Preview: Cirque Dreams Holidaze

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A "kaleidoscope of visuals" is center stage at the Opry House as this year's featured "A Country Christmas" experience.

Christmas ornaments come to life and frolic about the Grand Ole Opry House stage during Cirque Dreams Holidaze (CDH). The show is the centerpiece of Gaylord Opryland Resort’s 2017 “A Country Christmas” celebration. It runs Nov. 18 – Dec. 27.

CDH, part of the large Cirque Dreams brand (it’s not related to Cirque du Soleil or other “cirque” shows), celebrates its 10th year this season. The Country Christmas engagement marks the first time for CDH in Music City. Director Neil Goldberg — the brainchild behind the Cirque Dreams brand — has retooled the show for the Opry House stage.

“It’s reimagined on a much larger scale and fashion. This year has no less than 35 performers and more than 500 costumes in the show,” says Goldberg. “It combines the elements of a Broadway musical, a family holiday spectacular and a new cirque show all in one,” he adds.

BACK TO BASICS

Goldberg acknowledges that people have a certain impression with the word ‘cirque’ and promises that CDH will deliver. 

“This show is a kaleidoscope of visuals. It delivers those amazing acts that fly over the audience and dangle from their feet and do things that defy gravity and have you on the edge of your seat,” Goldberg beams. “Simultaneously there’s more traditional holiday theatrics featuring choreographed production numbers with costumes and lots of layering within the show,” he adds.

In our modern era of all-things tech, CDH steers the focus to a more organic experience highlighting the immense talents of the human performers, including acrobats, aerialists, contortionists and others. 

“People just want to see the magic of what someone can do … not necessarily surrounded by a hundred-million dollars’ worth of technology,” Goldberg acknowledges. “I’m an old-fashioned back-to-basics theater kind of guy, and so is my team. That’s what separates us from other cirque shows.”

ORNAMENTAL INSPIRATION

Goldberg’s story and the inspiration behind CDH is testimony that childhood dreams do come true. Goldberg grew up Jewish in New York. “We didn’t celebrate Christmas, but I never saw it as a religious holiday. I saw it as something more of a national holiday — a time of year filled with color and lights and festivity,” he reflects.

As a youngster, Goldberg says he’d make pit stops on the way home from school to remove tinsel and ornaments from discarded trees after the holiday season. “It really annoyed my mother that I was bringing home somebody else’s trash!” he chuckles.

Fast forward 50 years and Goldberg’s childhood fascination turned into a lifetime collection of ornaments. “I have more than 10,000 pieces in the collection and had to build a room in one of my homes just to house and display my ornament collection — my childhood inspired that,” he says.

That ornament collection in turn became the inspiration for what has become CDH. “I took pieces of my collection into our costume shop to work with our designers because I thought they’d make amazing costumes,” Goldberg says.

When the curtain rises on the Opry House stage, the audience will see a 25-foot-tall steel tree upon which acrobats from all over the world will dangle costumed as ornaments. 

“One by one they come down, and during the next 100 minutes each of these ornaments celebrates different seasons,” Goldberg says. 

Fans of “The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll” will delight in the fact that there’s an Elvis ornament in the show!

“The Elvis ornament does what the audience would expect Elvis to do, and we layer it with the spectacle of giant guitars and revolving jukeboxes,” Goldberg says.

THE KID TAKE-AWAY

The word “dream” has been a common denominator in Goldberg’s life, which became the logical word in his “Cirque Dreams” brand. 

“Young people are dreamers,” Goldberg notes. “We can’t always figure out what they’re dreaming, so we try to support them in any way we can … hoping that all the things we put in front of them will help mold and inspire and help them become the people they turn out to be,” he adds. 

IF YOU GO:

Cirque Dreams Holidaze
Nov. 18 – Dec. 27 (days and times vary)
Grand Ole Opry House
2804 Opryland Drive, Nashville
615-889-1000 | christmasatgaylordopryland.com
Tickets: $24.99 – $89.99
PROMO CODE: Nashville Parent readers can save 40% off tickets during performances happening Mondays – Fridays only. Use code PARENTSRULE to get the discount.

 

 

Chad Young is the managing editor and arts/entertainment editor for this publication.

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