Magical musical journeyBy Caroline Fontein Zarkana by Cirque du Soleil brings another incredible production to the Las Vegas Strip at Aria Resort & Casino. The show opened in November 2012. Before Vegas, Zarkana was a touring production that performed at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City, Madrid Arena in Spain and Kremlin State Palace Theatre in Moscow.Audiences that have seen the show in other locations will notice a more intimate viewing experience in Vegas. With about 1,800 seats, the theater at Aria is the show's smallest venue.Zarkana takes audiences on a mystifying journey into an abandoned theater filled with bizarre characters and their amazing talents. The 95-minute show is led by the main character Zark. With his long purple-hued hair, dark eyes and red and black top hat, suit and cape, he's part ringmaster, part magician and all mysterious. He sings throughout the show in a Cirque-style language that sounds a little like Italian, but what he’s saying isn’t decipherable. There are splashes of English phrases throughout the show, but the majority of is a curious form of nonsensical gibberish. It’s part of the mystifying allure that reels audience members in as soon as the curtain opens.Along with Zark, the cast of about 70 performers portrays an eclectic collection of colorful eccentrics. Throughout the show a small ensemble remains on stage, adding a playful element to the main acts as they perform incredible stunts from walking on the highwire while dodging a swinging pendulum ball of fire to soaring through the air on the flying trapeze. The show progresses with Zark, who sings along with other female characters, followed by an acrobatic or other extraordinary stunt. Their performances are accompanied by a live band that performs from stylized platforms located on each side of the stage. As the acts change so does the scenery. Multiple layers of LED screens create stunning visuals themed to each featured act.One of these instances is when “snake lady” slinks from behind the curtain. Sprouting from a pile of coiled snakes, she’s not alone on stage. Surrounding her are infinite serpents slithering across the massive LED screens that frame the stage.In true Cirque form, the show also features a male clown duo that break up the show with laughs amidst the awe-inspiring moments on stage. They don’t talk, but their comical gestures and sounds prompt laughs from the crowd. Later in the show they pull a woman from the audience to join them on stage to help demonstrate their electric chair. Let’s just say, sparks fly.Another highlight is when “spider woman” descends from above the stage. Wearing a shiny, form-fitting, black suit, she sings while hanging upside down. Audiences will recognize her from the Zarkana posters displayed on the Strip. Her lyrics are the soundtrack for performers on the flying trapeze. Along with “spider woman” the stage is filled with layers of webs that allow just enough space for the trapeze artists to swing, flip and fly high above the stage.A 15-person banquine team is the last featured act in the show. Consisting of men and women, the acrobatic performers are both each others’ launching pads and their nets. The large male performers in the group act as human catapults, making the others airborne long enough to perform flips and other tricks before landing in a human net. They perform what you’d otherwise believe to be impossible, but breaking the boundaries between reality and imagination is what Zarkana is all about.Music, magic and mystique await your arrival at Zarkana.