Cirque du Soleil’s most amazing feat is its ability to create shows that still feel fresh and inspired—and in this case, edgy—no matter how long they’ve been present in the same venue.
“Zumanity” officially opened on September 20, 2003, in its own theater at the New York-New York casino, which had already been open for almost six years at that point. “Zumanity” was supposed be Cirque’s adult show, an erotic exploration of sexuality and love in all forms. Variety claimed the new show had a long way to go, admiring the overall production and individual performances but questioning whether original host Joey Arias and comedy troupe Spymonkey were a good fit with Cirque’s artistic leanings and a charmingly cozy, cabaret-style, 1,261-seat theater. Still, the show added an exciting new dimension to Cirque’s repertoire.
The current version of “Zumanity” feels warm and inclusive and still outrageously sexy, spiked with unexpected thrills among the beautiful allure. It’s one of the more affordable tickets among Cirque’s seven resident productions on the Strip, leading me to believe it may be the most overlooked and underappreciated show of them all.
Aerialists Brandon Pereyda, a Vegas native with a red mohawk who hangs and swings from a chain in daring, dangerous ways, and Alan J. Silva, a sixth-generation circus performer born in Brazil, provide exhilarating highlights and confident, mesmirizing projections of sexuality. Famed drag diva Christopher Kenney as your host Edie is naughty and nice but always uproarious. Acrobats, dancers, passionate combatants and contortionists share the stage, always provocative whether they’re topless or just teasing. The live band and stunning vocalists Corinne Zarzour and Paris Red add thick layers of mood.
It’s clear “Zumanity” has found a sweet spot since making some pretty big adjustments in 2015, adding new acts, costume changes from Thierry Mugler, choreography from Yanis Marshall and music from Simon Carpentier. If it’s still categorized simply as the sexy Cirque show, it needs a new label. This is one of the best overall shows on the Strip.
“Zumanity” is presented at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Friday through Tuesday at the New York-New York Hotel and Casino (370 Las Vegas Blvd. South, 702-740-6815) and more information can be found at cirquedusoleil.com.