Showing posts with label circus arts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label circus arts. Show all posts

Friday, April 22, 2022

REVIEW: Surface Tension at Chicago Circus & Performing Arts Festival 2022

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar:

Surface Tension

by to x for

(all ages)

Thursday 5:30-7, Friday 7:30-9

at The Den Theatre in Chicago's Wicker Park Neighborhood

Photos tag: @xav13rclaudio


By Bonnie Kenaz-Mara

I caught this piece at the opening of the  Chicago Circus & Performing Arts Festival Thursday night and I was completely charmed by Surface Tension.  David and Liam, clad in overalls, embody the childlike curiosity and play of preschoolers, or puppies, with the adult twist of impressive circus skills and control. This lovely exploration of parallel play, competition, bonding, and friendship runs the gamut of positive and negative emotions. Surface Tension includes gift giving and forgiving, the pettiness of fighting and storming off, love, loss, and reconciliation. The friends take turns sharing time in the spotlight, creating, entertaining and supporting one another through juggling, diablo, movement, and partner acro. Highly recommended. Great for all ages. It's a playful, positive piece, full of genuine camaraderie, that's a joy to see. 

It was my pleasure to interview David Chervony as one of our five featured artists for the fest. Check it out, then keep an eye out for Surface Tension and/or ​to x for. I'm hoping this piece is just the first of many to come from ​to x for, contemporary circus company. 

Chicago Circus & Performing Arts Festival kicks off Thursday and runs through Sunday at The Den Theatre! We've picked 5 performers from the upcoming fest to feature and we're asking them all Six Quick Questions. Meet artist, David Chervony, whose show is one of the fest openers at 5:30 Thursday and repeats Friday night as well.

ChiIL Live Shows' Interview 

Your name/pronouns: David Chervony (He/They)

Your show(s) title/dates/times: Surface Tension, Thursday at 5:30p, Friday at 7:30p at the Bookspan Theater

1.  ChiIL Live Shows: Tell me something quirky or unique about yourself?

I have an encyclopedic knowledge of board games.

2. CLS: Why do you personally do circus arts/dance/performing arts?

I have a lot to say and have no idea how to say it. I love being with audiences, with them challenging me and I them. I love doing things that don't make sense. Circus (and all art) has allowed me to do these things.

3. CLS: How has the pandemic impacted and/or changed you as a performing artist?

I've been able to focus on how I want to create as an artist. It is easy to get entirely lost in solo work as a circus artist--especially with juggling, I can practice for hours and never interact with anyone else. But during the pandemic, I re-discovered how important the ensemble is for my creative process. Collaboration and trust allow me to tell stories I can't imagine telling without other artists.

4. CLS: Did you devise your own act or audition? If it’s your own, what sparked the idea for this piece? If it’s a collaboration, what made you want to be part of this act?

Liam Bradley and I first started working together late last year on an elementary school show. Originally, I thought it was just going to be a job--but very quickly, things evolved. We wrote massive amounts of material in a matter of days. We bonded over shared experiences and our thoughts about art. It was, as we both have said, the easiest creation process either of us have ever been in. We decided to create a full-length work, founded our grassroots collective, Company To X For, and debuted Surface Tension at Miniball Fest in Philadelphia in early April. It received a terrific reception and we are so excited to share this intimate, personal, and fun contemporary circus show in the Chicago Circus and Performing Arts Festival.

5. CLS: What type of audience do you envision seeing your show and why?

Our show is about a queer relationship. This show is for anyone who has ever had a close friendship or relationship. This show is for all ages. We truly believe this show has something for everyone.

6. CLS: Any words of wisdom for younger performers who want to follow in your footsteps?

Create what you want and what you need. Find what inspires you. Do things that scare you. And always, always, charge more money for your work. You're worth it.

For more info on the whole fest running this Thursday through Sunday, here's our feature:

Bonnie is a Chicago based writer, theatre critic, photographer, videographer, actress, artist and Mama. She owns two websites where she publishes frequently: (adult) & (family friendly). 

Surface Tension takes a beautiful and daring look at a queer friendship. At points ecstatic, dark, searching, and joyful, this intimate circus show celebrates vulnerable connection through sincere juggling, acrobatics, weight-sharing, object manipulation, and dance. 

Purchase tickets HERE:

Company Info: @CompanyToXFor

​to x for is a new contemporary circus company created by Liam Bradley and David Chervony.    We create intimate work through juggling, acrobatics, and dance that is driven by passion, connection, and pure excitement. We are currently in development of our first work, entitled Surface Tension. The initial iteration of the work was first performed this November, but we have plans to expand it much farther.

