By Catherine Rainey –
Arts Editor –
While Mardi Gras in Mobile holds its own captivating charm, another spectacle will take place during the long-standing tradition this year.
In early February, Venardos Circus and Alabama Contemporary Arts Center, formerly Space 301, are collaborating by putting together a performance art piece for all audiences entitled Cirque du Mardi Gras.
“I want people to know that it’s something that all ages can enjoy. It’s appropriate for families, but sophisticated enough to keep every age group entertained,” says producer Kevin Venardos.
The event includes, but is not limited to, acrobatics, juggling, comedy, and daredevil stunts.
An hour before the show begins, the doors will open to ticketholders for an interactive preshow that will consist of games, strolling performers and even a fire breather.
“There’s more, but I can’t give it all away!” Venardos says.
Venardos, who is also a seasoned Ringmaster, has worked with the Big Apple Circus, and Circus Vargas in California. But the thing that got him started occurred in New York City in the year 2000.
“An open call audition landed me a wildly unusual job: Ringmaster of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus,” he says.
Above all else he considers himself a dreamer and believes that the circus can help dreams come to life.
When asked about the theme of this particular show, Cirque du Mardi Gras, Venardos says it was obvious, “the Mardi Gras theme was easy to see, once we got to know Mobile and the pride you guys have with your tradition.”
His company often builds shows around different themes. He says that their “ability to embrace the particular interest of organizations and communities has been really valuable.”
He hints that Joe Cain will appear in the show, and that a comic duo of Lost Cause Minstrels will perform as well.
Amanda Solley, director of exhibitions and programs at the art center, said the show is an ambitious concept designed to “kick off our new direction and new year.”
To pitch the show, Venardos appeared before the Mobile City Council along with former mayor Mike Dow, chairman of the board at the arts center. He talked about his hopes for the production and the venue.
“We’re going to have an extravaganza of performing arts,” Dow said. “If it works, we’ll do much more of this. We’ll bring it back next year during Mardi Gras.”
Watch a sample video here:
Prices include general admission: $15 for children, $25 for adults. There are also Skybox Lounge VIP tickets for $35, and Ringside Deluxe VIP tickets for $45.
Discounts available to groups of 15 or more by calling 323-790-4827.
© 2017, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.