Holidaze Season: Cirque Dreams founder Neil Goldberg talks about the seasonal show

Cirque Dream’s founder, Neil Goldberg, is spreading holiday cheer one city at a time with his stage extravaganza Cirque Dreams Holidaze. The seasonal-themed production is family- friendly and Goldberg’s aim is to create holiday memories for all. The show is updated every year at Cirque Dream’s state of the art production studios in Florida. The reimagined Cirque Dreams Holidaze blends eye-catching costumes, sets, and music, with world-class acts performing gravity defying feats. 

Cirque Dreams Holidaze will play at the Merriam Theater [250 S. Broad Street] December 26-29, 2019.

Debra Danese: What is the theme or storyline of Cirque Dreams Holidaze?

Neil Goldberg: Cirque Dreams Holidaze is a two-hour journey that celebrates all the holiday seasons from Thanksgiving and Christmas to New Years. 

There are twenty scenes in the show and each scene has its own unique theme. There are penguins in the North Pole, angels flying over the audience, gifts and ribbons soaring through the air and ornaments coming to life; each blending astounding acts, showmanship, costumes, music and Broadway theatrics.

DD: What was the creative process to bring the show from concept to stage?

NG: The Cirque Dreams Holidaze creative process is year-round. The show is now in its 12th season and this year has six companies touring and performing in over 60 US cities. Due to the show’s popularity and demand, every year there are new costumes, scenes, music, artistry and production numbers added to each show. Dream Studios is a 25,000 sq. ft. facility where all the development, magic and creation of every Cirque Dreams show comes to life year-round.

DD: What act, or part of the show, are you most excited for audiences to see?

NG: I always look forward to audiences’ reactions when the curtain rises. Audiences are surprised to see the breathtaking, fantastical landscape of gift boxes, toy soldiers, candy canes and elaborately costumed ornament characters dangling from the 24’tall tree that is the centerpiece of Cirque Dreams Holidaze multi-million dollar stage set. When I hear the audience gasp and applaud, I know we’ve transported them to a place of imagination, hope and joy.

DD: The cast consists of artists from around the world. What are your audition criteria when selecting the cast?

NG: The Cirque Dreams casting department receives, on average, 50 submissions every week from artists, schools and cultural programs throughout the world. After 27 years, we have access to the greatest talent on the planet. By visiting festivals, schools and other countries, we keep an eye on the pulse of creative imagination and ingenuity of both artistry and development. A typical Cirque Dreams artist will have trained and participated in specialized programs like the Olympics and other competitions or training programs for 10 years before making their way to the Cirque Dreams creative and development process in order to join the company and perform on stage in a Cirque Dreams Show.

DD: What are your favorite holiday traditions?

NG: As a child my favorite holiday tradition was going with my parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular in NYC. This tradition and memory was part of the inspiration for Cirque Dreams Holidaze. I wanted to create a show where the entire family could enjoy all the different aspects of the holiday season through music, dance, celebration, spectacle and limitless imagination, to create everlasting memories and happiness.

[Merriam Theater, 250 S. Broad Street] December 26-29, 2019; kimmelcenter.org


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About the author

Debra Danese

Debra graduated with a degree in dance from the University of the Arts and also holds a B.A. in Arts Administration. She is accredited at the Master Level with the National Registry of Dance Educators. Debra has performed in Europe, Tokyo, Canada, and the Caribbean. She teaches and choreographs world-wide and has been an international guest artist in Switzerland, England, and Slovakia. Debra has been an Artist in Residence on five occasions in Norway where she showcased full length dance productions at the acclaimed Nordland Theatre. She has also presented an original dance production at the Elspe Festival in Germany. Debra has been featured in Dance, Dancer and Dance Teacher Magazines for her work in dance education. Additionally, she has been a contributing writer for Dance Studio Life Magazine since 2010.