Banana Shpeel: delayed again, now by 6 weeks

The new Cirque du Soleil show Banana Shpeel, written and directed by David Shiner, has announced a third delay - this time by six weeks. The show, which was originally to have previwed from 4 Feb 2010, will now begin performances at the Beacon Theatre on 29 Apr 2010. No opening date has been announced.

For ticket-holders who are affected by this change, please contact Ticketmaster's customer service by calling 1-800-653-8000 and have the original Ticketmaster order number available.

Banana Shpeel has been further delayed to allow more time for the creative team to develop the show. The producers are also holding auditions for either additional, or replacement cast.

At the time of the announcement of the second delay to Banana Shpeel, Riedel of the New York Post reported "It is, according to several people working on the $20 million production, a "train wreck," a "catastrophe," a "nightmare" and, not to put too fine a point on it, "one of the worst shows you've ever seen."

Written and directed by David Shiner, Banana Shpeel had its world premiere engagement in Chicago on 19 Nov 2009 and was not well received.

The show was originally to have starred Michael Longoria (Jersey Boys) and Annaleigh Ashford (Wicked), but they were dropped from the productioin just two weeks after their casting had been announced. The production said the cast change was necessary because the creative team had decided to re-write the show so that it is less story driven and as a result the characters to be played by the two stars have now been dropped from the story.

Banana Shpeel is billed as "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!"

The show's original synopsis was billed: 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?

Under the direction of Band Leader Robert Cookman, the Banana Shpeel original score is performed live on stage by Roland Barber (trombone), Bobby Brennan (bass), James Campagnola (multi-instrumental), Iohann Laliberté (drums), Jean-François Ouellet (saxophone), Peter Sachon (cello) and Scott Steen (trumpet).

The creative team features sets by Patricia Ruel, costumes by Dominique Lemieux, lighting by Bruno Rafie and sound by Harvey Robitaille.

Originally published on

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