Vegas News

Franco Dragone, Vegas entertainment visionary, dies at 69

Franco Dragone, who created the first Cirque du Soleil shows to play the Strip and designed Celine Dion’s residency, has died. He was 69. Initial reports are Dragone died of a heart attack while in Cairo, Egypt.

News of Dragone’s death was posted on his official social media pages at about 11:45 a.m. Friday. The message was simply: “Franco Dragone, 1952-2022.” Dragone had moved back to Las Vegas last year to work with Criss Angel in their “Amystika” production at Planet Hollywood Resort and had opened an office in the Arts District.

Dragone brought “Mystère” to Treasure Island in 1993, followed by “O” at Bellagio five years later. The shows remain two of Cirque’s best-selling productions.

Cirque du Soleil said in a statement:

“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Franco Dragone. Our hearts go out to his friends, family, and the entire Dragone organization. Franco was an industry icon. Responsible for some of our most successful productions, including Nouvelle Expérience, Alegría, Mystère, ‘O,’ and ‘La Nouba,’ he has contributed invaluably to the success of Cirque du Soleil.

“His passing is a loss not only for his family, but for the entire industry. Out of respect, tonight’s performances of ‘Mystère’ and “O” in Las Vegas will be dedicated to his life’s work.”

Following his time with Cirque, Dragone partnered with Dion in “A New Day …,” the groundbreaking residency at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace. Dragone also created the long-running and critically acclaimed “Le Reve” at Wynn Las Vegas.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at Contact him at [email protected] Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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