On the phone Friday from his offices in Florida, Cirque Dreams founder and director Neil Goldberg is worried about flying. Windstorms forced airlines to cancel flights, and he needs to be in New York.
But when Cirque Dreams Revealed — with its dozens of acrobats and aerialists to call upon — lands at Mohegan Sun on March 10 and 11, flying will not be a problem.
Cirque Dreams Revealed was developed about five years ago. Goldberg describes it as “still family-oriented, like all our shows, but more sensual. It’s up close and personal. It’s dark and moody but still colorful.”
The 75-minute spectacle includes 17 different acts, and the performers hail from seven different countries.
“I don’t let any act last more than four and a half minutes,” Goldberg says.
The company can have half a dozen shows on tour at any given time, a number that gets much larger at Christmastime, when various troupes of Cirque Dreams’ biggest hit “Cirque Holidaze” crisscross the country. Other signature works include “Jungle Fantasy,” “Cirque Dreams Broadway,” “Cirque Dreams Rocks,” “Cirque Dreams Splashtastic” and even a dinner theater show, “Cirque Dreams and Dinner.”
Cirque Dreams has been performing regularly at Mohegan Sun for more than a dozen years. The relationship is so comfortable there that Cirque Dreams is allowed to reconfigure the venue to make it an actual arena setting.
“I thought, ‘Why should anyone crane their neck?’ It’s a different theatrical sense, a 360-degree setting. We’re very flexible and adaptable to the venues we play in. I like varied presentations.”
Not that the performers would be hard to miss anyway. “Some of the costumes are 18 feet tall,” Goldberg says. “They dwarf the performers.” The show features “hand-balancing, aerial acts and acrobats,” among other circus theater staples.
Goldberg founded Cirque Dreams a quarter century ago, just as the “new circus” movement was gaining a foothold at theaters around the country. Goldberg, who comes from New York and considers himself “a Broadway guy,” still conceives and directs all the Cirque Dreams shows. “The art is really my passion.” The shows’ elaborate sets and costumes are designed and built at the company’s Florida homebase.
Cirque Dreams shows also have original music scores; “Revealed” is by Jill Winters. “The thread of this show,” Goldberg explains, “is a female character who plays the saxophone.”
“The tradition of what we call ‘contemporary circus’ actually dates back to the 1800s,” Goldberg says. “I grew up reading Jules Verne [the “Around the World in 80 Days” fantasy writer]. He had an actual theater building called the Cirque Municipal where they did circus acts and there weren’t any animal acts.”
Despite the rich heritage of theater circuses, Cirque Dreams experienced growing pains.
“Right at the beginning,” Goldberg says, “it was unfamiliar. Out of 10 people I’d meet, nine would pronounce it ‘sir-kyoo.’” Now Cirque Dreams is one of the best-known theater circus companies in the country.
“At our peak time,” Goldberg says, “we employ over 250 artists. We train them all here right in Ft. Lauderdale.”
CIRQUE DREAMS REVEALED plays March 10 at 7 p.m. and March 11 at 3 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena, 1 Mohegan Sun Blvd., Uncasville. Tickets are $25. 88-226-7711 and mohegansun.com.