Imagine a fantasy in which Christmas ornaments come to life, dancing and playing around a majestic 24-foot-tall Christmas tree.
That's the premise for Cirque Dreams Holidaze, which will stop in the Tivoli Theatre for one performance on Friday night, Nov. 29.
It's a glittering (10,000 Swarovski crystals and rhinestones embellish more than 300 costumes), whimsical (dancing reindeer) spectacle that combines Broadway-style production with Cirque's renowned aerialists and acrobats.
"When the curtain comes up, the audience is so taken aback," says Neil Goldberg, Cirque Dreams founder and director of the six Cirque Dreams Holidaze shows on the road.
"When I started this 12 years ago, there was really not a lot of holiday show entertainment in the market other than the traditional 'Nutcracker' and local performances. This has grown in popularity and in certain cities is a holiday tradition," he says.
Goldberg searched the world to assemble a cast of cirque artists, singers and dancers to create a show that combines Broadway's musical theater with European-style circus.
"There is a cast of 30 all dressed as ornaments in every theme you can imagine: poinsettias to menorahs to angels. For the next two hours, we bring them to life and every ornament tells a different theme of the holiday season," Goldberg describes.
For example, the snowman might tell the winter wonderland theme, gingerbread men flip out of the fireplace and continue tossing each other in the air until they've built a 24-foot-high gingerbread house.
Christmas scenes start with Thanksgiving, continuing through holiday preparations, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year's.
One scene emulating getting dressed for the holiday season utilizes quick-change artistry to add comedy to a female's multiple clothing changes.
"They change costumes 13 times in three minutes," laughs Goldberg with delight. "It's a very uptempo scene with gift boxes moving in the background and lots of choreography."
While the song-and-dance routines, glittering costumes and props create the eye candy, the daredevil, gasp-inducing artistry for which Cirque productions are known is equally highlighted.
If you go
* What: Cirque Dreams Holidaze
* Where: Tivoli Theatre, 709 Broad St.
* When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29
* Admission: Sold out with the exception of a few single seats
* For more information: 423-757-5580
"The audience will be introduced to a flock of penguins who are waddling, slipping and sliding. They begin to stack snowballs and cylinders on top of each other until they are 15 feet in the air and defy the law of gravity. A penguin balances on the cylinders. I have seen audience members with their hands over their eyes during this act, and I can truly say this act brings audiences to the edge of their seats. Yet, it's fun and you can't help but giggle while you are covering your eyes," says Goldberg.
And that's the point of Cirque Dreams Holidaze. It's a sleigh full of fun and fantasy that all ages of the family can enjoy.
"This show is for ages 3 to 93. I've watched preschoolers sit spellbound for two hours. We get emails from moms that say, 'Thank you that my child was able to enjoy this, and I was able to enjoy it as well.'"
Even fans who have seen previous Cirque shows that passed through town will be amazed by Holidaze, he believes.
"If you love the holidays, Broadway shows, spectacularly designed costumes, we put all that together with performance artistry. It's all about the holidays. That is what has made this show so special and seen by millions of people around the country."
Contact Susan Pierce at email@example.com or 423-757-6284.