The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil celebrates 16 years of show business at The Mirage Hotel & Casino on June 30. Musical director Giles Martin worked closely with his father Sir George Henry Martin, who was the record producer for The Beatles band and pioneered the music industry in the 60's and 70's, to develop and execute the Cirque du Soleil production. The show initially premiered during the summer of 2006 and has since entertained 10 million live audience viewers. Giles mentions, "The show is even better now than it was when we opened it by about 30% down to the credit of the cast [and crew]."
Giles and his father were able to enjoy creating their last large scale project together prior to George's passing in 2016. A legend to the trajectory of music through history, George's legacy lives on through the creations of his son. We caught up with Giles to discuss the growth of the production and the challenges he and his father faced during the beginning phases of the endlessly loved production.
What were some of the initial hardships and challenges at beginning of show?
The first challenge [was] that The Beatles music hadn't been touched at all by anyone since it was recorded and The Beatles hadn't done a creative project like this since they broke up. On a creative level it was a learning curve for everyone. It was even more of a challenge for my dad than me because he had more experience with the original music. You're dealing with a legacy of genius and Cirque du Soleil with circus background was more maverick with their approach; combining the two forces was magical.
The day before we opened I remember thinking, ‘This could be a disaster.' My biggest [concern was that] people [would] sit and think they are just listening to a CD. It has got to be immersive. Now that word is used all the time, back then it wasn't.
There is nothing in the world that relates to the audio and projection at the LOVE theater. It was brought out in the boom of Cirque du Soleil. People don't realize the scale of that until they go see it. It's certainly the biggest risk taken at that time and it paid off.
How did the team go about selecting which tracks to include in the show?
[Out of] 250 songs we have elements from about 150 different songs. There is a collaboration between the work I initally did less requests from The Beatles and what The Beatles requested themselves. Tracks with Cirque du Soliel needed good imagery and to make the whole [production] flow together.
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What is the most impactful portion of the show?
It's funny looking back since it's been going so long [to] realize the effect it [has] had on generations and all the people that have seen it. It became a new Beatles project. You listen to a certain song and it reminds people of LOVE. Some people tell me how the soundtrack of LOVE is their kids’ favorite album. Music doesnt really get old we just get old around it.
Can you tell us about some of the feedback on the production that you have gotten from your peers?
I was in Abbey Road [Studios] on Monday and saw Finneas, Billie Eilish’s brother and one of the most remarkable producers at the moment, and he had to tell me how much he loves the show! From Steven Tyler too, [we] have lost track of how many times Steven Tyler has been to the show.
[At first] musicians hated the idea. It was like drawing stars on the Mona Lisa or like turning the Mona Lisa into a Vegas [showgirl] if you will. Artists and musicians loved the LOVE show once it came out. All of these artists tell me, 'If we do a Vegas show we want to make it like the LOVE show.'
Can you share what other projects you are working on at the moment?
I'm working on a new Broadway show with Elton John based off of The Devil Wears Prada. We will be in Chicago in three to four weeks time and open in the James M. Nederlander Theatre in Chicago, Ill. The show will go to Broadway New York next year.
Photography by: Courtesy of Cirque du Soleil; Giles Martin; pixabay.com/ziodanilo