Wonders of Mother Nature inspire ‘Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy’
Neil Goldberg’s “Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy” is coming to two area venues.
One of the theatrical and circus director’s many productions created from his Dream Studios in Pompano Beach, Fla., the acrobatic and musical adventure is inspired by Mother Nature’s wonder and beauty.
Western Pennsylvania audiences will have an opportunity to see “Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy” in action during a U.S. engagement in September in five states, including performances Sept. 12 at Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana; and Sept. 13 at UPMC Events Center at Robert Morris University, Moon.
The show has played more than 2,000 dates since 2007 to audiences all over the world, he says, from Broadway and Las Vegas to cruise ships and military bases in 10 countries in association with Armed Forces Entertainment.
Butterflies and giraffes
The “Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy” interpretation of nature’s creations in a jungle setting — featuring everything from aerial butterflies and balancing giraffes to gigantic flowers and trees — is brought to life by an international cast of aerialists, contortionists, jugglers, acrobats and magicians.
Audiences will follow a young adventurer who is transported into the dream-like jungle and ventures to try all of the circus-style disciplines he sees being performed in its midst.
“Every one of the artists is transformed into as many as four different jungle characters, with over 150 costume changes in the show and special effects,” Goldberg said in a phone call from his Florida production facility.
Broadway plus Cirque
“We take all of the disciplines people want to see in a Cirque show, such as the acrobats and variety acts. Collectively, they bring the jungle together. It’s a lot of Broadway, a lot of Cirque,” he says.
“Jungle Fantasy” has changed in its form since its Broadway opening in 2008 when it featured eight scenes in Act 1 and seven in Act 2. It was relaunched in 2010 at the MGM Grand Theatre at Foxwoods, Conn., with Debbie Gibson in the title role of Mother Nature.
“Today we have more scenes, and nothing lasts more than four and a half minutes,” Goldberg said. “This show has so many layers; we keep it moving to keep the audience’s attention.”
Goldberg, a “snow bird” of sorts who eventually relocated from the cold winters of Long Island, N.Y., to the Sunshine State, said his team has ideas to re-imagine “Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy” to take to Europe, where circuses feature more of an intimate cabaret setting.
He also has China on his bucket list of places he’d like to see his show performed.
Currently nine different “Cirque Dreams” productions are being presented on cruise ships and in different areas of the U.S. and abroad.
Goldberg said he sold his company in 2018 to Cirque du Soleil, where “Cirque Dreams” became a division of the Canadian entertainment company. He still maintains his position as artistic director of “Cirque Dreams.”
“I love what I do and I’m very passionate about it,” he said.
His next traveling musical production, “Cirque Dreams Holidaze,” will launch in mid-November and will run throughout the holiday season in various parts of the U.S.
Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.