#1 CIRQUE DREAMS ILLUMINATION
Collins Center For The Arts
University Of Maine
My first circus performance for 2010 started Friday evening February 5th at the Collins Center For The Arts at the University of Maine in Orono.
This was a great theatrical presentation by 24 talented performers in the Neil Goldberg's presentation of Cirque Dreams Illumination. Running time was 130 minutes with a 20 minute intermission. The show travels on 2 53' Semi trucks, 1 motor coach and a large RV style bus.
This was not a sell out show of the 1500 seat auditorium as I would say there was about 800 in attendance with the price range from $40 to $55. I would say that the low turn out was due to the U of M had a hockey game at the same time plus the past 2 circus style shows were so bad that some would not pay twice as much as those other shows cost as the economy in this area is bad for a $50 per seat production.
A program or rather say a pictorial revue of 24 full color pages of the acts was sold at $10 plus many other novilties and t-shirts. Missing in the program was any credits of the directors and performers who appeared in this production.
The show started off with a quick change routine that was lost with all the dancers and other circus routines going on at the same time. This went into ALL ABOARD a different style of slackwire where the wire raises and lowers during the act is a one of a kind act. One of the filler acts in this part of the show was an unsupported ladder routine. Than came WOMEN AT WORK an aerial cube act with up to 4 performers in the center cube and on either side a single performer cube. Rise and Shine was a chair stacking routine that was incredible as the chairs were not stacked straight up in this act. Another great act was AN URBAN BEAT with a male contosionist who moved his arms and legs in many different ways.A clown act that was a take off of many Circus Clown acts was received with excellant reception. It was the Hollywood Movie Production as the clown went out and picked out 3 men and 1 girl to participate in the gag. Than it was the sweet heart falling in love with guy and the jeaolus sheriff shoots him with the 3rd male holding the take board. A powerfull gag. A German Wheel style act with the male performer on just a single ring. A strongman routine in the TRAFFIC DETOUR. FLIPPING OUT ended the first half of the performance of foot juggling a human in a rizzly routine.
After a 20 minute intermission the rizzle performers started of with a clown routine based on the musical radio gag but a different varration Than onto a rolla bolla act using up to 5 cylanders on an elevated perch. An head ballancing act of 3 different props where a female is on top of the prop while the male balances it in his head. First it was a spiral device that turns, than a curved device and than the revolving rings that looked like a ball. A great act. Another strongman act with 3 performers that was dressed in silver colored outfits that looked like they were ice drippings. Ending the performance with a male performer strap act who was lying in a bath tub that had water in it. After each he was dipped in the water and when he came out the water was dripping off him. A female performer styled the act until they both were pulled into the air in his arms.
At different times during the show a female saxaphone player would be playing in different area of the floor. The show had a theme of a TV Reporter filming different things. All thru the show she was singing.
The only thing I felt was wrong that hurt the show was the music was just a little to loud, and I was sitting in the balcony. Overall this was another excellant Neil Goldberg Production.
#2 KORA SHRINE CIRCUS
Augusta Civic Center
On Saturday April 24th I attended the 2 P.M. 57th Kora Shrine Circus at the Augusta Civic Center in Augusta, Maine.
This circus was produced by James and Shirley Hamid for their 3rd year after taking over the Southern Half of the Maine Run that was produced by Wayne McCary who retired from producing this years for many, many years.
Appearing to a crowd of about 90% of the capacity of the Civic Center everyone was excited to see this 2 ring formatted circus which for years was only a one ringer.
I have to say this was the BEST PRODUCED and the STONGEST CIRCUS PRESENTATION that I have seen at any of Maine's Shrine Circus Performance that I have ever been to.
Every act was of top quality featuring performers of the Flying Pages, Tina Winn's Cyber Dome with Johnny Rocket and Jupiter Justin, Mercede and her ponies, juggling mastery of Shane Hansen, The Genie aka Eggroll, 11 tigers and 1 lion of the Nergers, audio mastery and musical director of the Windy City Larry Rothbard and Ringmaster Peter Sturgis plus many more.
