ORLANDO — Before the lights started to dim in the Amway Center arena, the stage seemed pretty bare — except for a group of chairs strategically placed at the back of the stage. And then a group of men and women walked on, bringing with them plenty of musical instruments, and proceeded to take their seat.
It starts out like a traditional concert — holiday songs, classical music, each familiar melody superbly performed by a very talent group of musicians.
And yet, there was so much more in store for the audience.
On Tuesday, Cirque Musica Holiday brought to the Amway a new concert experience called “Wonderland,” which mixed music with holiday cheer, dancing, good humor, and some absolutely stunning acrobats and aerialists, their amazingly skillful feats set to favorite holiday classics performed by a live symphony orchestra.
The show, which ran for about two hours with an intermission, demonstrated that Cirque Musica Holiday appears to have created the kind of memorable holiday family experience that could become a local tradition, much like the Orlando Ballet performing “The Nutcracker” or the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra’s annual Home For The Holidays concert.
Because by combining the impressive talents of their symphony orchestra with performers who excel at both humor and unforgettable visuals stunts, it was definitely a memorable and crowd-pleasing show.
What is Cirque Musica?
Cirque Musica is a unique combination of music and dazzling visual performances by acrobats and aerialists. Produced by TCG Entertainment, Cirque Musica now has multiple productions now touring the world, offering something very close to a traditional circus, except with the addition of symphonic music.
Cirque Musica now has four productions that go on tour:
* Cirque Musica Symphonic
* Cirque Musica Holiday presents Wonderland
* Cirque Musica presents Crescendo
* and Cirque Musica presents Heroes & Villains.
The goal of these productions is to blend the music and the acrobatics into something quite magical, sometimes a bit mysterious, and often funny and very old-fashioned in many ways.
The concept behind the Cirque Musica international productions is ideal for this holiday-themed show, since “Wonderland” uses the music to deliver audiences to a faraway, mystical land.
What is Wonderland All About?
About a half hour before the show began, country singers Sarah Darling and Tyler Flowers came onto the stage to perform acoustic versions of holiday favorites like “The Christmas Song” and “Silent Night,” warming up the audience before the symphony arrived.
As the show began, the music helped to create a story about a young girl, Caroline, and her adventures in Wonderland. Caroline also beautifully sings several songs. A highlight is the show’s very comical version of “The 12 Days Of Christmas,” complete with audience participation as they do the countdown. There’s a lot of warmth to the show’s humor, making it that much more appealing.
The music was the ideal compliment to the visual stunts, which were often quite breathtaking. The performers used everything from harnesses, ropes, roller skates and unicycles to charm the audience with their high-speed — and very often, quite high in the air — acrobatics.
Along the way, there was also quite a bit of beauty in the opulent costumes some of the performers were wearing, and, quite appropriate for a holiday show, an ending with snow falling onto the stage. The audience inside the Amway arena seemed absolutely captivated.
It was a show that had charm, creativity and great audio pleasure to spare. “Wonderland” is ideal for audiences of all ages, and if you were looking for something to deliver you into the holiday spirit, this would definitely have done it.
If you’re intrigued by Cirque Musica Holiday’s “Wonderland” but missed the show at the Amway, upcoming performances
include a Canadian Tour on Dec. 20-21 at Abbotsford Centre in Abbotsford, British Columbia; and on Dec. 22 at the
Orpheum Theater in Vancouver, British Columbia.
In the U.S., the tour will take them to neighboring Southern states, including:
- * Thalia Mara Hall in Jackson, Mississippi (Dec. 20)
- * IP Casino, Biloxi, Mississippi (Dec. 21)
- * Heymann PAC, Lafayette, Louisiana (Dec. 22)
- * and McAllen PAC, McAllen, Texas (Dec. 23).
Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright and author of the book “Of Cats And Wolves.” Contact him at Freelineorlando@gmail.com.