In August 2006, Absinthe® debuted at NYC’s historic South Street Seaport. For three summers, we transformed Pier 17 into a spectacular carnival of wonders, with a century-old Belgian spiegeltent, restaurant, hammock garden, outdoor bars, VIP cabanas, late night music programming and even a silent disco. An instant hit, Absinthe was also briefly presented in South Beach, Miami and at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne before finding a permanent home at Caesars Palace in 2011.
In 2007, we partnered with our friends at Montreal’s acclaimed The 7 Fingers to produce a new show for our second summer on Pier 17. Set in an imaginary purgatory where sinners had to tumble, juggle, climb, fly, sing or joke their way out of Hell, La Vie went on to tour internationally until 2013.
Created in 2008 for our final season at the soon-to-be-demolished Pier 17, the “theatro-batic” Désir was set in a 1920s French nightclub with characters inspired by icons of the era including Josephine Baker, Raymonde de La Rouche, Mistinguett and Joseph Pilates. The creative team included director Wayne Harrison, choreographer John “Cha Cha” O’Connell and costume designer David Quinn, with extra dazzle provided by Paris jewelry house Boucheron, who dressed the performers in luxe baubles on loan from their pop-up shipping container shop beside the spiegeltent.
Also making its debut in 2008, Gazillionaire’s Late Nite Lounge was a no-holds-barred comedy lab for its cantankerous host, The Gazillionaire. Assisted by his delightfully ditzy assistant, Penny, and house band, Fish Circus, Gaz treated audiences to an anarchic, 80-minute roller coaster ride of variety acts, mystery guests and notoriously unpredictable audience participation segments. One of which, “What Would You Do For A Dollar?,” continues to delight—or terrorize, depending on your appetite for cringe—Absinthe audiences to this day.
Hosted by emcee Oscar, his wife, Fanny, and starring Tony award-winner Lena Hall (Hedwig & the Angry Inch, Snowpiercer), Empire debuted May 2012 in a stunning, century-old spiegeltent set up on an empty Times Square parking lot. Inspired by the eccentric character—and characters—of New York City, the show’s creative team included director Wayne Harrison, choreographer John “Cha Cha” O’Connell, costume designer Angus Strathie, set designer Josh Zangen and music producer Jamie Siegel. Empire later toured Australia, New Zealand, Japan and North America.
Our first foray into fully-customized (non-spiegeltent) experience design, Vegas Nocturne was presented in three distinct cantos over seven hours, during which the eccentric Falzone-Buzukhov family, their servants and entourage would move through the restaurant, nightclub, showroom, cocktail bars and secret spaces of Rose. Rabbit. Lie. at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas presenting comedy, acrobatics, burlesque, dance and live music.
Premiering New Year’s Eve 2013, Vegas Nocturne opened to rave reviews… and closed six months later. In the years since, we’ve continued to mount smaller-scale workshops of the show in Los Angeles, New York City and Edinburgh, where it was voted ‘Strangest Show’ during a four-week run at Edinburgh Festival Fringe.