McLaren Assists Elvis' Return in "Viva Elvis"

For the seventh time in as many shows, McLaren played an active – albeit, behind the scenes – role in a Cirque du Soleil production.

This time, Elvis is being brought back to the fore in “Viva Elvis,” which is set to open December 18 at Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas’ City Center complex. “Elvis” contains some of the largest pieces of scenery and performer flying equipment ever built for a theatrical production. Hired by Cirque Du Soleil, Stage Technologies and Setpoint Design & Production, McLaren provided structural and mechanical engineering for various parts of the show.

McLaren engineered a variety of elements associated with overhead equipment in the stage house. The firm provided complete structural engineering for the large track structure supporting three multi-axis performance trolleys. The trolleys traverse the stage house and contain winches rated for performer flying. The tracks are supported by a 125-ton trussed structure that hangs from the roof via 64 hangers and is braced to the gridiron. The structure is subjected to moving and performer dynamic loads from any combination of the three trolleys, earthquakes, emergency stop forces, and end-of-travel shock absorber forces. It was assembled on the stage floor and then hoisted into place with a several chain motors, which minimized conditions in which installers were working at height.

Additionally, McLaren engineered the LED Truss supporting eight tall, tracking LED panels. This lightweight steel truss could only weigh 10 tons and is supported by four electric winches at the gridiron, in order to permit the truss to be stored out of audience view. Passive aluminum scissor frames stabilize the truss. The challenge was to make the truss sufficiently rigid to minimize deflections from the tracking panels, since the panels need to appear to be in contact in certain positions, while staying within the weight limitations. The final design included the introduction of counterweight arbors that lift up select points on the truss in order to improve deflections.

McLaren’s services also included evaluation of all self-bailing electric winches, as well as supports and rigging for the storage of the “Got-a-Lot” Wagon; engineering of a selection of loft and mule sheave blocks, as well as overhead rigging beams and their connections; engineering of a variety of performer and technician access platforms, scenic element storage structures, and guardrails; and third-party reviews of the “Got-a-Lot” Wagon and loads on the gridiron.

“Elvis” contains state-of-the-art theatrical equipment and features and is sure to thrill theatergoers and Elvis fans for years to come.