Limited seating now through August 18, 2013
Clearly I didn’t do my research before attending the opening-night performance of Circus Juventas’ summer production Oz. It wasn’t much like I’d imagined it would be.
It was so much MORE! The show had more of everything – dozens of jaw-droppingly talented youth and young adults, a ceaseless assortment of acrobatic apparatus, and a running time just over three hours – than I’d gone in expecting. It all added up to a smashing night out at the circus with my oldest daughter.
Bless her six-year-old heart; she was pretty drowsy as the show stretched past her bedtime. But she couldn’t take her eyes off the characters from Oz: witches on trapezes, handspringing monkeys, Dorothy airborne amidst a spinning cyclone, and a lovely poison poppy 20 feet high (“that is too impossible!”). As we watched the story unfold through beautifully choreographed scenes of circus acts, I added my own narration for Emily, who was not familiar with the classic Wizard of Oz. This kept her going until the end of the show; she was determined to see Dorothy rescued from the clutches of the Wicked Witch by her allies (a juggling scarecrow, a tin man in a German Wheel, a mighty strong lion and, in a twist, the Wizard himself).
We ducked out for snacks during the intermission, right as the founder of Circus Juventas was giving a brief history of the home-grown program. If I remember correctly, the school (which started as an after-school class at a local rec center) currently serves 750 students and is the leading youth circus arts program in the country. Their tradition of putting on Cirque du Soleil-style productions has been going strong for almost 20 years. Had I done my research before coming to Oz would I have been any less impressed? Probably not! The show was fantastic. My daughter and I genuinely thank Circus Juventas for providing us an opportunity to experience this St. Paul gem.
Tip: Shows are selling out fast. I’d recommend visiting this link to find available tickets — and hurry!
Circus Juventas is located at:
1270 Montreal Avenue, St Paul, MN 55116
651-699-8229 (box office)
Limited free parking in the lot or on Montreal Ave.