ABSINTHE – THE EARLY YEARS
Before Absinthe became the long-running Vegas hit show that it is, Spiegelworld premiered the first incarnation in our spiegeltent on Pier 17, New York City, during the summer of 2006. Looking out across the East River in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge, we filled our spectacular site with an adult carnival playground of outdoor bars, restaurant, VIP cabanas, late night music program, hammock garden and even a silent disco. That first season in 2006 featured many of the greatest circus variety artists from around the world including Bath Boy David O’Mer who returned to our Las Vegas production in 2015. An instant hit with New Yorkers, we brought Absinthe back to the pier for the 2007 and 2008 summer seasons. The show was also presented at Miami Beach from December 2007 to February 2008. In January 2009, Spiegelworld was invited to present Absinthe at the Australian Open as part of the live entertainment program enhancing the grand slam tennis tournament in Melbourne. In April 2011, Absinthe found its permanent home in our spiegeltent outside Caesars Palace Las Vegas. A second production of Absinthe toured Australia in 2015 and played a 3 month season at LA Live in downtown Los Angeles in 2016.
In 2007 Spiegelworld commissioned our friends from Montreal’s acclaimed circus company Les Sept Doigts de le Main (Seven Fingers) to create a brand new show for our second summer season on Pier 17 in New York City. La Vie was set in an imaginary purgatory where the sinners attempted to tumble, juggle, climb, fly, sing or joke their way out of hell. Seven Fingers went on to tour the show internationally until 2013.
“A stroll down a former fish market alley past lined-up garbage bins takes you to an enchanting only-in-Manhattan spot, with perhaps the city’s finest unobstructed view of the Brooklyn Bridge. Outdoor tables and a bar lead to an authentic Spiegeltent, an elaborate wood-paneled mirror-tent. Proximity makes it a reach-out-and-touch-them presentation, or rather, sit back and get sprinkled with sweat. The many aerial acts swing right above the audience members’ heads, trance-like performers go catapulting off the circular stage, with nothing to stop them other than the people ringed in the front row.” – Variety, July 9, 2007
In 2008, Spiegelworld produced another brand new show for its final New York City summer season, just before Pier 17 was due to be demolished. This ‘theatro-batic’ show was set backstage in a 1920s French nightclub with characters inspired by the trailblazers of the time including Josephine Baker, Raymonde de Laroche, Mistinguett and Joseph Pilates. The creative team included director Wayne Harrison, choreographer John ‘Cha Cha’ O’Connell and costume designer David Quinn. The performers wore the dazzling jewelry of Paris jewelry house Boucheron who set up a pop-up store in a shipping container right next to the spiegeltent.
“The cast members exude irresistible narcissism found in self-aware beauties and star athletes as they go through their often jaw-dropping paces. More than any show in New York I can think of, Desir, with its cavalcade of professional beauties, does inspire thoughts of a time when well-dressed admirers queued up at dressing room doors bearing gifts of flowers and jewelry.” – Ben Brantley, The New York Times, August 19, 2008
GAZILLIONAIRE’S LATE NIGHT LOUNGE
In 2008, Spiegelworld added a second smaller spiegeltent to our Pier 17 site in New York City. Gazillionaire’s Late Night Lounge was created by Spiegelworld as a no-holds-barred variety show laboratory for its host The Gazillionaire, supported by his assistant Penny Pibbets, house band Fish Circus and an array of different special guests each evening. The show became infamous for its increasingly outrageous audience participation segment ‘What Would You Do For A Dollar?’ which The Gazillionaire eventually ripped off for the current Las Vegas production of Absinthe.
“One of the most creatively dangerous and funniest live entertainment experiences in New York City right now… An improvised and totally unpredictable assault on the late night variety show format… dives head first into the shallow end of the cesspool of social taboos.” – Broadway World, October 1, 2008
By early 2012, Absinthe had been wowing Las Vegas audiences for almost one year, and it had been four years since our much-loved New York City site at Pier 17 had become a construction zone. We eventually found a perfect new site to produce a love letter to the city where it all began. Empire premiered in May 2012 in our spiegeltent on an unused car park right in Times Square. The show was inspired by the early days of vaudeville, the nightclubs of the East Village, and the eccentric characters in Times Square. Hosted by MC Oscar and his wife Fanny, characters included Gorilla Girls, Miss A in a Bubble, 3D Graffiti Guy, Lime Green Lady & Carrot Boy, and Half Naked Asian Dude Wearing Pigtails. Acts included banquine, german wheel, risley, hand to hand, and a breath-taking sanddorn branch balance. Live music was provided by singer Miss Purple and electric guitarist Moon Dog. The show was originally directed by Wayne Harrison and choreographed by John O’Connell, with the touring production re-imagined by director Terence O’Connell. The show has since toured Australia twice, as well as New Zealand, Japan, USA and Canada.
“Empire is one of the sharpest shows in the circus/vaudeville genre. Seeing it again after its Sydney debut last year, I found myself more entertained and more impressed.” – Sydney Morning Herald
Spiegelworld premiered Vegas Nocturne in January 2014 at Rose.Rabbit.Lie., a custom-designed venue which integrated bars, secret rooms, restaurant, showroom and nightclub, located within The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. With a cast of 38 performers, the show was presented in three distinct cantos over seven hours each evening, moving throughout the various spaces of the venue. The characters consisted of the Falzone-Buzukhov family, their servants and their entourage who presented an eccentric display of comedy, acrobatics, burlesque, dance and live music which increased in intensity as the night unfolded. The creative team included director Wayne Harrison, choreographers Lucas Newland, Dein Perry and Gideon Obarzanek, and costume designer Angus Strathie. The residency at Rose.Rabbit.Lie ran for seven months. Working with a variety of different creative teams, Spiegelworld has since presented further small-scale development seasons of Vegas Nocturne in Los Angeles, New York City and the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe Festival where it was voted “Strangest Show”. The survivors of the Falzone Family Circus even made a brief appearance at Burning Man 2018.
“Vegas Nocturne pushes – nay, blows right past – the boundaries of most Las Vegas productions.” – USA Today
“Disorientating, overwhelming and so much damn fun it feels like you must be getting away with something.” – Las Vegas Weekly