David Chervony is a circus artist and creator based in Chicago. He has performed nationally, notably with Midnight Circus, Cirque Us!, Masters of Gravity, and others. He directed AMAZE at the Mickey Gilley Grand Shanghai Theater in Branson, Missouri as well as writing and producing Life of the Party by Low Ceiling Circus. For more information, including his CV and videos, visit

Liam Bradley is a juggler, acrobat, and mover from Chicago, IL. Liam is a graduate of Circadium School of Contemporary Circus and he's currently excitedly working on circus projects in his hometown. Liam plays with rhythm, space, and convention to create unique manipulation and movement performances. He’s inspired by old school hip-hop, impressionist paintings, and over-priced food. His goal is to defy expectations and create entirely curious compositions.

Thursday, July 18, 2019



Menu designed by Chicago Icon “The Goddess” Debbie Sharpe 

 Herb Roasted Atlantic Salmon
(Photo Credit for all: Alan Alabastro)

Looking for an exciting entertainment and dining experience in Chicago unlike any other? Check out Teatro ZinZanni's Chicago premiere of Love, Chaos, & Dinner, the critically acclaimed show combining the best of cirque, cabaret, spectacle, live music, comedy and fine dining. The menu, designed by top local caterer “The Goddess” Debbie Sharpe, will make its public debut when the production begins July 18, 2019 at The Spiegeltent ZaZou, a Belgian mirror tent filled with unique, historic touches located on the 14th floor in the new opened Cambria Hotel (32 West Randolph St.). 

Tickets for Teatro ZinZanni’s Love, Chaos & Dinner include a four-course meal for dinner or brunch, with special a la carte party enhancements, signature cocktails and upgrades available. All meals come with an edamame and pea hummus as an appetizer, a Summer Salad as a first course and a slice of vanilla cheesecake as a dessert. 

Main entrée items are below: 

Braised Beef Short Rib – Yukon gold mashed potatoes, honey roasted carrots, red wine demi 

Bucatini Pasta – Sweet Italian sausage, peas, fresh mozzarella, basil, tomato ragout 

Thai Curry – Tofu, vegetables, jasmine rice, thai basil, crispy rice noodles 

Oven Roasted Chicken Breast (Dinner entrée only) – Scalloped potatoes, haricot verts, blistered campari tomatoes, 
chicken jus 

Herb Roasted Atlantic Salmon (Dinner entrée only) – Toasted farro and spinach pilaf, summer ratatouille 

Smoked Salmon Platter (Brunch entrée only) – Whipped cream cheese, egg salad, sliced tomato, red onion, cucumber, 
capers, lemon and warm bagel 

Asian Chicken Salad (Brunch entrée only) – Rainbow kale, Napa cabbage, almonds, edamame, crispy egg noodles, 
oranges, ginger soy dressing 

“The Goddess” Debbie Sharpe will oversee and develop the menus for private events in this stunning new space. The Spiegeltent ZaZou is available to host lunches Monday through Friday and dinner on “Dark Nights.” The one-of-a-kind venue can seat up to 330 guests and is a perfect setting for corporate meetings, social events, convention hospitalities, non-profit 
galas, and other unique celebrations. The spacious bar and lobby area can seat groups of up to 100 guests for an elegant dinner or accommodate up to 200 guests for a cocktail reception event. 

Individual tickets, which include a four-course meal, are currently on-sale through September 29 and range in price from $99 - $189 For groups of 10 or more, call Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710 or email For more tickets and more information, visit

Teatro ZinZanni was founded in 1998 launching a wholly original new form of entertainment combining a unique fusion of cirque, comedy, cabaret, spectacle, and live music while serving up a multi-course feast. Inspired by the great cabarets of Europe, a team of creative artists and theatre professionals who have been working together for over 40 years created Teatro ZinZanni. Led by Founder Norm Langill, Teatro ZinZanni has featured celebrated artists from the worlds of cirque, clowning, cabaret, music, aerial arts, magic, and illusion. Performers over the years have included internationally recognized names like Joan Baez and Ann Wilson. The Chicago engagement is presented in the Spiegeltent ZaZou on the 14th floor in the newly opened Cambria Hotel Chicago Loop located in the Theatre District. The previously forgotten space was discovered in 2017 during the renovation of the Cambria Hotel when dropped ceilings were removed revealing the original grand space within the 1926 historic building. 

