The latest Cirque du Soleil spectacular to pitch its tent in Miami is extra fiery — and extra fresh. After touring five Latin American countries in 2017, and entertaining one million fans, Sép7imo Día – No Descansaré is making its U.S. debut.
The show was written and directed by Michel Laprise, who directed Cirque´s KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities (as well as Madonna´s MDNA Tour!), and its official description makes it sound epic: “Sép7imo Día conjures a world outside of time, a place where emotions ebb and flow like the tide, pulsing to the rhythm of the band’s emblematic songs.”
And by “band,” they don’t just mean the talented group of musicians playing during the show. Sép7imo Día is inspired by the musical legacy of the iconic Argentine rock band Soda Stereo, a megastar trio that ruled the music scene throughout much of Latin America in the 1980s and ’90s, before splitting up in 1997.
In Sép7imo Día, Cirque has tried to capture the wave of euphoria that swept Latin America in 2007 when, after a decade of separation, Soda Stereo reunited for its Me Verás Volver Tour. The Cirque production celebrates the beloved band’s deep connection with its fans, and in true rock-and-roll fashion, the show even features a seatless area of the arena near the stage called the Zoom Zone, where select and, we assume, especially animated members of the audience take in the show while up on their feet.
Before rising to join the fun in the Zoom Zone, I decided to first sit down with Artistic Director Sean McKeown to get the scoop on Sép7imo Día — and find out just what a Cirque du Soleil artistic director does.
Were you always a performer, even as a child?
Yes. As a boy, I went alone to a local pantomime production, and I got very interested. The next year, I participated as an actor and singer. I think I was 9 or 10. I became the principle character, and it was a great introduction to the stage.
What was your first professional gig?
I was 19 and working as an actor in Melbourne, Australia. I did a commercial for a bank in Asia. They wanted students to get their first credit card.
When did you know performing would be your career?
I knew at an early age. I also played a musical instrument, so I didn’t know what kind of performer I would be, but I knew I would be a performer. I eventually chose acting as the [discipline] I preferred.
How did you get hired at Cirque du Soleil?
I was doing a lot of voiceover work, [but days] I managed a group of people for a FOX cable company in Australia. The company went through a restructuring, and I found myself with a summer off — but being well paid! Cirque du Soleil was coming to town and needed ushers. I applied and got the job. The minute I walked into the big top, it felt like I came home, and I decided it was time to go back to pure and proper entertainment. From there, I went into backstage management, and then general stage manager, and finally artistic director.
What are the duties of the artistic director?
I am responsible for the entire artistic team: wardrobe, physiotherapists, stage management, artists, etc. Ultimately, I’m responsible for the look and the quality of the show, for seeing that it makes the appropriate evolutions, that the acrobatic level remains high, and that the audience has an amazing time — as they should when they come to see a show produced by Cirque du Soleil!
What Cirque shows have you worked on, other than this one? Do you have a favorite?
I’ve worked on Alegria, Dralion, Quidam, The Beatles LOVE and now Sép7imo Día – No Descansaré. I’ve loved every show when I was working on it, so I can’t pick just one. It’s like asking a father to pick a favorite child: It’s too difficult!
You’ve toured all over the world. Do you have a favorite city?
In the last 18 years, I’ve played shows in 170 cities worldwide, so it’s hard to pick. But I do adore London. And in the States, I love New York City and San Francisco.
What should readers expect from Sép7imo Día?
A “wow” show with a lot of original acrobatics. We also interact with the audience a lot, so it’s a very up-close-and-personal show. They should also expect beautiful live music, and everything Cirque is known for!
Sép7imo Día is at Watsco Center in Coral Gables through April 22. For info and tickets (from $55), visit cirquedusoleil.com/Sép7imo-dia.