers swinging more than 40 feet in the air. The vibrancy of youth is alive in Fast Track, a display of synchronized choreography and tumbling achieved through a trampoline system that magically appears from within the set.

Alegría is the vision of a creative team led by Director Franco Dragone. Founded in Montreal in 1984 by street performer Guy Laliberté, Cirque du Soleil has wowed close to 40 million spectators around the world. Cirque du Soleil, a theatrical blend of circus arts played out against fairyland sets awash in magical effects and set to spellbinding music, is currently presenting nine shows on three continents.

On Sunday, May 16, in Randall’s Island Park, the Randall’s Island Sports Foundation (RISF) will hold a special matinee performance of Alegría for New Yorkers, their families, and children from RISF’s Kids Island Club, a free physical education program for over 7,000 East Harlem and South Bronx children. The event will be hosted by RISF Cirque du Soleil Family Benefit Chairs and the Board of Trustees. All benefit proceeds will go to RISF, a public-private partnership with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. Parks & Recreation, with the help of RISF, is developing the 480-acre Randall’s Island Park into a state-of-the-art sports and entertainment destination in New York City.

Estee Lauder spokesmodel Carolyn Murphy and Law & Order SVU’s Tamara Tunie will be Honorary Chairs of the 2004 Cirque du Soleil Family Benefit, and on May 16, RISF will dedicate a seat to Carolyn and Tamara in the new world-class Icahn Stadium in recognition of their support. Thanks to Gail and Carl Icahn’s recent $10 million gift, Icahn Stadium is expected to open in spring 2005.   Over 40 seats have been sold through RISF’s $5 million Take a Seat naming campaign, which provides a special opportunity to become a permanent fixture in sports history on the site where Jesse Owens won the Olympic trials and Pelé made his American debut.  Icahn Stadium is the first phase of RISF’s $400 million Management, Restoration and Development Plan, which includes a performing arts amphitheatre, a water park, additional sports fields, and a Gaelic Football stadium.  Icahn Stadium will be a premiere resource for New York City children to develop athletic skills, maintain good health, and realize their potential. For more information on purchasing tickets for this benefit, please contact RISF at 212-830-7722 or visit www.risf.org.

The regular performance schedule and tickets for Alegría can be accessed by visiting www.cirquedusoleil.com or by calling Admission Network at 1-800-678-5440.

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY

"Men cannot see their reflection in running water, but only in still water."

Chuang Tzu
Philosopher (c. 4th century BCE)

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