For more information, visit
Follow @teatro_zinzanni on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook 

Two parts rock n’ roll, one part Chicago, and one sassy Aussie Debbie Sharpe is The Goddess. The Goddess got her background in rock n’ roll catering, traveling the globe and feeding some of the most influential musicians of our time including The Rolling Stones, Madonna, U2 and Fleetwood Mac. Instantly falling in love with Chicago, she got off the Paul McCartney tour bus and laid down roots in the Wicker Park – Bucktown neighborhood in 1990. Serving a colorful, globally inspired menu of creative sandwiches, vibrant salads, mix-and-match square meals, and gourmet pantry items, she opened The Goddess and Grocer in 2004 and it was an instant hit. Debbie believes in the power of community, the influence of music, and that great food brings people together. 

Randolph Entertainment is a partnership of some 25 people who share in the vision of bringing an extraordinary experience to Chicago. A group of mostly Chicago based individuals; the partnership is committed to being a good neighbor and contributor to Chicago’s vibrant cultural community. Stanley Feig, a veteran of the entertainment industry with a career spanning several decades, manages the partnership. 


Originally constructed in 1927, Cambria Hotel Chicago Loop – Theatre District, located at 32 W. Randolph St., is located above the historic James N. Nederlander Theatre and offers a décor that maintains the building’s colorful past through unique design features, while presenting a sleek 21st-century aesthetic as well as modern essentials. Situated on the upper 19 floors of the 22 story building, Cambria Chicago Loop - Theatre District features 199 stylish guestrooms, two lavish suites- one of which boasts an enchanting 18 foot high cathedral window that is original to the building, a game room complete with pool tables, shuffleboard, foosball and TV’s for watching games, a fitness center, and 2,600 square feet of adaptable function space that can be separated into four state-of-the-art meeting rooms, allowing for ultimate flexibility. To learn more, visit their website. 
July 17th

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

SAVE THE DATES: Circolombia’s ACÉLÉRÉ To Play The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare October 23 – November 4, 2018

Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:

Circus troupe combines jaw-dropping acrobatics with dance 
and music culminating 
Destinos – Chicago International Latino Theater Festival


Limited engagement in The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare, 
October 23 – November 4, 2018

Chicago Shakespeare Theater announces a special theatrical event from celebrated Colombia circus troupe Circolombia’s Acéléré, presented for a limited engagement in The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare, October 23–November 4, 2018.

 All Photos by Roberto Ricciuti

Here at ChiIL Live Shows and ChiIL Mama we've reviewed professional circus shows from around the world, and we're beyond excited to see Acéléré! Tickets are sure to be in high demand for this family friendly, short run, circus extravaganza. Don't miss this.


Packed with explosive power and raw skill, the high-energy spectacle features jaw-dropping circus feats from aerialists, acrobats, and contortionists—interwoven with the troupe’s signature live music and dance performances, spanning genres from hip-hop and electro cumbia to drum and bass. Straight from an acclaimed run on the Thames’ South Bank under the iconic London Eye and a sell-out engagement at Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Acéléré makes its North American debut as the culminating event of the second annual Destinos – Chicago International Latino Theater Festival.

Acéléré is a “non-stop circus party,” according to UK’s The Stage. TimeOut London called it “an adrenaline-fuelled mix of strength, skill and daring… a great night out.” The Scotsman praises the show’s “high-flying acrobatics that make you gasp out loud…This is the circus performance that shows others how it’s done. Go.”

Direct from the Chicago Sister City of Bogotá, Colombia, Circolombia is no ordinary circus troupe. Taking inspiration from Colombia’s diverse communities, the majority of the company is comprised of top graduates from the country’s national circus school.

Circolombia's Acéléré culminates this year’s Destinos – Chicago International Latino Theater Festival (September 20 – November 4), spearheaded by the Chicago Latino Theater Alliance (CLATA). CLATA was created in 2016 by Executive Director Myrna Salazar and a consortium of Chicago cultural institutions, led by the National Museum of Mexican Art (NMMA), International Latino Cultural Center (ILCC), and the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance (PRAA). CLATA aims to celebrate and amplify the voices of Latino theater artists in Chicago. Throughout October 2018, Destinos (translated as destinies, destinations, or fate) will feature works by local Chicago Latino theater companies alongside international artists. The presentation of Acéléré marks the second year that Chicago Shakespeare has participated in the Chicago International Latino Theater Festival.

