Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity Closes for Good

Vegas Staple Show is no more on the heels of Cirque Bankruptcy Filing

Vegas economy affected by COVID-19 blogUnfortunately, a chapter of Las Vegas history is ending as Cirque du Soleil has announced it will be permanently closing its show, Zumanity. The show is based at the New York New York hotel on the Las Vegas strip. Zumanity is performed in a theater that seats 1,260 people, and has been performed more than 7,700 times over the course of 17 years. In total, more than 7.25 million people have viewed Zumanity. The show, which premiered first in September 2003, performed its final show on March 14, 2020 before pandemic stay at home orders forced much of the Strip to close.

When it first opened in 2003, Zumanity was unique to the Cirque du Soleil brand in that the show had an erotic focus and was meant for adults only. Zumanity combined music, dance, and acrobatics with a sensual spin. Cirque du Soleil’s founder Guy Laliberte came up with the concept to avoid competition with the brand’s other shows, as well as to create a “trendy” vibe for New York New York. The costumes for the show were at the same time extravagant, while provocative, with some performers appearing nearly nude or with nude illusions. These costumes were designed by Thierry Mugler, a fashion designer whose sexy designs began to reach a wider audience after Kim Kardashian wore a dripping wet illusion dress he designed to the Met Gala.

Despite millions of audience members enjoying Zumanity’s risque performances, the legendary show wasn’t impervious to the economic fallout caused by the coronavirus pandemic. On March 15, 2020, Cirque du Soleil was forced to close all of its shows due to COVID-19 precautions. Ten days later, the company laid off approximately 3,500 employees. On June 29, 2020, Cirque du Soleil filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company, which had been successful for 36 years, reported having almost $1 billion in debt. Cirque du Soleil has 16 current shows, and 2 more that are due to be released in the future.

Cirque du Soleil’s shows, while artistic and entertaining, are clearly a nonessential service subject to shutdowns during the pandemic. Not only that, but customers are reluctant to spend time in enclosed, air conditioned areas. Millions of Americans filed for unemployment during the pandemic, signaling that expensive circus-style entertainment will be low on most people’s priorities for the foreseeable future. While a great portion of Cirque du Soleil customers are undoubtedly tourists and visitors, Las Vegas suffered some of the worst economic effects due to COVID-19 in the country. At its peak, unemployment reached rates of 30% and higher in areas of Nevada.

Many Las Vegas Cirque Employees Laid Off

While layoffs have helped Cirque du Soleil resolve budget discrepancies during the pandemic, they have done nothing to help Nevada’s overall employment rate. Cirque du Soleil previously had 6 shows on the Las Vegas Strip. O at the Bellagio, KA at MGM Grand, The Beatles LOVE at the Mirage, Michael Jackson ONE at Mandalay Bay, and Mystere at Treasure Island have all extended their contracts, but shows have not yet resumed. While not a Cirque du Soleil show, Wynn Las Vegas has permanently shut down its similar show, Le Reve.

Closing Zumanity and filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy doesn’t mean the end for Cirque du Soleil. Chapter 11 bankruptcy is a unique option for businesses in that they can continue to operate during and after the bankruptcy. Some businesses may also qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which discharges unsecured nonpriority debts in a fairly quick and simple process, but it requires the company to shut its doors for good. There are Chapter 11 provisions for smaller businesses, but it is frequently used by large companies with assets and debts that can be measured in millions. When a company declares Chapter 11 bankruptcy, it must devise a plan to restructure its debts. This plan must be approved by a committee of the company’s top creditors. If the creditor committee disapproves of the plan, they can submit their own. Once the company and the creditor committee have agreed upon a plan, it can be approved by the court.

While some companies do file Chapter 11 to facilitate going out of business, there are a few common methods businesses use to make a debt restructuring plan and emerge from bankruptcy. Sometimes, the company will simply convert its creditors debts into ownership shares. The company may sell to a new owner entirely, or it may find new investors and financing. The company could close locations, sell inventory and equipment, or strategize the business. Or, the company can do some combination of these things. There is no set time frame for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, so the company can emerge from bankruptcy fairly quickly if the creditor committee approves of the restructuring plan.

Future of Cirque du Soleil Up in the Air

While Cirque du Soleil has not indicated that it will be closing any other Las Vegas shows, as a result of the bankruptcy filing or simple contract expiration, this is not a guarantee that the remaining Cirque du Soleil shows on the Strip will survive the pandemic. Park MGM and Las Vegas Sands have announced that they will now be closed from Mondays at noon until Thursdays at noon because of reduced business travelers during the pandemic. Should other hotels follow suit, this won’t bode well for Las Vegas Strip entertainment.

Le Reve and Zumanity both Closed After Cirque Bankruptcy

Sadly, Le Reve and Zumanity are among the first to fall victim to the pandemic, and likely won’t be the last. Those who have previously purchased tickets for future Zumanity shows can contact Cirque du Soleil for refunds. If you are struggling with debts due to the coronavirus pandemic, Chapter 11 might not be a viable option for you, but there are other chapters of bankruptcy available. Contact our Nevada Bankruptcy office if you’d like to consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney about Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Nevada and Nevada Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings . Learn the benefits, disadvantages, and your eligibility for bankruptcy, at no obligation to you. Our free bankruptcy consultations can also be held over the phone if that is more convenient for you.  Call our Las Vegas bankruptcy attorneys at (702) 899-3328 today.

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