Friday, July 8, 2011

What's Better Than A 3 Ring Circus?

Cirque Shanghai Extreme-opening night last night     

...A THREE Circus town!    The greater Chicago area is hosting not one...not two...but THREE Circus Shows at the moment.    We had a chance to catch opening night of Cirque Shanghai Extreme last night at Navy Pier.    Then we'll be checkin' out and reviewing Cirque du Soleil's OVO on the 12th.    We've also heard good things about The Zoppe Family Circus and will try to catch them in Addison Monday night 7/11.

Here's the low down on Cirque Shanghai's extreme biker feats on high wire and in a metal globe, Ovo's mystery egg and the insect world, and the family that's embraced the circus arts for SIX generations--a story that began with a horseback ballerina and a clown who fell in love with her.

Sharing Circus
Cirque du Soleil supports Chicago's local circus arts scene, to make classes sliding scale affordable (or even free) and available to children from all neighborhoods in Chi-Town.   Cirque du Soleil has donated 450 tickets for their 7/14 performance, with 100% of the profits going to Chicago children at CircEsteem.   They've sold all but the last couple dozen.

 Here's how you can help.

It's not too late to support a great organization and see a fantastic Cirque du Soleil show! If you haven't purchased your tickets for Ovo on July 14th already, do so now. Help us reach our goal of raising over $50,000 through these ticket sales.

The money raised from the tickets will fully fund our HomeWork & CircusWork program providing free after school tutoring and high quality circus instruction 3 days a week to over 30 youth. Thanks in large part to this program CircEsteem has a 100% graduation rate with CircEsteem graduates amassing over $500,000 in college scholarships.

If you believe in the work we do, please purchase a ticket and know 100% of the ticket price will directly support the work we do with low income, at risk youth and provide opportunities for academic success. A portion of the ticket price is also tax deductible.  

Tickets are $115 and can be purchased by credit card online.  See a great show, support a great organization, and make a difference in the lives of Chicago area youth. 

Thanks to those who have already purchased tickets.  Your support truly makes a difference.

Help CircEsteem raise over $50,000… simply purchase a ticket to Cirque du Soleil's oVo for July 14th here.
100% of the ticket price will go directly to CircEsteem's programs that unite youth from diverse backgrounds and build self-esteem and confidence through circus arts. — More Info Here

Cirque Shanghai Extreme

 Photo credit:   Sean Williams

Cirque Shanghai is one of the best things going on Navy Pier, a huge draw for Chicago's millions of summer visitors.   If you've caught them in the past, Extreme will be familiar territory as little has changed from last year's Cloud 9, except the costumes and music.

The pre-show press party/meet n greet was fun, with tasty Chinese buns from Wow Bao.    Gotta love a restaurant with a great sense of humor and great food.   Follow them on or!
We didn't have stellar, close seats like last year, where we caught so many great photos.   See ChiIL Mama's past photo filled coverage HERE.   This time around, the lower wires were in the way of the sight lines of much of the audience, bisecting the stage in a distracting way.    But we caught what we could.    

That said, we still love their show and are more than happy to see an annual repeat of gasp inducing bike tricks like the 4 motorcycles zipping dizzyingly around a mesh cage globe.   

Photo credit:   Sean Williams

We also enjoyed the Chinese pole arts, aerial arts, motorcycles on high wire, contortionist tricks, hoop jumps, ladder balance and meteor/cube balancing.

These 3 petite acrobats who did fun, funny tube tricks were pretty sweet, too.

Photo credit:   Sean Williams

Du-Jay and Sagezilla adored the show and had fun demonstrating their own plate spinning and diablo skills from CircEsteem camp and Saturday circus arts classes.   The Cirque Shanghai man running the toy sales booth chuckled and asked the kids if they could stick around about a half hour before the show as they were doing such a stellar trick demo job.    

After the show, Sagezilla happily gave high fives to the actors as they ran up the aisle and happily exclaimed that she could do most of the contortionist act and was eager to try out some of the aerial routines.    It's fun to be inspired.    Now when she wants to be one of the 4 bikers in the metal globe, I'll worry!    This is the kid who asked for a motorcycle for her 7th birthday, and when I said she was way too young, she quipped, "Well then....How 'bout a moped?".

Wednesdays through Sundays through September 5th.

Wednesday at 2, 4 and 7:30 p.m. 
Thursday at 2 and 7:30 p.m. 
Friday at 2, 4 and 8 p.m. 
Saturday at 2, 6 and 8 p.m. 
Sunday at 12, 2 and 5 p.m.

Ticket prices range from $15 - $32.50. Tickets are only $15 for children ages 3 – 12 for any seat in the house. Children two and under are welcome and admitted free of charge.

Tickets are available by calling 800-745-3000 or visiting Discounted tickets for groups of 10 or more are available by calling GroupTix at 773.327.3778 or visiting For more information on “Cirque Shanghai Extreme” visit

We can't wait to check out Cirque du Soleil's Ovo and find out about the mysterious sphere that's bugging the bug world in this beautifully choreographed, colorfully costumed production.    Check out our past show info HERE.   Cirque du Soleil has 22 shows currently running world wide, and Chi-Town's lucky to again be playing host to the talented performers that have made Cirque du Soleil world renowned.    We'll have an exclusive video interview for you, and behind the scenes footage, later this month.

6 week run through August 21st.    Check the OVO website HERE for Chicago ticket information, show times, and video sneak peeks.

The Zoppe Family Circus

This family circus has been around since 1842 and specializes in intimate, 500 seat, one-ring, theatrical Italian family tented circus shows and workshops in circus arts (including the art of bareback riding!).

Click HERE to find out how 6 generations of the Gentile Family first got entranced with circus arts and found a way to make millions of families smile.

Remaining showtimes for Elmwood Park: (8201 W Fullerton Ave, Elmwood Park, IL 60171)

FRI - 7pm
SAT - 1pm, 4pm, 7pm
SUN - 1p, 4pm

Their next and final week in Chicagoland is in Addison.
Come check out The Gentiles. . . ordinary feet, extraordinary feats.
Catch em LIVE...if you can! . . .
Watch em online...if you can't . . .

Click to download your own free kids' tickets with each paying adult
Click here to print out your free ticket!
(640 KB PDF)

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