MINNEAPOLIS, MN (January 5, 2017) – VStar Entertainment Group (VStar), a leading producer of family-friendly shows, events, experiential installations, mascots and costumes, today announced the acquisition of South Florida-based Cirque Productions, adding the critically acclaimed Cirque Dreams entertainment brand to its portfolio of touring shows and properties. Neil Goldberg, Broadway director and Cirque Productions founder, will continue leading the Cirque Dreams brand as its President, while supporting VStar’s rapid expansion in a creative capacity.
Cirque Productions has entertained more than 50 million people worldwide since 1993 and is internationally recognized for its groundbreaking productions of the Broadway hit Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy along with over a dozen distinctive Cirque Dreams shows in partnerships with Norwegian Cruise Line, Gaylord Hotels, Armed Forces Entertainment, casinos and theatres worldwide. Cirque Dreams Holidaze, now planning its 10th anniversary touring season for 2017, is one of today's leading family Holiday Stage Spectaculars.
VStar presents over 1,000 live shows annually, including Sesame Street Live!, now in its 37th year, the highly successful PAW Patrol Live! “Race to the Rescue,” which debuted in the fall of 2016 in partnership with Nickelodeon and Discover the Dinosaurs UNLEASHED, a dinosaur-themed, family-oriented, educational and entertainment touring exhibition and experience. VStar also offers extensive production services, creates 3D props and costumes for Fortune 500 companies, mascots for college and professional sports teams and designs custom, experiential installations in major venues across the country.
Together, VStar and Cirque Dreams will yield the development of new live entertainment productions for Broadway, tours, theatres, performing arts centers, exhibit halls, arenas and more. With the companies’ collective resources, VStar is also positioned to support a wide range of design, manufacturing, development, costuming and custom entertainment needs for a variety of entertainment related industries.
“As we continue to build our brand, we are excited to add Cirque Dreams to our family of live tours – it is a terrific extension of our live entertainment platform and brings further diversity to our company’s portfolio and to audiences everywhere. As we enter a new era of family entertainment, our industry is pushing the envelope to develop more robust, culturally relevant and highly creative work to engage with fans,” said Eric Grilly, Chief Executive Officer, VStar Entertainment Group. “We welcome Neil Goldberg and the entire Cirque Productions team to the VStar family. For more than 20 years, he has been the visionary behind the Cirque Dreams shows, and we are incredibly lucky to have his collaborative spirit and creative leadership at VStar,” said Grilly.
“Expanding the scope of our innovative entertainment with the strength and resources of VStar is a wonderful new milestone for Cirque Productions. I’m delighted to be working closely with this talented team helping oversee a creative vision for the future,” said Neil Goldberg. “Live theatre and imaginative entertainment has been my lifelong passion and now look forward to developing the next chapter in partnership with VStar, an established brand that truly understands the evolving family entertainment landscape,” said Goldberg.
VStar’s expansion in the family entertainment sector has evolved under the ownership of New York-based AUA Private Equity Partners. “The addition of Cirque Productions is a natural evolution for VStar as we look to broaden our customer base, diversify our entertainment offerings and add talent and resources to our company,” said David Benyaminy, Partner at AUA Private Equity. “Neil Goldberg is a creative force in today’s entertainment industry and, together, we look forward to bringing his imagination and creativity to life. We are fortunate to call Neil our partner,” said Benyaminy.
Dream Studios, Cirque Dreams headquarters, will continue to serve as the brands 25,000 square foot state-of-the-art theatrical production, rehearsal, training, design, development and wardrobe manufacturing facility in Pompano Beach, Florida. Hundreds of artists continue developing their skills at Dream Studios under the direction of world-class coaches, choreographers, musicians, designers and creative visionaries. Cirque Dreams’ facility complements VStar’s vast production capabilities, which collaboratively will offer limitless support, products and services to a myriad of entertainment markets.
ABOUT VSTAR ENTERTAINMENT GROUP
VStar Entertainment Group is one of the nation's leading multi-concept media and entertainment platforms and producer of family-friendly consumer shows and events, with an extensive background presenting and promoting more than 36,000 performances worldwide over the past 35 years. Headquartered in the Twin Cities, VStar Entertainment Group was founded in 2015 following an acquisition of VEE Corporation, one of the most experienced and respected names in family-friendly entertainment, and Blue Star Media, a leader in event production and promotion. VStar Entertainment Group also provides turnkey, in-house solutions for agencies, brands, corporations and marketing experts serving the event, sports and experiential industries. For more information, including current touring shows, production capabilities and a complete list of service offerings, please visit www.vstarentertainment.com.
ABOUT CIRQUE DREAMS
Cirque Productions and the Cirque Dreams Entertainment Brand, now in its 23rd year, has garnered the praise of critics around the country from USA Today, Associated Press and the New York Times to CNN, Today Show and Fox & Friends. Producer and Director Neil Goldberg has been hailed “One of today’s leading theatrical impresarios” by the Los Angeles Times and “Uniquely ingenious” by the New York Daily News. The Cirque Dreams franchise is a globally recognized entertainment brand that has performed in in theatres, casinos, theme parks, resorts, cruise lines, and on Broadway. Titles include Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy, Cirque Dreams Rocks, Cirque Dreams Holidaze, Cirque Dreams Unwrapped, Cirque Dreams Revealed, Cirque Dreams & Dinner and other distinctive productions. For more information, visit www.cirqueproductions.com.
ABOUT AUA PRIVATE EQUITY PARTNERS
AUA Private Equity is an operationally-focused lower-middle market investment firm currently managing over $275 million of assets under management (AUM as of 10/1/2016). The team is led by Andy Unanue, former COO of Goya Foods, Inc. (founded by the Unanue family), the largest and most successful Hispanic-owned food company in the United States, and is complemented by Partners Steven Flyer and David Benyaminy who bring over 20 years of proven private equity expertise, deep sector insight, and a wealth of longstanding relationships. For information on AUA Private Equity, visit www.auaequity.com.