A talented and energetic cast of eleven teenage circus performers will transport you back to the 1920’s in Circophony’s Vaudeville Circus on January 25 and 26 in Middletown. Whether you are a fan of classic jazz, a circus enthusiast, a devotee of physical comedy, or just love a good CanCan, Circophony has something to keep you on the edge of your seat.
Directed by ARTFARM’s Executive Director Dic Wheeler, Circophony is a co-production of ARTFARM and Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater. The show will preview in a 40 minute version at Middletown’s “Middnight on Main” celebration December 31, but the full hour-long performance will not reach the stage until January 25 and 26 at 7:30 pm at Oddfellows, 128 Washington Street in Middletown.
Wheeler, who founded the Children’s Circus of Middletown and has been directing circuses with both teenagers and professionals since the 1980’s, calls this show “different than any circus that I have ever directed before.”
“This is actually a circus-saturated evening of classic Vaudeville,” he says, “and audiences will receive an entertaining education about that particular genre. Vaudeville was immensely popular from the 1890’s up until the Second World War, only fading with the advent of film and television. Vaudeville shows contained a little bit of everything – music, circus, dance, comedy, melodrama, magic – and Circophony’s Vaudeville Circus aims to do just that.”
The show features many acts one would normally associate with Circus – juggling, acrobatics, balancing, contortion – but it also contains comedy sketches, dancers, live musicians, flappers, dashing fellows in suits and hats, a five minute original melodrama presented by the Temperance Theatrical Society, and a rabbit is indeed pulled out of a hat. The musical accompaniment, both live and recorded, represents the best of early jazz, including Cab Calloway, Fats Waller, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Charlie Chaplin, Duke Ellington, the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, and more.
Circophony is a high-level youth circus touring company for which members are selected by audition. Current company members come from Hartford, Cromwell, Portland and Middletown. Circophony’s Vaudeville Circus will be touring to schools, festivals and special events throughout Connecticut for the next six months, culminating in the Company bringing their talents to the American Youth Circus Festival in Seattle in August.
Tickets for these performances of Circophony’s Vaudeville Circus are $15 for adults and $8 for students and seniors. For reservations please contact Oddfellows Playhouse, (860) 347-6143 or go to www.oddfellows.org. For information about booking a performance on the Circophony tour, contact ARTFARM at (860) 346-4390 or www.art-farm.org.