Cirque Dreams Holidaze Adds Spice to the Holiday Scene

Cirque Dreams: Holidaze IN Wilmington Delaware November 23-25

It’s the holiday season. So, whoop-de-do. Time for the annual six-week marathon of local productions of “The Nutcracker” and “A Christmas Carol,” various tree-lighting ceremonies, visits and parades with Santa, and yuletide jazz shows seemingly every day and night of the week through the new year.

While the local landscape of entertainment offers plenty of options, Director Neil Goldberg’s “Cirque Dreams Holidaze” holiday show offers a nice respite from the standard holiday fare. His two-hour production is basically a holiday stage festival, marrying cirque artistry with more than 300 costumes, lights, pageantry and song, and will be visiting The Grand Opera House in Wilmington for four shows.

“When I began working on ‘Cirque Dreams Holidaze,’ I wanted it to be a tribute to my childhood memories of the time of year that makes everyone happy,” says Goldberg. “There are more than 20 scenes that each tell their individual stories, covering everything from Christmas and Hanukkah to the shopping experience, Santa and his elves at the North Pole, and holiday songs we’ve come to know and love.”

For those familiar with Cirque du Soleil, which coincidentally just purchased the rights to the Cirque Dreams program a few months ago, “Holidaze” is very similar in its overall presentation. There are more than 30 artists in the cast, including aerialists, jugglers, contortionists and illusionists. Goldberg says, however, that the show is not a book musical, and that each vignette offers something different.

“Every scene tells a new story, typically through a musical narration by a Broadway singer, and we cover everything from the classics to ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,’” says Goldberg. “For example, during ‘Holy Night’ scene, we’ll have the music playing and one of our featured singers narrating through song, while aerialists portray angels flying through the air.”

Goldberg himself has spent nearly three passionate decades traveling the world while researching different forms of cirque art. He’s visited the state school of contortion in Mongolia, various acrobatic associations in Beijing and China, festivals in Monte Carlo and circus and variety theater in Germany and France.

“This kind of artistry has always inspired me, so I wanted to find a way to celebrate it with a medium that brings everything together,” says Goldberg. “Of course, I use my own imagination and theatrical background, which goes hand in hand with the artists. Ever since I saw ‘The Miracle Worker’ on Broadway as an eight-year-old, I’ve been fascinated by the theater. To be involved at this level is a dream come true.”

Cirque Dreams Holidaze will be performing at The Grand Nov. 23-25, with evening shows at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and matinee shows at 2 p.m. Saturday at Sunday. Tickets are $40 each and can be purchased at www.thegrandwilmington.org.