Cirque Du Soleil Launches New Tour In New Orleans, Thanks To Generous Tax Credits

BATON ROUGE  — Cirque du Soleil, which brings stylistic acrobatics and lavish, circus-themed elements to the stage, has chosen New Orleans to launch its North American tour of it's production Corteo. The shows will take place at the Smoothie King Center in early March.

Thanks to the generous tax credits from the Louisiana Economic Development Department (LED), the Quebec-based entertainment company has launched five Cirque du Soleil North America tours in Louisiana since 2012.

The company participates in the state's Musical and Theatrical Production Tax Credit program.

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“The Musical and Theatrical Production Tax Credit is a unique program which encourages Cirque du Soleil to choose Louisiana as the location where our arena productions are brought to life,” said David Pitman, Cirque du Soleil’s director of tour planning and arena shows. 

Cirque du Soleil’s six show launches since 2012 have accounted for more than $20 million in spending in the state and 450 Louisiana resident jobs created, according to LED.

For the current Corteo show, Cirque du Soleil estimates Louisiana expenditures of $2.5 million, including employment for 50 Louisiana residents. The cast includes 51 acrobats, musicians, singers and actors from all around the world.

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Louisiana’s tax incentive for musical and theatrical productions provides tax credits ranging from 7 percent to 18 percent on certified in-state expenditures, plus an additional 7 percent tax credit for certified payroll expenditures for Louisiana residents. Projects are subject to a $1 million cap per year.

​Corteo, which means “cortège” in Italian, is designed as a festive parade imagined by a clown, picturing his own funeral taking place in a carnival atmosphere. With a mix of dazzling acrobatics, playful music and visual storytelling, Corteo immerses its audience in a celebration in which illusion challenges reality.

Corteo first premiered in Montreal in 2005 and has visited 64 cities in 19 countries under the Big Top. This new arena-staging of the production will launch in New Orleans with a parade in the French Quarter on Feb. 28 and performances at the Smoothie King Center on March 2-4.

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The show then will embark on a tour through the U.S. and Canada.

“We are happy to welcome Cirque du Soleil back to Louisiana for the launch of another show,” said  Don Pierson, LED secretary. “Our creative culture, talented entertainment workforce and many state-of-the-art facilities make Louisiana an ideal location for live performance productions such as this. It is no surprise that Cirque du Soleil has found such success in starting its touring productions here."

For more information on Louisiana’s film, digital interactive, live performance and sound recording tax incentive programs, visit

-By Jenny Peterson, Associate News Editor, Biz New Orleans

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