For more information, visit

Circolombia's Acéléré is presented in The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare, October 23–November 4, 2018. Single tickets ($30-$45) will be on sale later this summer. Special discounts are available for groups of 10 or more, as well as CST for $20 tickets for patrons under 35. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit the Theater’s website at

Circolombia's Acéléré joins previously announced productions in the 2018/19 Season:

Peter Pan, A Musical Adventure
CST’s Courtyard Theater | Now through August 19, 2018
music by George Stiles | lyrics by Anthony Drewe | in a new version by Elliot Davis based on the book by Willis Hall | adapted from the play by J.M. Barrie with permission from Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children | directed & choreographed by Amber Mak

A Midsummer Night's Dream
touring to neighborhood parks | Now through August 26, 2018
adapted and directed by Barbara Gaines

Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare | September 12–22, 2018
directed & performed by Valentijn Dhaenens

Nell Gwynn
CST’s Courtyard Theater | September 20–November 4, 2018
by Jessica Swale | directed by Christopher Luscombe

BIG IN BELGIUM | Ontroerend Goed
Fight Night
The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare | October 23–November 4, 2018
written by Alexander Devriendt, Angelo Tijssens, and the Cast | directed by Alexander Devriendt

Q Brothers Christmas Carol
The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare | November 20–December 30, 2018
written by Q Brothers Collective (GQ, JQ, Jax, Pos) | directed by GQ and JQ | developed with Rick Boynton

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
CST’s Courtyard Theater | December 6, 2018–January 27, 2019
by William Shakespeare | directed by Joe Dowling

Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare | January 22–February 3, 2019
written & directed by Carly Wijs

L'après midi d'un foehn
The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare | January 23–27, 2019
created by Phia Ménard | co-presented with Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival

Short Shakespeare! Macbeth
CST’s Courtyard Theater | February 16–March 16, 2019
by William Shakespeare | adapted & directed by Marti Lyons

WORLDSTAGE FROM THE UNITED KINGDOM | National Theatre of Great Britain
An Inspector Calls
The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare | February 19–March 10, 2019
by JB Priestly | directed by Stephen Daldry

Two Pints
CST’s The Pub | March 6–31, 2019
by Roddy Doyle | directed by Caitríona McLaughlin

CST’s Courtyard Theater | April 17–June 9, 2019
by William Shakespeare | directed by Barbara Gaines

Bedknobs and Broomsticks
The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare | May 30–July 28, 2019
original music & lyrics by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman | book by Brian Hill | new songs & additional music & lyrics by Neil Bartram | based on the Walt Disney film

A global theatrical force, Chicago Shakespeare Theater is known for vibrant productions that reflect Shakespeare’s genius for storytelling, musicality of language, and empathy for the human condition. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Executive Director Criss Henderson, Chicago Shakespeare has redefined what a great American Shakespeare theater can be, putting forward a company that delights in the unexpected and defies theatrical category. A Regional Tony Award winner, the Theater produces acclaimed plays at its home on Navy Pier, throughout Chicago’s schools and neighborhoods, and on stages around the world. In 2017, the Theater unveiled a new stage, The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare. Together with the Jentes Family Courtyard Theater and the Thoma Theater Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare, The Yard positions Chicago Shakespeare as the city’s most versatile performing arts venue.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

OPENING: Cirque du Soleil's TORUK – The First Flight at the United Center in Chicago August 3-7, 2016

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

The new Cirque du Soleil touring show inspired by James Cameron’s AVATAR

TORUK – The First Flight
written and directed by Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon
 Will be presented at the United Center in Chicago
August 3-7, 2016

*Tickets on sale now*

Here at ChiIL Mama, we're beyond excited about The new Cirque du Soleil touring show inspired by James Cameron’s record-breaking movie AVATAR. We've been promoting TORUK –  The First Flight since December and now it's finally imminently opening. Got your tickets yet? Unlike the Cirque du Soleil tent shows that set up camp for months, their big arena shows are in and out fast. This one's just a 5 night run, so don't miss this! 

We'll be there to review on opening night and we're working on setting up a video interview and behind the scenes photo shoot as we've done with Cirque du Soleil for many years now. Check back soon for our full coverage. ChiIL Mama will be there... will YOU?! 

**Click here and scroll down for loads of ChiIL Mama's past original Cirque du Soleil live show photos, video interviews with performers, and behind the scenes photo tours (22+ features).**

TORUK –  The First Flight will be presented at the United Center (inside the arena-- not in the lot) on August 3-7, as part of a global tour in arenas. The show is presented by Visa Signature® in association with United MileagePlus®.

Photo: Youssef Shoufan Costumes: Kym Barrett  © 2015 Cirque du Soleil

The show
Inspired by James Cameron’s AVATAR, TORUK – The First Flight transports you to the world of Pandora in a visually stunning live setting. Experience a storytelling odyssey through a new world of imagination, discovery, and possibility.

