The approaching holiday season brings a variety of Christmas events to Athens. With five companies touring around the United States, Neil Goldberg’s “Cirque Dreams: Holidaze” provides a Broadway-style musical.
The holiday spectacular includes elaborate sets, costumes and experienced singers, dancers and acrobats. This year, “Holidaze” will be performed in Athens for the first time since 2009. Goldberg has high expectations for the performance.
The Red & Black spoke to producer and founder Goldberg about what to expect at the show, his inspiration for his production and what the holidays mean to him.
The Red & Black: How would you describe the show and what can audiences expect?
Neil Goldberg: “Cirque Dreams Holidaze” is a combination of a Broadway-style musical, contemporary circus and holiday stage spectacular. It has a traditional musical theatre format with over 20 gravity-defying acrobatic and gymnastic acts that keep you on the edge of your seat. Every scene tells a story. The show is fast-paced and touches on the North Pole, Santa, sitting around the family table, angels, penguins, Hanukkah and New Year’s. This is a show that truly has something for everyone.
R&B: What is the most interesting aspect of the show that differentiates it from other Christmas productions?
NG: Most people are surprised when the curtains rise how elaborate and breath-taking the stage set is. Ornaments are dazzling from a 24-foot-tall steel tree on the stage and the performers in their costumes look truly spectacular.
R&B: What is the biggest challenge of producing a show like this?
NG: Since it is a seasonal show, the time frame that we have makes it challenging to pull together five companies. The holiday season is only six weeks long. We practice year-round but we have a two-week period of intense rehearsal, moving 150 to 200 people everyday.
R&B: What inspired you to create this show?
NG: The holidays for me [are] about memories — the feel-good and happy times from childhood. Theatre is appealing to people during all times because it is a bit of an escape. For my family, it was always a tradition to go into New York and see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, which was inspiration to me as a child and provided my theatre background. This memory contributed to creating “Cirque Dreams Holidaze,” so that families can share the tradition of seeing a holiday show with affordable tickets in their own hometown.
R&B: Going into the 10th year of “Cirque Dreams Holidaze,” what do you expect for the future of the production?
NG: Being a bit of a perfectionist, we are continuing to evolve, add new elements to the show and join more layers and textures. The show is like a kaleidoscope of colors for all ages and our goal for the upcoming years is to continue to push the envelope to try to bring something to the stage that people haven’t seen yet. The show has something for children, mom, dad, grandma and grandpa and we hope to take this show outside of the United States and eventually to Broadway.
R&B: What do you want people to get out of “Holidaze”?
NG: This show really puts people in the holiday spirit. The show is a celebration of people and we want to unite our audience.