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Photo Coverage: BANANA SHPEEL Sneak Peek!

Cirque du Soleil and MSG Entertainment unveiled the brand new theatrical production, Banana Shpeel, at The Chicago Theatre. The show will perform for the first time ever at the theatre for a limited engagement from November 19, 2009 through January 3, 2010. Following Chicago, the show will premiere in New York at The Beacon Theatre in February 2010.

Tickets are available now for all performances and can be purchased at cirquedusoleil.com or thechicagotheatre.com. Regular ticket prices range from $23 to $98, with limited Premium and Tapis Rouge VIP Experience tickets also available.

Click here for more information. 

Banana Shpeel is a roller-coaster mix of styles that blends comedy with tap, hip hop, eccentric dance and slapstick, all linked by a narrative that ignites a succession of wacky adventures. This is not circus, or a musical or a variety show, or even vaudeville. It is Banana Shpeel!

Propelled by crazy humor and intense choreography, Banana Shpeel plunges us into the world of Schmelky, a cruel and irritable producer who dangles fame and fortune in front of Emmett, an innocent and romantic actor who has come to audition for him. Emmett soon finds himself trapped in a flamboyant, anarchic world where Schmelky sows terror and reigns supreme. Emmett falls in love with the beautiful Katie and meets a bunch of absurd characters, including the strange Banana Man. But who is this mysterious Banana Man and how can Emmett escape the clutches of Schmelky and his henchmen?

Banana Shpeel writer and director David Shiner started out as a mime in Paris. His career took off in 1984 when he was discovered at the renowned circus festival Cirque de Demain. Shiner later teamed up with Bill Irwin to create the wordless two-man show Fool Moon, which played from 1992 to 1999, including three Broadway runs. Fool Moon picked up numerous prizes, including a Tony Award, Drama Desk Award and an Outer Critics Circle Award. In 2007, Shiner directed his first Cirque du Soleil production, the big top touring show KOOZA.

Cirque du Soleil has called on the talents of diverse creators, including several who are working with the company for the first time:

The Creative Team: David Shiner Writer and Director, Serge Roy Director of Creation, Jean-François Côté Composer and Musical Director, Jared Grimes Choreographer, Dominique Lemieux Costume Designer, Patricia Ruel Set Designer and Props Co-Designer, Jasmine Catudal Props Co-Designer, Bruno Rafie Lighting Designer, Harvey Robitaille Sound Designer, Eleni Uranis Make-up Designer, and Stefan Haves Comic Act Designer.

Cirque du Soleil celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2009. From a group of 20 street performers at its beginnings in 1984, Cirque du Soleil is now a major Quebec-based organization providing high-quality artistic entertainment. The company has more than 4,000 employees from over 40 different countries, including 1,000 performing artists.

Cirque du Soleil has brought wonder and delight to almost 90 million spectators in over 200 cities on five continents. In 2009, Cirque will present 20 shows simultaneously throughout the world. Cirque du Soleil International Headquarters are in Montreal, Canada.

For more information about Cirque du Soleil, visit www.cirquedusoleil.com.

To find out more about the One Drop Foundation, visit www.onedrop.org.

MSG Entertainment (MSGE), the live entertainment arm of Cablevision Systems Corporations, is a Worldwide Entertainment company recognized for its signature combination of event production and entertainment marketing. In addition to the nearly 700 entertainment concerts and events that take place each year at Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden, The WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden, The Beacon Theatre and The Chicago Theatre. MSGE has an exclusive co-booking agreement with Boston's Citi Performing Arts Center/ Wang Theatre. MSG Entertainment's live events include The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, which includes the national arena tour and the theatrical tour and has played to more than 42 different cities across North America. Additionally, MSGE has an ongoing partnership with Cirque du Soleil to create new content and productions for its venues. Wintuk, which premiered in 2007, was built exclusively for the WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden and runs every holiday season. More than six million people attend MSG Entertainment branded events annually including concerts, special events, and family attractions.

For more information about The Chicago Theatre, visit www.thechicagotheatre.com

Photo Coverage: BANANA SHPEEL Sneak Peek!
Annaleigh Ashford, Michael Longoria and the BANANA SHPEEL ensemble

Photo Coverage: BANANA SHPEEL Sneak Peek!
Michael Longoria, Annaleigh Ashford and the dancers show off!

Photo Coverage: BANANA SHPEEL Sneak Peek!
Daniel Passer, Gilles Ste-Croix, Wayne Wilson kiss up to David Shiner

Photo Coverage: BANANA SHPEEL Sneak Peek!
David Shiner, Annaleigh Ashford, Michael Longoria and the entire company

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