Through a riveting fusion of cutting-edge visuals, puppetry and stagecraft buoyed by a soaring cinematic score, Cirque du Soleil applies its unique signature style to James Cameron’s imaginary world and “makes the bond” between two kindred artistic visions that capture the imagination.

This live immersive experience also bears the distinct signature of directors and multimedia innovators Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon. It is a living ode to the Na’vi’s symbiotic coexistence with nature and their belief in the basic interconnectedness of all living things.

Narrated by a “Na’vi Storyteller” and populated by unforgettable characters, TORUK – The First Flight is a mythical tale set thousands of years before the events depicted in the film AVATAR, and before any humans ever set foot on Pandora.

When a natural catastrophe threatens to destroy the sacred Tree of Souls, Ralu and Entu, two Omaticaya boys on the brink of adulthood, fearlessly decide to take matters into their own hands. Upon learning that Toruk can help them save the Tree of Souls, they set out, together with their newfound friend Tsyal, on a quest high up in the Floating Mountains to find the mighty red and orange predator that rules the Pandoran sky. Prophecy is fulfilled when a pure soul rises among the clans to ride Toruk for the first time and save the Na’vi from a terrible fate.

Photo: Jesse Faatz Costumes: Kym Barrett  © 2015 Cirque du Soleil

Creative team
TORUK – The First Flight comprises 13 creators under the artistic guidance of Guy Laliberté (Guide) and Jean-François Bouchard (Creative Guide) for Cirque du Soleil, and James Cameron, Jon Landau, Kathy Franklin and Richie Baneham for Lightstorm Entertainment: 

Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon  Show Writers and Directors, Multimedia Directors
Neilson Vignola Director of Creation
Carl Fillion  Set and Props Designer
Kym Barrett Costume and Makeup Designer
Tuan Le and Tan Loc Choreographers
Bob & Bill Composers and Musical Directors
Jacques Boucher  Sound Designer
Alain Lortie  Lighting Designer
Patrick Martel  Puppet Designer
Germain Guillemot  Acrobatic Performance Designer
Pierre Masse  Rigging and Acrobatic Equipment Designer

Ticket information 
TORUK – The First Flight will be presented at the United Center on August 3-7, 2016. Tickets can be purchased at

Help Out

Cirque du Soleil is once again helping Chicago's youth circus, CircEsteem, with one of their biggest fundraisers of the year. If you're available to go August 4th, buy your Cirque du Soleil tickets through this link to fund scholarships for Chicago area kids to study circus arts. CircEsteem brings together kids of many races and socioeconomic situations from across the city and around the world. My own kids took classes there for 3 years and auditioned onto the performance team. It was an incredible experience in confidence building and they made many close friends.

Sponsors and partners
TORUK – The First Flight in Chicago is proud to be presented by Visa Signature®, in association with United MileagePlus®. DHL and ACTIVEON Action Camera are the official sponsors. The show is being created through a licensing arrangement with 20th Century Fox.

Photo: Jesse Faatz Costumes: Kym Barrett  © 2015 Cirque du Soleil

Photo: Jesse Faatz Costumes: Kym Barrett  © 2015 Cirque du Soleil

In an effort to bring audience members involvement to a whole new level, Cirque du Soleil will be launching a first-of-its-kind app for TORUK – The First Flight.  Working with long-time technology partner SAP, the app will enhance the overall show experience and enable audience members to be a part of the action before, during and after the performance! 

Get Social:
Follow us at, Twitter @cirque | Instagram @cirquedusoleil | Snapchat @CirqueSnap | #TORUK #Avatar #CirqueduSoleil

Cirque du Soleil:
TORUK – The First Flight is Cirque du Soleil’s 37th production since 1984. The company has brought wonder and delight to more than 155 million spectators in more than 300 cities on six continents. Cirque du Soleil has close to 4,000 employees, including 1,300 performing artists from close to 50 different countries.

For more information about Cirque du Soleil, visit

To find out more about the ONE DROP Foundation, visit

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Quench Your Kurios(ity) With Cirque Du Soleil's Phantasmagorical Steampunk Show #Review #HighlyRecommended #ChiILPicksList

We were dazed and bemused. This show is pure genius. Make time to see KURIOS by Cirque du Soleil in Chicago. Don't miss THIS! ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar.

Beyond amazing! #Kurios killed it! If you're debating, GO already. 
This is the real deal. ChiIL Mama's #ChiILPicksList

All Pictures credit: © Martin Girard
Costume credit: Philippe Guillotel

From the moment the stage clock locked in at the magical time of 11:11 they had me. I was enthralled, as a ragtag band of 19th century passengers debarked a steam train, and filled the tent with hours of endless wonders, all before the clock clicked over to 11:12! 

