A century of show business

Submitted photo.

Circurious makes its Chautauqua debut

Suzi Starheim | Staff Writer

One hundred years of American entertainment will be featured at 7:30 p.m. tonight in the Amphitheater with the arrival of Circurious to the stage as part of the 2011 Season special Wednesday-night Family Entertainment Series.

Circurious, a touring production of Cirque-tacular Entertainment, combines the idea of “going to the circus” with entertaining and athletic performers such as contortionists, singers, dancers, aerialists and acrobats, to entertain audiences of all ages.

Tad Emptage, producer and talent coordinator of Circurious, said the show will be approximately 80 minutes long and consist of 14 performers, all world-class athletes.

These performers, along with a host, will take the audience through time, decade by decade, beginning with Harry Houdini in 1911 and moving through Buffalo Bill, the United Service Organization, the war era and even highlighting the fun and novelty of the 1950s. Throughout the entire show, the host will include fun facts about American show business to educate the audience while the performers amaze with daring acts, Emptage added.

While each time frame is a small part of the whole show, Emptage said, each decade is separately contained and easily identifiable against the others. This is especially evident with the 1950s hula-hoop performance, he added.

Also encompassed throughout the show are more serious topics, and Emptage said the one he is looking forward to the most is a body balancing act from the Vietnam era. In creating this act, Emptage had to figure out “how to approach a volatile time in America’s past and treat it with respect and honesty.”

Because of acts like this, Emptage said, the show is good entertainment for all ages. It will entertain both adults and children, and Emptage is excited to see grandparents laughing alongside their grandchildren.

“It is actually an adult show that the children will enjoy,” he said. “What we did when creating the show was to make sure we had something that appealed to everyone.”

Emptage said this will be the first time Circurious has performed in Chautauqua, and he is excited to perform in the Amphitheater because it is outdoors. The Amphitheater also can house more guests, and with more guests comes more energy from the audience, he added.

“The energy that you get from the audience is what feeds you the most as an entertainer,” he said.

“It’s one of the differences between movies and the live theater,” Emptage said. “It’s something that we share together. It’s not passive; it’s active. It’s something that can only be experienced live.”