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Full-time, year-round circus on tap in Waikiki

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Full-time, year-round circus on tap in Waikiki

A troupe of contortionists, acrobats and high-wire artists is coming to Waikiki with plans to dazzle visitors and residents with regular performances in the former IMAX theater on Seaside Avenue.

Mystika Hawaii LLC recently signed a multiyear lease with landowner Robertson Properties Group and is expected to begin twice-daily shows as early as next spring in a deal that will add another new attraction to O'ahu's primary visitor destination.

"It's really going to add a nice entertainment flavor to the area, not only for tourists but for the local people," said Greg Swedelson, Robertson Properties vice president of acquisitions and leasing.

Details of the show are being kept under wraps by Mystika's Florida-based organizers, but it will be sort of a "mini Cirque du Soleil" with vaudeville-style acts including gravity-defying stunts and other amazing human performances, Swedelson said.

Mystika is affiliated with the Moscow State Circus, a traveling troupe out of Sarasota, Fla., that has toured in Hawai'i. But Jamie Brown, a local real-estate broker who represented Mystika, said the new show will be of a higher caliber than Moscow State Circus acts.

"It is completely different," Brown said. "It's going to be much more like a Vegas Cirque du Soleil kind of show."

Mystika is expected to provide the Florida-based group another show with a more permanent venue, while adding a new attraction to the wave of renovation and redevelopment of Waikiki hotels, shopping centers, roads and beaches over the past several years.

Rick Egged, executive director of the Waikiki Improvement Association, said Mystika will complement the handful of live productions that include comedy, magic, music and Polynesian shows.

"I think it's a great addition to our entertainment fare," he said.

The IMAX theater, which opened in 1991 with a towering screen and 420 seats, was closed two years ago by Consolidated Amusement Co., a Robertson Properties affiliate that acquired the theater in 1999 from Utah-based Destination Cinema.

Robertson Properties is Consolidated's real-estate development sister company, replacing the Waikiki III theater on Kalakaua Avenue with a two-story retail complex housing Foot Locker, California Pizza Kitchen, Whaler's Market, a steak-and-seafood restaurant and about 80 kiosks.

The California-based development company also is seeking a large retail tenant to occupy the former Waikiki I and II theater building next to the IMAX on Seaside. Swedelson said Robertson Properties is talking to a couple of big-box retailers for the 26,265-square foot site, but it is still available.

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