by Sally-Page Stuck
I know what you’re thinking. The whole fam-damily is coming for the holidays and you’ve got to keep them entertained before they get all grinchy. That’s why you should take them to Cirque Dreams Holidaze at the Winspear Opera House.
The glittery set and costumes seem straight out of a child’s coloring book. A giant sparkly tree stands center stage. Here’s the plot: The ornaments dance off the tree and play while mere mortals are asleep. The audience gets a sneaky peak and it is magical.
A quartet of singers carries the plot along. Kathleen Grace Fiori, Armando Gutierrez, Kelli Koloszar and Justin Allen Tate are the singing Angel, Elf, Ice Queen and Dickens. The singers show remarkable versatility and skill. They add touches of different styles – classical, Gospel and Elvis rock – to standard Broadway belting.
The other ornaments present one acrobatic act after another, each more amazing than the last. A toy soldier balances on a tightrope. Reindeers jump with so many ropes it’s a wonder they don’t tangle up like holiday lights. A penguin balances on wobbly tubes. Death defying stunts are performed with seemingly effortless ease. Every move is so precise you’ll begin to wonder if they practice with protractors.
Andrey Lyamin and Olena Piontkevych, aerial silk artists, fly over the audience, rendering a collective “Whoa!”
Quick change artists, Natalia Khazina and Ilya Ryshkov, must have gone through at least a couple of dozen outfits in a few minutes. (OK. I do the same thing before going out, but not quite this quickly.) Khazin stands perfectly still wearing a short red dress. Then a clown tosses white confetti on her and POOF! Right in front of your eyes, her short, red dress turns into a long white gown. In front of your eyes! She doesn’t move! How does she do that?
Perhaps the most memorable acts are the child acrobats. Yes, you read right. I said child acrobats. A small child sits on Santa’s knee (Sergei Zolotukhin and Anastasia Zolotikhina). The next thing you know, Santa is tossing that adorable girl in the air, her aerial splits taking your breath away. Your Uncle Bill – the one who tossed you in the air as a baby – ain’t got nothin’ on this Santa. Later in the second act, gingerbread men (Samail Haftu and Amanual Hayle) fly and flip and flip and fly until you are sure their frosting with come off.
Cirque Dreams, based in Pompano Beach, Florida, presents Holidaze December 18-23. Tickets for Cirque Dreams Holidaze range from $25 – $150, with prime seats for most performances priced at $65.
Tickets may be purchased online, by phone at 214.880.0202, or in person at the AT&T Performing Arts Center Box Office at the Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora Street (Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.), or at the remote Box Office at Park Place Lexus Plano at 1025 Preston Road.