Cirque du Soleil is coming to Raleigh this summer — the latest entertainment act to return to North Carolina after boycotting the state over concerns with House Bill 2.
The theatrical company will bring a new show called "Crystal: A Breakthrough Ice Experience" to Raleigh's PNC Arena for seven shows Aug. 15-19. Tickets are on sale now to Cirque Club members, and the public on-sale date is set for March 23.
In 2016, Cirque du Soleil's "Avatar"-themed show "Toruk" was scheduled to play PNC Arena. But HB2, commonly known as the "Bathroom Bill," became a sticking point when it passed into law. The law, among other things, required people to use the bathroom that corresponded to the gender assigned to them on their birth certificates.
Cirque du Soleil canceled scheduled performances in Raleigh, Greensboro and Charlotte, calling HB2 "an important regression to ensuring human rights for all."
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It was just one part of a wave of cancellations over the law, as Bruce Springsteen, Itzhak Perlman, Boston and Ringo Starr were among the acts who called off North Carolina concerts. Others, like Cyndi Lauper, turned their North Carolina shows into anti-HB2 benefits.
Charlotte also lost the 2017 NBA All-Star Game, while the NCAA and ACC took North Carolina out of its rotation for championship events. Some estimates put economic losses over HB2 at more than $500 million.
HB2 was partly repealed in March 2017 in a compromise that did not satisfy a lot of the law's opponents. But it was enough to start luring some of the boycotting acts back to North Carolina, including Maroon 5 and 98 Degrees.
"The phone is ringing more than it was a year ago," PNC Arena president Don Waddell told The News & Observer last fall about the boycott thaw. "But in the winter, our biggest thing is finding available dates between hockey and N.C. State basketball games. So we have to be proactive, reach out to acts that will be touring. It's two-way communication, and we're working on it."
▪ Wednesday, Aug. 15 at 7:30 p.m.
▪ Thursday, Aug. 16 at 7:30 p.m.
▪ Friday, Aug. 17 at 7:30 p.m.
▪ Saturday, Aug. 18 at 4:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
▪ Sunday, Aug. 19 at 1:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.