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Scene Last Night: Russell Martin, Bill Bradley, Guy Laliberte

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Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Russell Martin, Yankees catcher, and Guy Laliberte, founder of Cirque du Soleil founder and the nongovernmental organization One Drop, which brings safe water to developing countries.

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Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Russell Martin, Yankees catcher, and Guy Laliberte, founder of Cirque du Soleil founder and the nongovernmental organization One Drop, which brings safe water to developing countries. Close

Russell Martin, Yankees catcher, and Guy Laliberte, founder of Cirque du Soleil founder and the nongovernmental... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Former Senator Bill Bradley. Close

Former Senator Bill Bradley.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Kelly Pasciucco, interior designer; Liz Nolan, interior designer, and Gerry Pasciucco, CEO, financial products, American International Group. Close

Kelly Pasciucco, interior designer; Liz Nolan, interior designer, and Gerry Pasciucco, CEO, financial products,... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Joshua Bell. Close

Joshua Bell.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Lili-Anna Peresa, executive director, One Drop. Close

Lili-Anna Peresa, executive director, One Drop.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

France Chretien Desmarais and Andre Desmarais, co-CEO of Power Corp. of Canada. Close

France Chretien Desmarais and Andre Desmarais, co-CEO of Power Corp. of Canada.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

John Bernbach, chairman and CEO of Bernbach Group Inc., and his wife, Violaine Bernbach. Close

John Bernbach, chairman and CEO of Bernbach Group Inc., and his wife, Violaine Bernbach.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Students Natasha Zupamovic, Iona Temin and Bettina Forstmann with Marianna Petrolawicz, CEO of There Is No Limit Foundation. Close

Students Natasha Zupamovic, Iona Temin and Bettina Forstmann with Marianna Petrolawicz, CEO of There Is No Limit Foundation.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Gianluigi and Adrienne Vittadini. Her favorite part of the show: the dancer in white. "He was so elegant and powerful, so liquid," she said. Close

Gianluigi and Adrienne Vittadini. Her favorite part of the show: the dancer in white. "He was so elegant and... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Elisa Serret, a student, and Delphone Lamothe, a radio host. Close

Elisa Serret, a student, and Delphone Lamothe, a radio host.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Andrew Andrew meet comedian Judah Friedlander. Close

Andrew Andrew meet comedian Judah Friedlander.

At the world premiere of Cirque du Soleil’s new show, “Zarkana,” a man climbed a ladder with a woman standing on his shoulders. Another did flips off a moving contraption that looked a lot like a hamster wheel.

“I’m glad I can touch my toes,” said former Senator Bill Bradley during intermission at Radio City Music Hall.

Also in the opening-night crowd: violinist Joshua Bell (who worked with the show’s director, Francois Girard, on his film “The Red Violin”); fashion commentator Robert Verdi; and John and Lizzie Tisch.

“I loved the tightrope,” said Gerry Pasciucco, the chief executive officer of financial products at American International Group. “They must have tiny feet.”

While the show offered many human feats, offstage the man who founded Cirque du Soleil, Guy Laliberte, wanted to talk about a feat of nature: water.

Three and half years ago, Laliberte pledged $100 million over 25 years to the nongovernmental organization One Drop, which he founded and serves as chairman.

“Water is a source of life and a creative source of development,” Laliberte said at the after-party held at Roseland Ballroom.

He was standing in a roped-off area for One Drop benefactors with Russell Martin, the catcher for the New York Yankees who is a One Drop ambassador. Across the room was Cirque du Soleil board member Andre Desmarais, co-chief executive officer of Power Corp. of Canada, and his wife, France Chretien Desmarais, who is One Drop’s vice chairman, overseeing philanthropy. (She is also the daughter of former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien.)

A cello player and a midget roamed. Stands offered caramel popcorn and hotdogs. Guests played ring toss while waiting in line for macaroni and cheese.

Water Use

Banners offered statistics on water use per person per day. Boston was at the top of the chart, at 177 gallons. New York went through 125.8 gallons; Mozambique, 2.6.

One Drop’s executive director, Lili-Anna Peresa, tucked into a quiet corner as a cigarette girl offering carrot sticks passed by.

“Guy’s message is to think out of the box and that’s what we do at One Drop,” Peresa said. “We take an integrated, holistic approach.”

One Drop brings safe water to developing countries along with community education programs using local troupes, puppetry and circus arts. Locals can also apply for microfinancing. One woman was able to expand her garden. With the proceeds from sales of vegetables, she bought a refrigerator. “Now she’s the 7-Eleven of her village,” Peresa said.

The organization is growing rapidly. This year’s budget is $12 million, a 50% increase over last year’s. Next year the budget will be $20 million, Peresa said.

That’s keeping Laliberte busy fundraising. This month Assouline published a book of photographs he took during private space travel, with proceeds marked for One Drop. Next year he is participating in a poker tournament with 11.1% of the $1 million buy-in to be donated to One Drop.

The New York benefit party, one of many tacked onto Cirque du Soleil performances, raised $400,000. Other “La Soiree” events are planned in Toronto on Sept. 7, Montreal on Oct. 2, Los Angeles on November 10, Paris on Nov. 23, and Las Vegas on Dec. 3.

(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)

To contact the writer on this story: Amanda Gordon in New York at agordon01@bloomberg.net or on Twitter at @amandagordon.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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