MGM Mirage Plans Singapore Cirque du Soleil - Thursday 16th of March 2006

by Howard Stutz

Las Vegas Gaming Wire

LAS VEGAS MGM Mirage announced in Singapore today that it will include a permanent Cirque du Soleil show as part of the hotel-casino it hopes to build in Singapore.

The casino company is vying for the right to develop the Asian city-state's first gaming destination.

MGM Mirage's announcement came two days after rival casino operator Harrah's Entertainment said it would build a 1 million square foot "urban theme park" to accompany a Caesars-brand resort proposed for the Marina Bayfront in Singapore. The Caesars property will feature movie-themed attractions created by Academy Award-winning film director James Cameron.

MGM Mirage has four Cirque du Soleil at properties in Las Vegas and a fifth scheduled to open this year. MGM Mirage said Cirque du Soleil, a Montreal-based entertainment company, has signed an exclusive agreement to create a show specifically for Singapore as part of MGM Mirage's proposal.

"Cirque du Soleil's innovative entertainment plays a significant role in our company's reputation for presenting the best possible entertainment available at our Las Vegas resorts," MGM Mirage Chairman Terry Lanni said in a statement. "Our two companies have accomplished some amazing things together and Cirque enthusiastically agreed to join us in our commitment to make Singapore Asia's new entertainment capital."

MGM Mirage officials said a resident Cirque du Soleil show would enhance the company's proposal. The officials say they think the show's avant-garde acrobats and clowns would draw both residents and tourists to the project.

MGM Mirage said Singapore locals have bought more than 250,000 tickets to past Cirque du Soleil performances in the city.

Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Lalibert; said a production would be created with Asian traveler in mind.

"We are confident a resident show in Singapore will quickly prove itself a powerful tourist draw, even more so than our successful touring shows," Lalibert; said. "It will become a new, world-class landmark on the Singapore entertainment scene."

Cirque du Soleil, first developed in 1984, will present 13 shows simultaneously throughout the world this year. In Las Vegas, Cirque du Soleil has four permanent shows: Ka at MGM Grand; "O" at Bellagio; Zumanity, at New York-New York; and Mystyre at Treasure Island. A fifth show, based on the music of the Beatles, is scheduled to open this summer at The Mirage.

The Singapore Tourism Board has asked companies to submit plans for the Marina Bayfront, one of two sites the government has designated for gaming resort development, by March 29. A winner is expected to be announced by June.

A second resort site is on Sentosa Island. The proposal period is expected to begin soon for that location and would close approximately four months after the Marina Bayfront bid is awarded.

MGM Mirage is in partnership for its proposal with CapitaLand, Southeast Asia's largest developer.

Harrah's and Keppel Land are submitting joint proposals for two integrated resorts, one for each site. Las Vegas Sands Corp. is the third Strip gaming operator bidding on the project. A fourth bid is coming jointly from Singapore's Genting International and Star Cruises.

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