YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Cirque du Soleil was forced to cancel its opening performance of Varekai, which was scheduled Wednesday at the Covelli Centre in downtown Youngstown.
Covelli Centre officials announced the cancellation about 4:30 p.m., saying it was because of “technical issues.” Shortly after the announcement, a long line of people started showing up at the Covelli Centre box office to try and exchange their tickets for one of the six remaining performances or get their money back.
Varekai performers started prepping for opening night Wednesday morning. It was during those rehearsals that crews realized there was a problem with a main piece of equipment.
“One of our technical apparatuses, which is our center wench, is not working properly and so we need more time to get it fixed. And we want to make sure that we can put on a good show, so taking out all the aerial acts would not have been OK,” said Varekai publicist Vanessa Napoli.
That wench is what artists hook into for all aerial maneuvers in the show. It also helps them get on and off stage.
“It’s one of the main things we use in the show, so we didn’t want to cut it out and give Youngstown a less than perfect show,” Napoli said.
The Covelli Centre is giving folks that had tickets for Wednesday night the option to exchange their tickets for one of the six remaining shows, or get a full refund. The box office will open at 10 a.m. Thursday through Sunday to help people through the process.
“So some people maybe aren’t going to be able to attend another show for the run, so that’s going to open up some availability for other seating,” said Kelsey Rupert, director of marketing and sales for the Covelli Centre.
Alyssa Vaughn of Masury said this will be her third time seeing a Cirque du Soleil show.
“As soon as I saw it on Facebook, somebody posted your article, I got in the car and drove up here,” Vaughn said.
She was able to exchange her floor seats for the Sunday afternoon performance. And she got almost the same seats she had for Wednesday’s show.
Napoli said this happens from time to time in the live entertainment business.
“And this is actually the only time that this has ever happened at the Covelli Centre, so we’re fortunate that it has not happened before this,” Rupert said.
Shows are scheduled to resume Thursday and run through Sunday evening as planned.