With a history stretching back more than 40 years, Circus Vargas wows audiences with dazzling acrobatics and rib-tickling clowns under a giant big-top tent. The show eschews animal performers for human-costumed spectacles, showcasing dazzling feats that only a few dexterous humans and short-circuited cyborgs are capable of. The circus's big top, hand-fashioned in Milan from 90,000 square feet of fabric, holds up to 1,500 show-goers in classic, blue-dyed elegance. Early-arriving guests can take part in an interactive preshow, jumping in the ring with ringmaster Jon Weiss as he leads audience members through tutorials that show how to perform stunts such as juggling, feather balancing, and balancing checkbooks with quill pens.
Luminous chandeliers float like paper lanterns above the lobby of Chandler Center for the Arts, welcoming guests entering through the towering glass facade. Inside, they find three halls—one larger auditorium, and two more intimate performance spaces—hosting a variety of musical and theatrical performances. Each theater is designed for optimal acoustics, ensuring audiences can hear every tuneful note, stage-whispered line, and breaking of the fourth wall. And the center showcases non-performing arts as well—the Exhibition Hall displays regularly rotating collections of sculptures and paintings.
Clean angles and an uncluttered aesthetic make the auditorium at Comerica Theatre an expression of modern minimalism. No columns, chandeliers, or giant neon-light cowboys distract from the stage, which has hosted such celebrities as Harry Connick Jr., Jerry Seinfeld, George Lopez, and the Blue Collar comedians. Thanks to the facility’s state-of-the-art audio and visual capabilities, the stage can be made to suit arena concerts, standup comedy, ballet performances, or small-scale Civil War reenactments.
Spinning fire creates a haze of smoke. A giant dances through it. There's no stage around, no velvet seats to remind audiences they're watching a show, so the scene feels like hallucination, or like a portal has opened up and granted eyes a glimpse into another realm. And such is the effect Flam Chen has sought to create for nearly 20 years. Through pyrotechnic displays tinged with technology and made more daring with acrobatics, the circus troupe's performers create a dramatic playground where dark and light forces—at once human and animal—feed off each other.
Outside of performing a dozen original shows across the globe, the troupe performs custom performances for public causes and private commissions. Their theatricality has attracted the attention of masters of spectacle such as Tim Burton and Stan Lee, and made them shoe-ins to serve as the flyers during the Scream Awards. Yet their performances have also served a greater good: they've raised funds for local charities and communities, and worked with the non-profit Many Mouths One Stomach to create public celebration and ceremony.
Founded in 1842, Zoppé Family Circus draws on old-world Italy’s circus tradition, amazing audiences of all ages with story-driven feats of clowning, acrobatics, and animal training in an intimate 500-seat tent. The performance, which Coast Views magazine lauds as “pure tradition, pure artistry and pure delight!” stars Nino the clown and a supporting cast of acrobats, equestrians, and capering canines, whose training allows them to simultaneously fetch newspapers and shred shoes. Live musicians play rousing tunes as fire-breathers blow flames, gymnasts contort, juggling pins fly, and equestrians leap effortlessly onto horseback. Acrobats twirl on towering trapezes and costumed clowns interact with and offer unwanted makeup advice to the audience. Parking is plentiful, with spaces available across the street for $3 a car.