2 of the 3 baby golden tigers that do not perform in the show sunning them self in the back lot during one of the few sunny dates that we have had in Maine this year.
This years circus presentation started off with the playing of the National Anthem and than the introduction of our ringmaster Peter Sturgis by the lovely Tina Winn. The show opened to one of the best Flying Trapeze Acts in the United States, THE FLYING PAGES. Missing was Anthony who was replaced with Randy who at the show mist the triple twice to the hands of the catcher Willie. Mercedes did her drop from the high catcher down to her father Willie and than caught the return bar to the styling and take-off area.. On with the Phamtom of The Opera Aerial Act which is new to any circus this year. The Debelas than it was Neecha's performing Doberman's who came out riding in the sidecar of a motorcycle. Egg Roll Kane with his Magical Genie routine, Miss Mercede's with her equestrian exhibition of liberty ponies and bareback riding. Shane Hansen with a fast juggling routine. I know I mist a few acts as I did not write down the performance and have been using the program in the program which sold for "donation" a bargin compared to other Shrine Circuses.
Intermission had the Pages set up with their pony rides.
The second half started with Jergen and Judit Nerger presenting the Hawthorn 11 tigers and 1 male African Lion. The best cat act that I have ever scene that came from the US. If you have no seen this act and your from New England they will once again be at the Champaign Valley Fair in Essec Jct., Vermont the last of August thru Labor Day. The Genie returns, Miss Julia performs on the Satiny Silks, Peter Sturgis and the Circus Light Contest and than it was Tina Winn presenting Justin Jupiter and Johnny Rocket with the Cyberdome. After a 2 hour show it is the Finale of the entire cast of this years 57th Shrine Circus.
One of the things that makes this show impressive is the lighting, flag dropping ending, and the light ring curbing as can be scene in the picture above along with the floor covering that is top notch. The little extra that makes this a top notch show.
Unable to perform was Justin Jupiter's Sky Wheel (Wheel of Destiny) because of the low ceiling.
Audio and musical director Larry Rothbard.
Ringmaster Peter Sturgis during the intermissiom
#3 ANAH TEMPLE SHRINE CIRCUS
May 1stCFA Tent #30's President Bill Perkins and Vice President Norm Waycott heads to the box office for the afternoons performance of the Anah Shrine Circus produced by Stuppi Hanneford of the Royal Hanneford Circus.
As the doors open the local Clowns from the Annah Temple entertain the crowds as they come into the auditorium.
On May 1st I started the day off with the CFA Tent #30 Spring Meeting and Luncheon in Bangor. After the meeting was ajourned most of the attendees drove to the Bangor Auditorium to see the 47th Annual Anah Shrine Circus produced for the 3rd year by Stuppi Hanneford and the Royal Hanneford Circus.
The weather was one of the nicest days so far this year in Maine. A crowd of about 60% of the auditorium capacity watch the 1 hour 50 minutes performance that saw a 20+ minute intermission during the performance. Ticket prices for this years circus rose by $2 over previous years.
The show started a few minutes past the 2 P.M. starting time due to the last minute arrivals a chance to get seated. Charlie Van Buskirk a fixture of the Anah Circus was once again Ringmaster presented a young lady to sing the National Anthem. Than it was Vicenta Pages with her beautiful white tigers. (The cage was set up during the whole performance on a mat that made it look like a 2 ring circus. The only draw back was the way it was set up so one side of the auditorium could not see the act. The act was directed only to one side of the auditorium, luckly I was seated on the good side for this quality tiger act. On with the show as Miss Chrystie on the aerial Chiffons on one side and Miss Gemmo on the Lyra on the opposite side performed together. Miss Arianna Alveraz with her hula hoops were next. Than came Joanne Penson (Wilson) presented her performing canines with the help of PeeWee. Hand balancing of Areburch on a pedestal and ending the first half was Ms Crini on the flying trapeze with outstanding catches.
