One Night for One Drop returns for a sixth year with a performance on March 2 inside the Michael Jackson ONE Theater at Mandalay Bay. The annual fundraiser promotes access to safe water on a global scale in conjunction with One Drop, an international foundation created by Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte.
One Night for One Drop brings Las Vegas Cirque performers together with celebrity guest stars to create a unique one-night-only celebration. This time around, the production is based on the life story of singer-songwriter Jewel, who’s been scoring hits like “Who Will Save Your Soul” and “Foolish Games” since her debut album Pieces of You was released in the mid-90s.
“She went through a lot and we wanted to put it in a 90 minute show, which is quite complicated,” says Laetitia Dewhurst who is returning with husband Nicky Dewhurst as the writing and directing team behind One Night for One Drop for the second straight year. They say Jewel was eager to lend more than just her music and talent for the show, which takes a very personal and intimate look at her tumultuous life.
“We decided to base it on her family struggles with love, courage, betrayal, and forgiveness,” adds Dewhurst. “I think everyone can feel that in life with their families at some point. We really wanted to pull on the heartstrings and tell her story.”
Those bittersweet emotions were on display Thursday during a brief preview performance in front of a small group of invited guests, including Jewel herself. The scene featured an actor, representing Jewel’s father, struggling with alcohol as a personal demon. Yet Dewhurst is quick to point out the full production will feature all elements of theater, from dark moments to uplifting music, quirky set pieces and light-hearted comedy, including an appearance by Piff the Magic Dragon. Both Jewel and her music will be front-and-center during the show.
“We call her the source,” says Dewhurst. “She’s the pulse behind the whole thing. She takes this character, which represents herself on this journey, and guides her throughout this wonderful world we’ve created. All the scenery will be based in (her childhood home of) Alaska.”
The preview performance also featured modern interpretive dancing from Nick Daniels, an 18-year-old who was recently featured in “World of Dance” on NBC. “This is my Las Vegas debut,” he says. “I’ve been in the same theater watching the M.J. show, so it’s awesome being able to perform on this stage. It’s incredible.”
Daniels is impressed that Jewel was able to reveal so much of her personal life in collaborating with Cirque on the show. “I think it’s really brave of her to portray her story to all these people and be vulnerable in putting us in her past while being able to go back to those places and emote those feelings.”
The dance was accompanied by vocalist Chase Holfelder, whose own success story in the music business took an unusual path. “I was a software user experience designer with IBM and I started a YouTube channel that started to take off,” he says. “So I quit IBM and now I’m doing that full-time. My schtick on YouTube is called Major to Minor, where I do minor key renditions of major key songs.”
His work caught the attention of the Dewhursts, who were eager to include his melancholy take on “What a Wonderful World” in the production.
“They reached out, and of course I said yes,” he remembers. “Because who wouldn’t want to work with the extremely talented people of Cirque? And on top of that, to be able to do it as part of something bigger like the One Drop foundation, it’s amazing.”
Money raised from One Night for One Drop will help benefit two local initiatives this year. The foundation is teaming up with WaterStart to create a web-based knowledge platform on water conservation and sustainability. One Drop is also working with DISCOVERY Children’s Museum to develop new water-themed exhibits.
In addition to the show, One Night for One Drop features a pre-show reception and post-show VIP extravaganza. Tickets are on sale now.