LAS VEGAS – If you've ever wanted to dive into the Octopus's Garden or meet a psychedelic Sgt. Pepper, the creators of a new Beatles-themed Cirque du Soleil show are offering a little help from their friends.
The theatrical interpretation, "Love," is based on 130 songs and song fragments. It debuts at The Mirage hotel-casino in June and takes audiences through a dreamlike journey that tracks the Fab Four's career.
In a sneak preview May 24, producers showed a glimpse of the journey, with aerial acrobats and dancers in extravagant costumes moving to such songs as "Octopus's Garden," "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and "Lady Madonna."
A creator, Dominic Champagne, called it "a rock 'n' roll poem" that doesn't feature images of the Beatles but attempts through dance and imagery to interpret the lyrics of their songs.
"We dreamed how would we treat 'Eleanor Rigby'? How would we treat Sgt. Pepper? How would we go into 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds'?" Champagne said. "How would we please the Beatles' fans by doing a show with the Beatles, without the Beatles? And we decided to proceed by evocation."
In "Lucy," a female acrobat dangles from a looped trapeze while tiny firefly-like lights flash in mid-air. "Lady Madonna" features a group tap dancing and shuffling in yellow rain boots, while "Octopus's Garden" figuratively submerges the audience under water with human-sized jellyfish and squid dangling above the stage.
Another creator, Guy Laliberte, who began the project through a personal friendship with the late George Harrison, said many of the visuals, just like the Beatles' lyrics, are open to interpretation.
"We're just there to propose many doors of a journey to people and it's up to the public to decide what they want to live as an experience," he said.
The show is the first major theatrical partnership for the Beatles' Apple Corps Ltd. and Cirque du Soleil, a surrealist international circus troupe based in Montreal, Quebec. Cirque performs four other shows on the Las Vegas Strip.
The collaboration began in 2002 and resulted in the $130 million reconstruction of The Mirage's Siegfried & Roy showroom into a 2,013-seat theater in the round with more than 6,000 stereo speakers.
The Beatles' producer, Sir George Martin, and his son, Giles Martin, worked on the music.
"The whole idea behind what we did with the music was to try and make people listen again as opposed to taking the songs for granted," Giles Martin said. "We wanted it to be like a performance again for the Beatles, and not just playing CDs."
Preview performances are scheduled for June 2 through June 29. A grand opening is planned for June 30, with surviving Beatles Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, along with John Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, and Harrison's widow, Olivia Harrison, expected to attend.