After the intermission the second half started off with the Flying Cortes Family who I have seen many times. But this was the best presentation of this family that I have scene. With all the basic routines and the completion of the triple by Alex this would have been a regular style act. My favorite two routines that are new to the act was one of the female fliers flew to the catcher Robinson who than flipped her up to a stationary bar where she made a few spins on the bar. Than she dropped back to the catcher than went back to the return bar. Just this move made the flyers stand out. On the dismount after everyone came down. Alex was the last to come down. When he took of to come down, he shot up to the high stationary bar than drop straight down to the net. An excelant dismount for a super act performance. Out comes the Shrine clowns with their weight loss gag while the safety net was taking down. Now it was the Alvarez Family Teetor Board Act and then it was on with the Vicenta Horse act. The final act of the performance was the Box Contortion of the Seranyen (2 girls get into a glass cube about 3 ft by 3 foot shut the door behind them and than get out of the box. The show ended with a bow rather a wave from all the performers in the ring including the Shrine Clowns. MY OPINION:
Overall this was a good show. Short on time. A bad set up for the Tigers. No Grand Entry or Flag Dropping at the end. No hanging lights, clown heads, drapes on the corners or lighted curbs. The sound system really sucks as were I was seated you couldn't hear anything clearly. My biggest concern is for the Anah Shriners you need to get rid of your outdated lights and ring curbing and get into the modern world. Let the circus producer use their professional equipment instead of using your outdated 1950 style equipment that you think makes this show so good.
Yesterday my girlfriend asked a shriner in Medway why the circus don't have elephants anymore. And he said it was because of all the laws and permits needed NO Elephants. I chimed in and said wasn't it because no one wants to pay for them? And he got a little upset.
During the intermission CFA Tent #30's President Bill Perkins (left) and CFA Tent #30's Secretary and Webmaster of www.circusrevue.com Crash Moreau, chats with Vencenta Pages in the back lot.#4 COLE BROTHERS ALL-STAR CIRCUS
#5 KELLY - MILLER CIRCUS
June 30Mike leads a camel for camel rides on the show. Caroline was handling the tickets for the ride.
During the elephant rides on the lot this day was two elephants saddled up. Gerry Bryds nephew leads the way with one elephants and Armando walks with the second on the elephant rides.
Armando Loyal present 3 of the Carson Barnes Elephants with only voice commands. It is so nice to see a handler not hooking during the show. It was so nice to see how Lisa has grown up over the years since the days she was with Turtle Benson on the Robert's Brothers Circus.KM's mad chef Brian LaPalm as he looks out his kitchen serving window. I have to say that Brian made the best spagetti and meatballs that I have ever had while traveling the country. If you work on KM you will never starve when Brian is cooking. Every thing is homemade. Thank-you Brian for a great meal to carry me home which was about an 8 hour drive.#6 WALKER BROTHERS CIRCUS (lot set-up)
I took a drive to Danforth to check out the lot of the Walker Brothers Circus. It was located on a nice green grass ball field in back of the local school.I took a few pictures of the set-up and left. The next day I heard the mosqito's was horrible at that spot. My main reason to go to Danforth is I have never been to this small town since I was a young kid and wanted to see another part of Maine.
#7 WALKER BROTHERS CIRCUS
#8 WALKER BROTHERS CIRCUS ( lot set-up)
July 24In the afternoon I took another drive to another town that I havn't been in for over 40 years. As I drove into town about 2 miles away coming down a big hill I spotted on the horizon standing out the Big Yellow and Red Top of the Walker Brothers Circus surounded by trees and the building of the town. What a picture? This small town finally had a circus and people was walking down the street to get to the lot which was located at an intersection that one road heads to the top of Maine and the other heads to Baxter State Park home of Maine's famous Mountain, MT Katahdin. This performance was the third of a 4 show 2 day stand. I was surprised to see the locals coming out to the lot. Set-up of the tent was opposite to other lots that I have seen in previuos locals and the entry to the top was at the right hand end on the right side. Extra bleachers were set up by the door and the end as you come into the tent with the seat wagons on the far side of the tent. At this spot, and the 3rd show for this town, the show was over 60% full. Show was the same as in Lincoln a week earlier. When the show headed out they were headed to NH and than VT.