Neil Goldberg, founder and artistic director of Cirque Productions, takes pride in the fact that reviews of his many Cirque Dreams shows usually mention the word “spectacle.” He promises the same grandeur when Cirque Dream Holidaze debuts in the DC area with an eight-show run at the Kennedy Center next week.
Goldberg describes his directing style as “kaleidoscopic.” He floods the stage with over 30 performers who don over 300 costumes during the course of the show, their energy non-stop from the first reveal of a 30-foot Christmas tree decorated with human ornaments.
Goldberg combines an impresario’s eye with a child’s excitement which comes out when he talks about such favorite moments as when tin soldiers walk on a high wire while gingerbread cookies are doing flips and penguins are skating underneath. “I was a childhood dreamer,” he explained. When everyone else was looking at the blackboard he was staring out the window making images out of cloud formations. Everyone can tap into their innate imagination and sense of wonder, he adds. As a result, his shows draw a relatively even mixture of adults and families with children.
Goldberg founded Cirque Productions in 1993 with the goal of combining his theatre background with the best of American and European circus influences. Since that time, he has designed and produced numerous shows for TV networks, amusement parks, casinos, a cruise ship, the Miss Universe pageant, and even two Super Bowl shows.
Despite this long history of success, Goldberg feels that Cirque Productions is just now hitting its stride. In 2008, against conventional wisdom, he took his production Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy to Broadway. The show was both a critical and box office success. That success drew the attention of venue producers around the country and opened the door for Holidaze.
Goldberg had always wanted to do a holiday show that was a “celebratory, very relateable, an engaging spectacle on stage combining multiple disciplines.” He tested the concept in 2009 with a six-week tour that demonstrated a public appetite for the show despite competing holiday options.
Now, with a version bigger and more extravagant than the 2009 show, Goldberg is touring two companies of Holidaze and has stocked his companies with world-class acrobats from across the globe, including China, Ethiopia, Brazil, Russia, Ukraine, France, and the United States. To accommodate the different cultures, three interpreters travel with the shows.
Goldberg is looking forward to bringing Holidaze to the Kennedy Center’s Opera House, a venue he considers both “spectacular” and an enjoyable challenge. He hopes that even audiences who have been in the Opera House before will “feel like I’ve completely transformed the stage and the venue.”
Cirque Dream Holidaze will play at the Kennedy Center evenings from Tuesday, December 7th through Sunday, December 12th, 2010 with two matinee performances on the weekend.