BWW Previews: CIRCUS 1903 at Paris Theater At Paris Las Vegas

At the turn of the 20th century, people in small town America anticipated the circus coming to town. Those days are recreated in "Circus 1903" with an extended engagement at Paris Las Vegas beginning July 25.

Led by ringmaster Willy Whipsnade, the show takes audiences on a magical journey back to the year 1903, featuring an amazing cast of contortionists, acrobats, jugglers, high-wire acts and death-defying feats. The star attraction is the world's largest performing African elephants, Queenie and Peanut. However, these magnificent animals are actually puppets brought to life by the award-winning masterminds behind Broadway's "War Horse." The talented team at Significant Object uses carefully constructed and realistic puppets in place of actual animals.

"Circus 1903" is a very unique show in that it takes aspects of the traditional circus but puts a fresh and innovative spin to it.

David Williamson performs as ringmaster Willy Whipsnade as well as being one of the writers of the show. According to Williamson, the concept came about when the producer Simon Painter wanted to bring the circus back to its roots. While Cirque du Soleil and Ringling Bros. have transformed the genre, Painter wanted to create a show to remind audiences why they loved the circus.

"In 1903, the circus was at its peak. It could be compared to the big game, Olympics and rock tour all rolled into one big event," Williamson told "Going to the circus was a holiday in many small towns in America during that period."

"Circus 1903" is a traditional circus combined with theater arts. It is a very unique show in that it takes aspects of the circus and the era while creating a fresh and innovative performance. Through the magic of the theater in a proscenium stage, while circus means circle, it has been "flatten" out and a very simple story will be presented.

The show will use authentic costumes, incredible lighting, breath-taking sets and a cinematic, original score performed by a symphony orchestra (recorded live). The circus acts take the audience on an emotional roller coaster ride with the main act spotlighted with heartwarming and funny moments throughout the production. There is also audience participation with members getting to be part of the circus (without running away to join one.)

"It is a day in the traveling circus with a narrative," he said. "[Cast member] Maria is a sixth generation circus performer is a high-wire artist from Mexico. She calls it a love letter from the traditions of all circus performers and that is how I feel about it."

Williamson's role is one of commentator, narrator and host as he interacts with the audience breaking the fourth wall as well as engages with the circus. When he first saw the elephant puppets, "I wasn't prepared to become as emotional as I did. There are so many sweet moments with them, you forget they are puppets."

Williamson is a magician and illusionist who has performed around the world. "I love the role and it is a privilege for me to be part of this show." He remains involved and amazed by the touring production, especially with the circus artists, performers and elephant puppets.

"Circus 1903" is family friendly and will perform at the Paris Theater at the Paris Las Vegas Tuesday to Sunday (dark Monday) with show times 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. To purchase tickets, call 702-777-2782 or click here.

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From This Author Debbie Hall

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