The Billionaire Entertainer (Part 2 of 2)

Daily Life Treasures

Do not miss out the first part.

Le Grand Tour had been conceived as a one-year project, but Laliberte was determined to keep Cirque du Soleil going. He convinced the government to underwrite another season of shows in 1985. Outside of Quebec, however, the reaction was mixed. Shows in Toronto and Niagara Falls were poorly attended and the fledging Cirque organization ended the year of $75,000 in debt. A national tour of eight Canadian cities the following year fared much better, though, and ended with a showcase performance at the world’s fair in Vancouver.

Cirque had an informal, collaborative style of organization in which Laliberte took on the de facto role of executive producer. He kept pushing the circus’s creative staff to make the shows larger, more theatrical, and more visually lavish. Although the crowd kept growing through 1986, so did Cirque’s debt. Laliberte seemed determined to spend money…

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