SANTA MONICA, Calif. – A cavalcade of Hollywood’s biggest stars welcomed Cirque du Soleil back to town Friday night, bringing added star power to the electrifying opening-night benefit performance of KOOZA at the Santa Monica Pier.
Proceeds from the performance and an extravagant afterparty -- which totaled nearly half a million dollars -- will support the ongoing work of local environmental group Heal the Bay and the ONE DROP Foundation, the clean-water nonprofit formed by Cirque founder Guy Laliberte.
The organizations greeted dozens of their celebrity supporters from the worlds of film, TV, music and sports, including such notables as event chair Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Brad Hall, Pierce and Keely Brosnan, Kelsey Grammer, Owen Wilson, Djimon Hounsou and Kimora Lee Simmons, Geena Davis, Neil Patrick Harris, Heather Graham, Heal the Bay board member Amy Smart, hockey Hall of Famer Luc Robitaille, and rockers Joe Walsh and Rick Rubin.
“We are so grateful to our friends at Cirque for creating such a magical night,” said Heal the Bay president Mark Gold. “Beyond raising critical funds to support the fight for clean water, the show and party energized all our supporters in a truly unique and captivating setting.
The opening night performance of KOOZA marked a return to the origins of Cirque du Soleil – acrobatic performance and the art of clowning. The show mesmerized a crowd of 2,500 by highlighting the physical demands of human performance, presented in a colorful mélange that emphasizes bold slapstick humor and high-caliber acrobatic artistry.
Following the performance, VIP guests enjoyed an exclusive after party presented by Audemars Piguet, the oldest manufacturer of Haute Horlogerie, and sponsored by Malibu financier and philanthropist Alex von Furstenberg. Attendees sampled innovative cuisine from more than a dozen of the area’s top restaurants, including Anisette, Boa, La Cachette and Little Door. Colorfully garbed Cirque performers interacted with partygoers, who mingled in a dramatically staged, translucent tent on the pier deck.
To celebrate its 25th anniversary, Cirque du Soleil will present KOOZA under the blue and yellow Grand Chapiteau (big top) at the Santa Monica Pier through December 20.
About Heal the Bay Heal the Bay, celebrating its 23rd year, is dedicated to making Santa Monica Bay and Southern California coastal waters safe and healthy again for people and marine life. It is one of the largest non-profit environmental organizations in Los Angeles County, with more than 12,000 members. The organization focuses on education, outreach, research and advocacy through programs like Coastal Cleanup Day each September and the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium. Beach Report Card weekly and annual updates are available at www.healthebay.org
Contact: Matthew King, Heal the Bay, (310) 451-1500