Just in time for the holiday season, Broadway director Neil Goldberg has crafted a production so full of holiday cheer, it would take double the amount of Santa’s sleighs and reindeer to deliver all of this jam-packed joy! Sincerely, an international cast of over 30 elves and acrobats, spiraling aerialists, whirling skaters, jamming gymnasts, terrific tumblers and diverse dancers, all cartwheeling, spinning, flipping, sashaying and swirling center stage, much to the bemusement of the Chicago Theatre’s captivated Windy City audience. Cirque Dreams Holidaze is an eye-popping, jaw-dropping joy, astounding showcase with more holiday cheer to spare than a dozen Hallmark card stores. Assembling talent from all over the world and adorning them in Katt Simon’s gloriously ornate costumes, this show simply put, astounded from beginning to end.
Cast as ornaments surrounding a three story Christmas tree, these unique and diverse artists blend Broadway style vocals with the tried and true consistent Cirque speculation. Each given their own vignette to impress with their unique skills. Highlights included a quartet of handsome jump roping gymnasts, in the guise of reindeers, cartwheeling and tumbling to the dynamic thumping beats of a techno reworking of “Walking in a Winter Wonderland.” Next it was time to “Deck the Halls” with a gravity defying candle stacker with a distinctive Hanukkah flavor. The father/son gingerbread coated gymnastics whirred by at an amazing pace of “Jingle Bell Rock.” Concluding with elegant and majestic soaring ribbon work from the “Flying Angels” jumping off the stage and soaring over the heads of members of the enthralled crowd in the first dozen rows. Speaking of the audience, participation was mandatory when a comedic clown conductor took center stage, orchestrating bell ringing volunteers from the audience with an exaggerated flip of his wrist. From start to finish there was much to enjoy. I defy any Grinch type to attend and not have his or her heart grow at least three times its size by the show’s triumphant conclusion.
Keeping a frenetic, foot tapping pace, original musical and lyrics crafted by Jill Winters and David Scott. Brand new music blended seamlessly with traditional holiday classics including “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and “Winter Wonderland.” Quick change artists were punctuated by the concert style lighting techniques of Brad Haynes. Jon Craine’s jam packed set design was a cornucopia for the eyes. Truly at times there was so much simultaneously happening on the stage, it was bewildering exactly where to look, for fear you might miss something on the right if you looked to the left. Subtle, this show is not. Youri Klepatsky is the act and training director, whose plate was clearly piled higher then that of any family member’s Christmas time buffet, seamlessly segueing from singers to skaters and jugglers to aerialists. Let’s not forget the balancing penguin, a statuesque tin soldiers doing perfect splits on a high wire and a singing Ice Queen with more sparkle than Disney’s Queen Elsa. Letting this show go will prove a challenge to anyone in attendance.
When looking for a family friendly holiday showcase, Cirque Dreams Holidaze certainly checks all the requisite boxes. Stuffed tighter than any Christmas morning holiday stocking, there is something here for everyone. Smooth vocals, escalating aerialists, romping reindeer, swirling ornaments, glamourous costumes and more crammed into a 100 minute holiday feast more filling then a dozen homemade pies, make your holiday wishes come true with Cirque Dreams Holidaze.
Cirque Dreams Holidaze played the Chicago Theatre December 12-16, 2018