Mystère Las Vegas at Treasure Island was the first test run of Cirque Du Soleil Vegas. Cirque, which was a Canadian-based company who at the time only performed in tours, took up a residency in Sin City in December 1993. This partnership between Cirque and casinos was forged and Mystère quickly became one of the best shows in Las Vegas.
Mystère launched at a rather prophetic time. On December 25, 1993, Cirque du Soleil was approaching its 10th anniversary. Steve Wynns glorious new casino Treasure Island was a ridiculously priced casino for the times and critics suspected it would fail. Both Cirque and Treasure Island were looking for a great draw, so the partnership came together very organically.
Cirque set up a permanent base for employees working in the Las Vegas area and history was made. No longer was a theatre company who traveled and performed in big tops, Franco Dragone, who was with Cirque at the time, able to use the set in ways that had never been possible before.
Critics expected Treasure Island to fail and Steve Wynn, the developer of the casino, expected Mystère to fail. Wynn, with a reputation for being a difficult business man was pessimistic about the shows future as soon as he saw the first performance. His is quoted as saying: You guys have made a German opera here.
Fortunately, Franco Dragone took Wynns sarcasm as a compliment. Wynn believed the dark and moody feel of Mystère was too intense and depressing for Las Vegas visitors and threatened to delay the shows opening unless changes were made. Changes were not made. Wynn still opened the show on Christmas Day. And to the shock and delight of all, Mystère was not only successful, but was very long term successful. It has remained at the Treasure Island to this day.
Mystère has a concept that explores the origins of life in our universe. It is artsy and beautiful, filled with acrobatics and costumes in sync with the staples Cirque shows are known for. (There is a reason Cirque is considered one of the best shows in Vegas!)
Cirque can be very subtle and I must admit that I caught some of the references such as the babies and growing into Adam and Eve however, reading a full review afterward was quite delightful. It explored areas that I did not catch on my own and I found it enhanced my overall experience.
The themes of Mystère involve mythologies from a variety of cultures. Surprisingly, many cultures have similar mythologies, which remind us how we are all one people. The music is very ethnic and keeps up with the theme, featuring styles from Peru, Africa, and Eastern Europe. The symbolism in this production is incredible. There is a snail who grows throughout the show. At the beginning the snail is small, but by the end, she is a giant inflatable puppet which takes four puppeteers to control from the inside. This show is about life and roots and growth and discovery.