Cirque du Soleil's 'AXEL' is a rock 'n' roll circus headed to Detroit's Little Caesars Arena

Staff Pick


  • Marie Andree-Lemire

Robotic dogs, lasers, figure skating, and the Bee Gees might sound like an ill-fated Xanadu reboot, but we assure you that is not the case.

The latest — and 48th — spectacle to come from the creative masterminds of the Cirque du Soleil performance company is the story of self-proclaimed extraterrestrial Axel — artist, musician, and the product of Guns N’ Roses-obsessed, figure-skating fanatic parents. The high-energy and fantastical show follows Axel and friends, including his love interest, Lei, as they race to save the literal and metaphorical light from the hands of a Vi, a creativity-stealing villain. AXEL fuses an arena rock opera with Cirque du Soleil’s signature dazzling visuals, masterful athleticism, martial arts choreography, balancing feats, dizzying aerialist tumbling, and, this time, figure skating. Oh, and like we said, lasers, which serve as a key architectural element throughout the story, told through live videography, original scoring, and music by Tears for Fears, Radiohead, and Rihanna.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, 3:30 & 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, and 1 & 5 p.m. on Sunday at Little Caesars Arena; 2645 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-471-7000; Tickets are $62+.

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