by Liltera Williams
The electrifying production, Cirque Dreams Illumination, will ignite Jacksonville when it comes to at the Times-Union Center’s Moran Theater February 15th to the 20th. Created and directed by Neil Goldberg and presented by the Artist Series, the latest Cirque Dreams installment will showcase “ordinary people doing ordinary things.” According to company manager, Jenn Sierra, the audience will be “immersed into an urban metropolis environment and take a journey through illumination in a subway setting.”
Cirque Productions was founded in 1993 by Neil Goldberg. He has created over 13 original productions, catering to an audience of over 20 million people. Headquartered in Dream Studios, performers are able to develop their skills with trained, professional coaches and choreographers and execute their scenes in specially manufactured costumes and accessories.
The European circus artistry of the Cirque Dreams brand has been entertaining audiences worldwide with its breathtaking, acrobatic stunt formations and magical trickery. Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy received rave reviews as the only show of its kind to ever perform on Broadway. Neil Goldberg’s Cirque Dreams Illumination aims to heighten the imagination while illuminating the simplicities of everyday occurrences and bringing dreams to life. As an ode to making dreams come true, Cirque Dreams Illumination and the Artist Series teamed up to offer one lucky dreamer the chance to “Run away with Cirque Dreams” during an open casting call held at the Avenues Mall on Saturday, January 29th.
Fifteen contestants auditioned for the chance to perform as a member of the cast during the production’s stay in Jacksonville. A variety of aspiring Broadway hopefuls, ranging from ages seven to 23, took the stage to show off their talents. Mall-goers stopped to witness an Irish tap dancer, a first degree black belt karate kid, an expert hula hooper, a band of masked drummers, double jointed tumblers, a cheerleading gymnast and trained theatrical singers and dancers. Onlookers were also granted a sneak peek of the show as they watched Cirque cast member Victor Dodonov balance himself in the air on an unstable cylinder base and twirl around on a small rectangular board atop a 10-pound bowling ball.
Video footage will be sent to Cirque Dreams creators and one lucky winner will be trained locally to perform an integrated choreographed feature role in a custom-made costume and will also receive six complimentary tickets for their debut performance.
Since 2008, “Run away with Cirque Dreams” has provided a platform for performers all over the United States to enrich and perfect their unique talents with guidance and direction from the Cirque Dreams team. Open casting calls are held in cities where lengthy performances will occur. Sierra recalls past auditions involving “an 8 year old contortionist, an 88 year old tap dancer, a bucket drummer and a Diablo yoyo.”
Perhaps the most intriguing element of the Cirque Dreams experience is their ability to create an imaginative world for families to travel through together. On opening night, February 15th, the Artist Series will hold its annual Family Night on Broadway. There will be kid-friendly Cirque Dreams Illumination-themed games and interactive activities taking place in the lobby before and after the performance. Cast members will teach those in attendance how to juggle, hula hoop and balance themselves on various objects.
When Cirque Dreams Illumination lights up Jacksonville’s Times-Union Center’s Moran Theater stage, it will surely prove that dreams do come true.
Cirque Dreams to Illuminate Jacksonville
by Liltera Williams