Here at ChiIL Mama/ChiIL Live Shows, it was our absolute pleasure to catch the Chicago opening of Kurios-Cabinet of Curiosities. We've seen just about every Cirque du Soleil show, and had high expectations. I'm thrilled to say Kurios greatly exceeded them. This production is visually stunning, crazy creative, and a whimsically welcome break from reality. Highly recommended for all ages. 

Kurios is fast paced and phantasmagorical, with a charming steampunk aesthetic. We adored the nod to the 19th century past, circus side show vibe, with a strong man, a midget, and other iconic jugglers, percussionists, dancers, and characters. 

We were also enthralled with the magical mini acts, like an invisible circus and hand "puppet" show, within the story line. The stunning costumes, grace, and live, original music Cirque du Soleil is renowned for were still present. Yet, Kurios was more playful, edgy and fun than many of their recent productions. The Kurios tunes are earworms of the finest order, and the only cure is to play them again and again.

Written and directed by Michel Laprise, the new touring production will premiere under the iconic blue-and-yellow Big Top at United Center beginning August 6, 2015


Cirque du Soleil returns to Chicago after four years with its newest touring show, KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities™ , performing under the iconic blue-and-yellow Big Top at the United Center parking lot, 1901 W. Madison Street, August 6 – September 20, 2015. Tickets are available for purchase by visiting or calling 1-877-9 CIRQUE (1-877-924-7783). Tickets range from $35 - $145.


KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities premiered to the world in Montréal in April 2014 and is Cirque du Soleil’s 35th production. Since its debut, the critics have been raving: “KURIOS is Cirque du Soleil's strongest act in years…one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen on a stage” (Toronto Star) and "KURIOS is the best Cirque du Soleil show in a long time.” (San Francisco Chronicle).

Written and directed by Michel Laprise, KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities is a tale in which time comes to a complete stop, transporting the audience inside a fantasy world where everything is possible. In this realm set in the latter half of the nineteenth century, reality is quite relative indeed as our perception of it is utterly transformed. The name of the show refers to the humble and strange characters that inhabit the Seeker’s Cabinet of Curiosities.

In an alternate yet familiar past, in a place where wonders abound for those who trust their imagination, a Seeker discovers that in order to glimpse the marvels that lie just below the surface, we must first learn to close our eyes. In his larger-than-life curio cabinet, the Seeker is convinced that there exists a hidden, invisible world – a place where the craziest ideas and the grandest dreams lie waiting. A collection of otherworldly characters suddenly steps into his makeshift mechanical world. When the outlandish, benevolent characters turn his world upside down with a touch of poetry and humor in an attempt to ignite the Seeker’s imagination, his curios jump to life one by one before his very eyes.

Michel Laprise
Michel Laprise worked in theatre for nine years as an actor, director and artistic director before joining Cirque du Soleil in 2000. At Cirque du Soleil, Michel spent five years as a talent scout before taking on, in 2006, the role of Special Events Designer. In that capacity, he directed the act with Quebec diva Diane Dufresne during the Opening Ceremonies of the Montreal 2006 Outgames; the large-scale performance event created for the launch of the Fiat Bravo in Italy (2007); the Cirque du Soleil performance event celebrating Quebec City’s 400th anniversary (2008); the launch of Microsoft’s Kinect console at the 2010 Electronic Entertainment Expo, broadcast on MTV; the opening show at the Eurovision Song Contest held in Russia in 2009; and the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 FIBA International Basketball Federation World Championships in Istanbul. In 2012, Michel collaborated with pop star Madonna, providing artistic direction for her performance at the Super Bowl XLVI halftime show; he later went on to direct her MDNA tour. In 2013, he directed the musical Robin des Bois – Ne renoncez jamais.

Creative team
The creative team of KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities consists of 17 creators under the artistic guidance of Guy Laliberté (Guide) and Jean-François Bouchard (Creative Guide):

Michel Laprise                   Writer and Director
Chantal Tremblay             Director of Creation
Stéphane Roy                    Set and Props Designer
Philippe Guillotel              Costume Designer
Raphaël Beau                    Composer and Musical Director
Bob & Bill                             Composers and Musical Directors
Yaman Okur                       Choreographer
Ben Potvin                          Choreographer
Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui         Choreographer
Susan Gaudreau               Choreographer
Andrea Ziegler                  Choreographer
Jacques Boucher              Sound Designer
Jean-Michel Caron          Sound Designer
Martin Labrecque            Lighting Designer
Rob Bollinger                     Acrobatic Performance Designer
Germain Guillemot         Acrobatic Performance Designer
Boris Verkhovsky             Acrobatic Performance Designer
Danny Zen                          Acrobatic Equipment and Rigging Designer
Eleni Uranis                        Makeup Designer

Sponsors and partners
KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities   in Chicago is proud to be presented by  Visa Signature, in association with  United Mileage Plus. We also gratefully acknowledge our official sponsors  XEROX, DHL, ACTIVEON Action Camera as well as Affiliate Partner MEXICO.

