Chicago Sun-Times

Windy City Circus kicks off Chicago birthday celebratio­n


community. Thanks to sponsors, 80 percent of WCC’S net ticket sales will go to the Special Olympics Chicago and the Ronald Mcdonald House Charities of Chicagolan­d and Northwest Indiana.

Plans are in the works for a show under the big top this summer, and Cohen and Maas hope the circus will continue to grow after that.

“The idea for me is to run it very similar to Big Apple, to move it in and around the Chicago area— four or five stops each year— and change the program each year so audiences see a different program,” Maas said.

So what will audiences see at Navy Pier? Plenty. Maas will serve as master of ceremonies; he and his wife will perform “Quick Change,” and Dania will do her Hula-hoop act. Internatio­nal, national and local acts will all get in on the Chicago theme in some manner. For example, thewinn Family daredevils, juggler Vladik, Jonatan Riquelme of Ariel Rola Bola and the Sky Masters, will all take on the personas of notable Chicagoans during their performanc­es, and local performers will bring Chicago’s famous and infamous to life as “walkaround” characters, harking back to circus days of yore.

Chicago mime/performer Gregg Steigmeyer, who is coordinati­ng local actors in their roles as historic characters, will portray Marshall Field. The walk-around characters— Frank Lloyd Wright, Abraham Lincoln, Stephen Douglas and Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable to name a few, are there to “set the atmosphere from the point that people arrive and during intermissi­on to keep the Chicago thing going throughout the run of the show,” Steigmeyer said. “We’re recreating [these characters] to honor Chicago, to honor them, to honor all the things that have added up to make Chicago the great city that it is in a circus atmosphere.”

“What better place to do this than Chicago, where it’s never been done before?” Maas asked of creating the circus. “It’s a beautiful show, a fun time.”

Jennifer Burklow is a local freelance writer.

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