It is not every weekend that you can just leave the kids with a sitter and go on a (much-needed) date night all the way to Mexico. However, with its elaborate costumes, Spanish music, fantastic creatures, and insanely talented cast, Cirque du Soleil LUZIA will take you pretty darn close. The theme of LUZIA is a “A Waking Dream of Mexico” and runs in Chicago through Labor Day weekend.
What is LUZIA?
According to the producers,
LUZIA takes you to an imaginary Mexico, like in a waking dream, where light quenches the spirit and rain soothes the soul.
Freely inspired by Mexico, LUZIA is a poetic and acrobatic ode to the rich, vibrant culture of a country whose wealth stems from an extraordinary mix of influences and creative collisions – a land that inspires awe with its breathtaking landscapes and architectural wonders, buoyed by the indomitable spirit of its people.
The show takes place in the Grand Chapiteau of the United Center in Chicago. Don’t let this big top tent fool you into thinking LUZIA is any old circus, it’s not. The tent is huge on the inside, seats over 2,600, and boasts an impressive stage, concessions area and a backstage. I highly suggest arriving early because one of the best parts about Cirque du Soleil shows is the atmosphere before the show begins. Once inside, you will enjoy the smell of popcorn filling the air, see costumed characters walking around interacting with guests, and bathe in the anticipation of knowing you are going to see a fantastic show, which just really sets the tone for a great night out.
The show began at 8:00 p.m. and started with a parachuting clown crashing into the dream world of Mexico. Over the next two hours (with a 25-minute intermission in the middle) I saw all sorts of creatures, acrobatics, jugglers, and even a contortionist. My favorite scenes included the juggler, who managed to juggle seven objects, super fast, and the last scene with acrobats jumping flawlessly from swing to swing. Time just flew by, and when the show was over, like most Cirque du Soleil shows, I was left wanting to experience even more.
I was really impressed with this show’s ability to recreate rain on stage, indoors. And not just a sprinkle — a lot of rain. In fact, each performance uses around 1,585 gallons of water. I remember thinking “No way, is it really raining indoors?” when I first saw it happen. The production even managed to somehow have the rain come down forming different shapes. The characters perform impressive aerial acrobatics through the water, which really left me wondering how they manage to not slip or fall. The water feature was used throughout the show. One of the biggest mysteries about the show for me was how they got the stage so dry immediately after the water acts.
During another act, there was just a pool of water in the middle of the stage, which seemed to appear out of nowhere. That is what I love about Cirque du Soleil, there is just so many things going on at once. You could easily see each show multiple times and still notice something new at each performance.
I have seen a few Cirque du Soleil shows, and love that they really appeal to all ages. The audience for LUZIA was comprised of all ages, including children, but I did not take either of my two kids because this show started late in the evening. The day after I went to the show, my five-year-old asked to see videos of the show, and then watched an entire YouTube video about LUZIA. I will definitely consider taking him in the future. I doubt, however, I would take an infant or a toddler, as the show is quite long. I love that Cirque Du Soleil shows are family friendly in terms of content.
After the show, we had a special opportunity to go backstage and learn more about the production of the show. LUZIA was in the works for two years in order to achieve the amount of perfection that Cirque Du Soleil requires. The cast members come from all over the world, and some have been training their entire lives with Cirque De Soleil in mind. Most of the cast members are in their very early twenties.
I was simply enamored with the costumes. Behind the scenes, there are 1,115 different costume elements and 140 pairs of shoes for each performance. All of the costume pieces are custom-made for each character, and need to be replaced every six months. Each show requires four people just to work in the costume department alone.
A few tips:
- Be sure to arrive early for the performance. If you arrive past the 8:00 p.m. start time, you have to wait for an appropriate break in the performance to enter.
- There are plenty of parking lots all around, but be prepared to shell out $20 in cash depending on which lot you park in. I parked in lot “K” and was in the actual parking lot of the United Center, and did not have to walk very far at all.
- Bring a sweater – don’t let the fact that this is held under a big tent fool you. The tent is air-conditioned, and I was shivering throughout the performance.
- If you are porta-potty phobic like I am, stop somewhere for relief before arriving at the show. The Grand Chapiteau only has porta-potties, and the lines were long. Also, bring loads of hand sanitizer, you will thank me later.
- Concessions are available on-site; you don’t need to eat elsewhere before the show. There are alcoholic beverages, hotdogs, jumbo pretzels, popcorn, Icees, and candy available for purchase. The next time we attend, we will eat here, too.
Overall, I highly recommend anyone who needs a night out to go see LUZIA, or consider making it an experience for the whole family. With the costumes, sheer talent of the cast, and the amount of detail put into it, it was really a great show. I cannot wait to see the next Cirque du Soleil show.
Disclosure: The writer was provided with tickets and a backstage pass to facilitate this review. All thoughts and opinions are the writer’s own, and no further compensation was received. Some links provided in this story are affiliate links. Little Lake County will earn a portion of sales made through these links and uses it to support the site. Thank you for clicking