Cirque du Soleil’s annual One Night for One Drop charity event returns for its 7th installment March 8 in Las Vegas.

The single performance at Bellagio Resort and Casino’s “O” theater is written and directed by Andre Kasten and Leah Moyer and will feature performers from all of Cirque’s Las Vegas shows, as well as other guest performers from around the region.

“Eight years ago (Cirque du Soleil founder) Guy Laliberte stood on this stage behind me and said, ‘I want to make a difference in water,” remembered One Drop committee member Julie Murray, standing above the “O” Theater during a February One Night rehearsal.

“He shared that he had traveled the world and found that the one common denominator that led to poverty and a poor quality of life was (lack of) access to water.”

“(The event) is used to highlight the worldwide water crisis,” explained Jerry Nadal, Cirque du Soleil’s Senior Vice President, Resident Shows Division. “In the first six shows, we’ve raised an excess of $35 million.”

“It is a three part evening,” said Nadal. “For our main sponsors, there is a pre-show reception that will be held in the Hyde nightclub. Food and beverage, very exclusive. Great networking opportunity for people.”

“Then we go into the “O” Theater, but before the show we will do a live auction for six items. That tends to raise a significant amount of money for us.”

What is great about One Drop is that every dollar donated goes directly to the non-profit’s mission of providing access (to water) to (everyone) around the world,” said Murray, president of the Las Vegas-based philanthropy consulting firm Moonridge Group. “That is because Guy Laliberte underwrites all the operational (expenses). From this year’s event, is is forecast that we will raise about $6 million.”

How great for us in Las Vegas to be the leaders in this global philanthropy event. There are over 137 performers who volunteer their time to rehearse throughout the year. And then it comes together in one magical evening.”

This year One Night for one Drop is partnering with The Class Project with a fundraising initiative. “We have two incredible packages you can purchase raffle tickets for or directly buy,” explained Nadal. “One is our VIP package. You get to walk the blue carpet, attend the pre-show reception, attend the show and then go to the amazing after-party.”

With the (Presidential) package, you get to do all of that, plus have a private dinner prepared by a celebrity chef and hosted by myself. This is your opportunity to ask anything you’d like about the inner workings of Cirque du Soleil. I’ve done this in the past with a few people and a ton of questions come up. It will be a great evening and great fun.”

Laliberte started the One Drop Foundation eleven years ago to address global water issues. The foundation currently runs programs in Central America, the Caribbean, African and India.

After 10 years in the field, we have sustainably changed the lives of over one million people,” said Nadal. “We looked at who already had programs on the ground and we would put our money on top of that. Our programs are sustainable, a minimum of five years in each place we go. The first part is going around and doing the technical work, whether it is laying irrigation lines, cleaning wells or providing access to water.”

The second phase is, we have set up programs for micro loans (for women and girls, who typically are responsible for securing and transporting drinking water for families) to help women start their own businesses, which has been very successful.”

The third phase, Nadal explains, is education about maintaining programs. “This goes on forever,” he said. “It affects them for their lifetime, not just a short period.”

For more information about the exclusive VIP and Presidential packages, go to: theclassproject.com and click on ‘the class experience’.

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