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Cirque Du Soleil Eyes Gleason Theater

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Cirque Du Soleil has proposed making Miami’s South Beach landmark Jackie Gleason Theater a year-round home for its modern surreal circus and building a complex of restaurants, bars and banquet rooms around the 1,700-seat performance hall.

The plan would upgrade the city-owned theater and create a permanent venue for one of the country’s most popular stage shows. Supporters see it as a big boost for both tourism and the Miami Beach Convention Center, which would connect with the Cirque facility.

“You’ll be able to come and see the hottest entertainment act in the world,” Miami Beach City Manager Jorge Gonzalaz told the Miami Herald. “Not too many cities in the United States – or for that matter in the world – can lay claim to that.”

So far, Cirque has limited its permanent theaters to Las Vegas and Orlando, two of the country’s most popular destinations for conventioneers and vacationers. A South Beach theater would test South Florida’s ability to turn out an audience large enough for Cirque, which charges more than $100 for good seats and plans at least two nightly shows there.

A Cirque spokeswoman said the Montreal-based entertainment company sees South Beach as a promising venue.

“I think there’s a good fit there,” Renée-Claude Ménard told the paper. “We do a lot of presentation to a lot of cities. We do believe, though [that] this is moving ahead as one of the most viable projects” under consideration by Cirque.

Cirque and it’s partners, Related Group of Miami and Clear Channel Communications, want an unspecified package of inducements from Miami Beach to convert the Gleason and build the surrounding entertainment complex. The project, including a new convention-center ballroom, would cost between $90 million and $100 million, according to officials from the Cirque group and Miami Beach. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers