Cirque and Life is Beautiful Make Memorable Moments Together

A look back at the beautiful pairing

September 16, 2019

Courtesy of Life Is Beautiful

The most memorable moments at Life is Beautiful are the ones that can’t be replicated anywhere else. Sure, a band will play the same songs at another festival, but they’ll never be able to do it with some of the best acrobats, aerialists, and dancers in the world.

Since launching in 2013, Life is Beautiful has partnered with Cirque du Soleil to create unforgettable experiences, from street shows during the inaugural festival to a collaborative performance with rock band Walk the Moon scheduled for this weekend.

The unique pairing is the brainchild of Craig Nyman, Life is Beautiful’s head of music and live performances. His relationship with Cirque du Soleil dates back 15 years, when he worked as a publicist for Kirvin Doak Communications and helped open several shows in Las Vegas for the entertainment company. When it came time to plan the first Life is Beautiful in 2013, Nyman thought, “There’s no way I’m not reaching out to Cirque to be a part of it.”

To his surprise, the Cirque team was on board with what Nyman thought were “crazy ideas.”

In 2013, Nyman’s ideas resulted in all seven Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil shows performing stripped-down versions throughout the day on Fremont Street, with Michael Jackson ONE on the main stage. “It was like being on the Main Street parade at Disney World,” Nyman says.

The next year, Life is Beautiful and Cirque du Soleil went even bigger. Nyman had the idea of pairing the Las Vegas Philharmonic with the Beatles LOVE cast on stage. It began with the Philharmonic playing Beatles classics by themselves. A few songs in, the stage erupted with dancers flying above the musicians for a full-on, wholly Las Vegas spectacle. 

“It was one of the most amazing moments ever for me,” Nyman says. “That caries me every year.”

While Cirque du Soleil took a break in 2015, the company returned in 2016 and went back to its year one roots, with cast members from all of the Las Vegas shows performing on the intersection of 8th and Ogden streets. 

In 2017, Cirque du Soleil wanted to do something different, creating a custom act for the main stage that incorporated elements from its various shows, including the teeterboard act from Mystere and the finale from The Beatles LOVE

Last year, Nyman had the idea of pairing The Beatles LOVE cast with Foster the People, who closed their set with a cover of “Hey Jude.” It was a beautiful tribute to one of, if not the greatest, bands in the history of music.

Though Nyman can’t give away too many details, this year’s Cirque du Soleil performance with Walk the Moon will leave you “mesmerized.” For the routine, multiple cast members from various Cirque du Soleil shows will join Walk the Moon when they perform their ecstatic 2017 hit “One Foot.” 

Frontman Nicholas Petricca is a longtime fan of Cirque du Soleil, and Nyman said it made sense to partner the two together. He’s been thinking about it since November, painting a picture in his head of what it could look like on stage. “You go into it with the thought of music and the acts,” Nyman says. “We want it to be as great and as tight as possible.”

It’s these moments that make Life is Beautiful stand out, creating something truly unique for festivalgoers, both local and tourists, and highlighting the magic of our city.

“It’s easy to be blind or jaded to the talent we have here,” Nyman says. “We in a way take it for granted because it’s here every day but to others, it’s why they come to Vegas. If we can bring an element of that to the festival and have fans experience it, we’re showing them the best of what Las Vegas has to offer.”