SALT LAKE CITY — Cirque Dreams is coming to the Eccles Theater in Salt Lake City from Dec. 29-31 with its popular "Cirque Dreams Holidaze" show that includes a holiday stage spectacle, a Broadway-style musical and a new-style Cirque show.
“I think audiences, when they see the word 'Cirque' in a title, they’re expecting to see death-defying, gravity-defying feats, amazing things, people flying through the air. They’re going to see all of that in the 'Cirque Dreams Holidaze,'” Cirque Dreams founder Neil Goldberg told the Deseret News in a phone interview. “But what we’ve done with this particular show is we’ve staged it and scored it in such a way that it’s not just about these amazing feats. It’s really about the holiday season.”
Cirque Dreams was founded by Goldberg in 1993 shortly after he was hired to produce and direct a private international variety show. In putting this together, he discovered this European genre, dating back to the 1890s. Goldberg said he learned through research that novelist and playwright Jules Verne set up a building in Paris called Cirque Municipal where people would dress up and see shows similar to what people would see in a Broadway show in New York City.
Cirque Dreams has 15 different titles, and "Cirque Dreams Holidaze" is the second-most popular show behind "Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy," a show that played on Broadway in 2008, Goldberg said. "Cirque Dreams Holidaze" has been around for eight years.
In addition to meshing a holiday spectacular with a musical and a Cirque show, "Holidaze" includes 20 different holiday themes, each with a story in itself, and a variety of different scenes, nothing lasting more than four minutes on stage, Goldberg said. There are more than 300 different costumes throughout the show that are all inspired by Goldberg’s personal collection of over 10,000 ornaments.
“It really has something in it for everyone. It’s a great, great family experience,” Goldberg said. “That rare show where mom and dad can bring the young kids from 3 years up and bring the grandparents as well, and everyone is going to sit and get something spectacular out of this experience.”
While Goldberg said he loves the holiday season and the wide variety of productions, he said that "Cirque Dreams Holidaze" separates itself from the other holiday shows by being completely unpredictable for the entire two hours.
“The biggest thrill for me is when the curtain comes up and you hear that audible gasp from the audience and the applause at the vision of what they’re seeing,” Goldberg said.
Goldberg suggested that for this show, closer isn’t necessarily better as the performers cover the entire stage from left to right and top to bottom.
“Of course, you get to see the performers wink to you if you sit in the first 10 rows,” Goldberg said. “But if you are sitting in the balcony, you see this unbelievable kaleidoscope of color and movement and storytelling very differently and more comprehensively than if you’re close up.”
If you go …
What: "Cirque Dreams Holidaze"
When: Thursday, Dec. 29, 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Dec. 30, 8 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 31, 2 p.m.
Where: Eccles Theater, 131 S. Main
How much: $30-$80