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Viewers of the 122nd annual Tournament of Roses Parade on Jan. 1 will get a sneak preview of the upcoming Cirque du Soleil show “Iris” coming to the Kodak Theatre next summer, as members of the acrobatic troupe will be performing on the City of Los Angeles’ rose float.
The city has had the longest continuous entry in the Rose Parade, dating back to 1898, and this year’s float is dedicated to Hollywood and the entertainment industry. The theme is “Cirque du Soleil Comes to Town”, with members performing on a red carpet in the center of the float as its travels down Colorado Boulevard. The red carpet links the Kodak Theatre to the rear of the float with the pagoda at the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, set at the front. The float will also include additional Hollywood landmarks, such as the Hollywood Sign, golden stars symbolizing the Walk of Fame, and the arch at Universal Studios. On both sides, there will be film reels that change from black and white to color to symbolize the evolution of the film industry.
Larry Palmer, the media relations and marketing director for the Phoenix Decorating Company, which designed and built the float, said it was challenging to incorporate all of the landmarks with a moving live display.
“The highlight will be the performance by Cirque du Soleil, which will be doing their act continuously. There are always challenges when you have performers doing acrobatics on a moving platform, but we have been working with them and they have been practicing the routine and know what to expect,” Palmer said. “One of the things that is particularly interesting about this float is that the spotter will be located in a crawl-space in the arch of the Grauman’s pagoda. There was no room to put him at the front of the float, so we built it in to the pagoda, and he will give instructions to the driver from there.”
The float has been a source of pride for many people in the Hollywood community, including employees at the Kodak Theatre. On Monday, Rachelle Granillo, the assistant to the general manager for the Kodak Theatre, and her daughter, Justine Alvarez, an usher at the theatre, helped decorate the float. Granillo said she was thrilled to help, and added that the float symbolizes some of the best things about Hollywood.
“It is an honor to do this, both for the theatre, and for the parade itself. I have been at the theater for around ten years, since it opened, but this is the first time I have ever done something like this,” Granillo said. “It is spot on, the way it shows the theater. I was standing in front of the arch in front of the theatre earlier, and this is a mirror image.”
Alvarez, who has worked at the Kodak Theatre for three years, also said decorating the float was a rewarding experience.
“It feels good to help, and I am glad people will be able to come out and see what we are doing,” Alvarez added. “I hope people will come out to see how we represent Hollywood on the float, and share the experience.”
Kerry Morrison, the executive director of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance, said the float will be a good representation of the Hollywood area for people viewing the parade both locally and around the world. She said it also serves as a marketing tool that will show people the many entertainment options that exist in Hollywood.
“It definitely exemplifies how excited we are that Cirque du Soleil has selected Hollywood as the site of its next major production. They have made such a commitment to Hollywood, in renovating the theatre and having a specific Hollywood theme,” Morrison said. “We see it as a major destination for both residents and tourists, and this is a marvelous opportunity to showcase what is coming.”
Cirque du Soleil’s “Iris” will salute the history of movies and Hollywood, and will have a ten-year run at the Kodak Theatre. Previews will begin in July, and the grand opening is scheduled for Sept. 27.
The Tournament of Roses Parade begins at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 1 at the corner of Colorado and Orange Grove Boulevards in Pasadena.
For information, visit www.tournamentofroses.com.
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