In a an almost expected turn of events, Cirque du Soleil’s Zaia will close after only a 3 1/2 year run at the Venetian in Macau, China. Zaia was Cirque’s first permanent show in Asia followed by Zed which opened at the Tokyo Disney Resort in Japan but was forced to shut down due to the disastrous Tsunami that hit Japan in 2011. Zaia opened in August, 2008, and almost immediately showed signs of financial trouble with a threat to shut down in 2010. Average occupancy at Zaia was just 40% this past January, according to a representative for Cirque du Soleil. Even after valiant efforts to keep Zaia afloat by revamping the show, adding new acts that were sure to wow China’s elite gambling audience such as the Tabares‘ Double-wide Flying Trapeze, it was to no avail since it seems that the Chinese refuse to buy into the magical world that Cirque du Soleil is so famously known for creating.
The Macau unit of Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Cirque du Soleil said they were ending a 10-year contract after just 3 1/2 years, underlining the difficulty some companies have faced trying to transform the Chinese gambling haven into an entertainment destination. The combined cost of creating the show and the custom-built theater for Zaia exceeded $150 million USD, according to an August 2008 press release for the show’s premier. The Venetian already stated that they have plans to redesign the theater.
Zaia will close after its last performance on Feb. 19, 2012. ■