Cirque du Soleil
KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities is Cirque du Soleil’s 35th production since 1984. The company, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2014, has brought wonder and delight to close to 150 million spectators in more than 300 cities on six continents. Cirque du Soleil has close to 4,000 employees, including 1,300 performing artists from close to 50 different countries.

Get Social: Tag your shots on Facebook or Twitter: @Cirque #Kurios 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

March Fourth Montage LIVE at Martyrs Chicago 6-2012 AND Current 2014 Tour Dates #OriginalVideo #LIVEShowFootage #HDVideo

March Fourth Montage LIVE at Martyrs Chicago 6-2012.  ChiIL Live Shows went back in the archives to bring you nearly a half hour of never before seen footage from March Fourth LIVE in a small club in Chicago. Check out their hula hooping, circus pole act held by a stilt walker, and much more. This circus, punk, gypsy, brass, funky, freaky band defies easy description and they are too much fun to see live.  Footage by Bonnie Kenaz-Mara for ChiIL Live Shows.

On Tour NOW:
Spring 2014

*Tue. Jun 10 Chicago, IL Lincoln Hall  (JOIN/SHARE on Facebook)

Wed. Jun 11 Minneapolis, MN Cedar Center  (JOIN/SHARE on Facebook)
Thu. Jun 12 Davenport, IA River Music Experience  (JOIN/SHARE on Facebook)
Fri. June 13 St. Louis, MO 2720 Cherokee  (JOIN/SHARE on Facebook)
Sat. Jun 14 Kansas City, MO Boulevardia (JOIN/SHARE on Facebook)
Sun. Jun 15 Columbia, MO The Blue Note  (JOIN/SHARE on Facebook)
Thu. Jun 26 Durango, CO Animas Theater  (JOIN/SHARE on Facebook)
Fri. Jun 27 Louisville, CO Louisville Street Fair (JOIN/SHARE on Facebook)
Sat. June 28 Salt Lake City, UT Utah Arts Festival (JOIN/SHARE on Facebook)
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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

OPENING: Cirque Shanghai is Back at Navy Pier With New Warriors Theme for 2014


ChiIL Mama can't wait to see “CIRQUE SHANGHAI: WARRIORS” at the press opening this Wednesday. We'll be back shooting stills once again, for the 5th year in a row! Check back like we vote in Chi, IL... early and often for our reviews, news, giveaways and features. We're your source for photo/video filled original content on Chi, IL and beyond!

Click here to check out 4 years of our exclusive photo filled Cirque Shanghai recaps!  Then book your tickets and see them LIVE. (We've also included more of our favorite original stills from last year at the end of this post. Loads of favorite acts from last year will be back again, with a hot, new warrior twist!)

Tickets now on Sale for 
“Cirque Shanghai: Warriors” 
with New Acts Including 
the Martial Prowess of Chinese Kung Fu 
and Wu Shu Masters

Cirque Shanghai” is proud to return this summer to Chicago’s Navy Pier with a brand new show, “Cirque Shanghai: Warriors.” Performances begin Wednesday, May 21 and run through Monday, Sept. 1 at the Pepsi® Skyline Stage, a 1,500-seat, canopied, open-air theater on Navy Pier® (600 E. Grand Ave).

Tickets are on sale NOW and will be available via Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000 or

Now in its ninth consecutive summer season at the Pepsi® Skyline Stage, this latest installment of “Cirque Shanghai” combines the impressive acrobatics audiences have enjoyed in the past with the martial prowess of Chinese Kung Fu and Wu Shu masters. The result is powerful display of athleticism and the mastery of disciplines that formed the backbone of military might in ancient China for thousands of years.

This summer’s production of “Cirque Shanghai: Warriors” brings an extraordinary line-up of thrilling acts to the stage, including The Kinetic Poles, the powerful Water Meteor and the heart-pounding Pageant of Arms. Returning to the production from last year is the fate-tempting “Wheel of Destiny,” and China’s premier daredevil steel-globe motorcycle troupe, “Imperial Thunder”.

Directed by Miao Miao Chen, “Cirque Shanghai: Warriors” is presented in this exclusive U.S. engagement by Navy Pier in conjunction with International Special Attractions, Ltd. (ISA) production headquarters in Shanghai, China. 

“Cirque Shanghai” will perform May 21 – September 1. Performances will be held at 10:30 a.m. May 21 and 29. Beginning May 23 the regular performance schedule is:
  • Wednesday at 2, 6 and 8 p.m. 
  • Thursday at 2 and 8 p.m.
  • Friday at 2, 7 and 9 p.m.
  • Saturday at 2, 6 and 8 p.m.
  • Sunday at 2 and 4 p.m.

Tickets are on sale NOW via Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000 or Tickets are $19.50- $39.50 for adults and $15.50 for children ages 3 to 12. Discounted tickets for groups of 10 or more are also available by calling GroupTix at 773.327.3778 or visiting

  • Special Packages for summer 2014 include: The Navy Pier Fun Package containing, a Emperor’s Court “Cirque Shanghai: Warriors” ticket, a 40 min Skyline boat cruise, a Ferris Wheel voucher, a Pepsi Skyline Stage $5 concession voucher and a 20% off RIVA coupon for $43, with a children’s version available for $28. 

  • In addition, the Navy Pier Nightlife package combines a “Cirque Shanghai: Warriors” Emperor’s Court ticket, a Landshark Beer garden $10 voucher and a Hagen Daas double scoop cone/cup voucher for $36.50.

ChiIL Tips:   Go on a Wednesday or Saturday night and catch a free Navy Pier fireworks show every week!   We also recommend buying the glossy, photo filled program.   The performers will sign it after the show and it'll be a fun keepsake for the kids to reminisce over.

International Special Attractions (ISA) was established in 1996 and over the past two decades has become a world leader in the production of large scale special attractions, events and theatrical productions. In addition to presenting Cirque Shanghai, ISA was the first company to bring Chinese acrobats to Broadway.  For the past two years, ISA has presented The Ice Kingdom, a 14,000 square foot experience made entirely of ice, at the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA.  ISA’s other ICE! attractions are mounted annually at four Gaylord Hotel locations throughout the United States, and are enjoyed by over 1 million people each year. ISA also produces Luminasia, the larger-than-life lantern attraction, which was seen last year at the Washington State Fair, and for the past four years at The Galt House Hotel in Louisville, KY.  In 2014, ISA is adding two additional Luminasia locations, one in Blackpool, England, and another in conjunction with the LA County Fair.  ISA clients have included The Walt Disney Company, Gaylord Entertainment, The Queen Mary, The New Victory Theatre in New York, Navy Pier Chicago, The Galt House Hotel, Busch Entertainment Corp and Six Flags, Inc.  Featured Television coverage has aired internationally, on networks including NBC, CBS and ABC to name but a few.

Drawing from his classical music background, Haiping Ge was one of the earliest producers serving in the Shanghai government’s Office of Cultural Exchange Affairs. From that office, he hosted many of the first Western entertainers performing in China.

For the last two decades, Haiping Ge has been producing shows with ISA for the world’s premium venues. His current productions include: Cirque Shanghai for New Victory Theatre on Broadway; ICE! Attractions in Dallas, Nashville, Orlando and Washington D.C. in association with Gaylord Resorts; Luminasia at The Galt House in Louisville, KY, USA. Haiping also produced a Chinese acrobatic show for Disney World, Florida which will run through the end of this year.

Miao Chen is a second-generation performer as well as the show’s director.  She studied with the internationally famous Shenyang Performing Arts Academy beginning at age five, and joined the acclaimed Shenyang Acrobatic Troupe, one of the top ten troupes in all of China, at age 13.  Chen is the recipient of a Gold Lion Award from the International Acrobatics Competition in France, and received the top award for Best Innovative Performance in Uruguay. Chen has performed throughout the USA, Canada, Europe and Asia. In 2006 and 2007, Chen worked as a choreographer for “Le Grand Cirque” which has toured in cities across Australia, the United Kingdom and United States. Chen previously directed hit productions of “Cirque Shanghai” in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Located on Lake Michigan, just east of Chicago’s downtown, Navy Pier is the most-visited tourist and leisure destination in the Midwest, welcoming nearly 9 million annual visitors.  Originally opened in 1916 as a shipping and recreation facility, it is now one of the country’s preeminent recreation and exposition facilities, showcasing 50 acres of parks, gardens, restaurants, shops, attractions, sightseeing and dining cruise boats, exhibition facilities and more.

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