UPDATE: More SSC coverage of Cirque.

Cirque du Soleil will present a special engagement of the new show Banana Shpeel at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Theatre with performances from Saturday, October 16 through Sunday, November 14, 2010. Variety Magazine calls Banana Shpeel “a boisterously winning funfest.”

Banana Shpeel is a new style of production from Cirque du Soleil that features a colorful combination of slapstick comedy, eclectic dance and unique acrobatic acts. The action follows a diverse spectrum of performances including tap, hip-hop and eccentric dance, physical comedy and distinctive acrobatic acts performed by elite international artists – plus madcap characters spreading chaos in all directions.

Banana Shpeel features an international cast of 38 performers including the main character of Schmelky, played by Broadway veteran Danny Rutigliano, best known for his role as Timon in The Lion King. Assisting Schmelky are two slapstick sidekicks performed by Daniel Passer and Wayne Wilson and his wacky assistant Margaret played byShereen Hickman. As Schmelky works to complete his latest show, he is disrupted by a comedic trio: Claudio Carneiro, Patrick de Valette and Gordon White. The show offers incredible acrobatic performances, including Russian hand balancer Dmitry Bulkin, Vietnamese hat juggler Tuan Le, Spanish foot juggler Vanessa Alvarez, Canadian Hand to Hand duo Preston Jamieson and Kesley Wiens and Russian contortionistsTsybenova AyagmaTsydendambaeva Imin and Zhambalova LiliaBANANA SHPEEL features diverse dance elements, including brother-sister tap dance duo Josephand Josette Wiggan and a talented ensemble comprised of Robyn Baltzer, Kassie Brown, Adrienne Jean Fisher, DeWitt Fleming Jr., Karida Griffith, Luke Hawkins, Kathleen Hennessey, Adrienne Reid, Anthony J. Russo, Melissa Schott, Josh Scribner, Alexis Sims and Steven T. Williams.

Under the direction of Band Leader Petros Sakelliou, the BANANA SHPEEL original score is performed live on stage by Damion Corideo (percussion), Ryan Dragon(trombone), Bobby Brennan (bass), Mario Hébert (guitar), Iohann Laliberté (drums),Jean-François Ouellet (saxophone) and Scott Steen (trumpet).

The Creative Team

  • Artistic Guides: Guy Laliberté (Cirque du Soleil Founder) and Gilles Ste-Croix
  • Writer and Director: David Shiner
  • Director of Creation: Serge Roy
  • Composer and Arranger: Simon Carpentier
  • Choreographer: Jared Grimes
  • Costume Designer: Dominique Lemieux
  • Set Designer and Props Co-Designer: Patricia Ruel
  • Props Co-Designer: Jasmine Catudal
  • Lighting Designer: Bruno Rafie
  • Sound Designer: Harvey Robitaille
  • Make-up Designer: Eleni Uranis

The Writer & Director

Banana Shpeel writer and director David Shiner started out as a mime in Paris. His career took off in 1984 when he was discovered at the renowned circus festival Cirque de Demain. Shiner later teamed up with Bill Irwin to create the wordless two-man show Fool Moon, which played from 1992 to 1999, including three Broadway runs. Fool Moon picked up numerous prizes, including a Tony Award, Drama Desk Award and an Outer Critics Circle Award. In 2007, Shiner directed his first Cirque du Soleil production, the big top touring show KOOZA.

Cirque du Soleil

From a group of 20 street performers at its beginnings in 1984, Cirque du Soleil is a major Quebec-based organization providing high-quality artistic entertainment. The company has 5,000 employees including more than 1,200 artists from close to 50 different countries.Cirque du Soleil has brought wonder and delight to close to 100 million spectators in 300 cities on five continents. In 2010, Cirque du Soleil will present 21 shows simultaneously throughout the world. The International Headquarters are in Montreal.

Banana Shpeel tickets will go on sale to the general public  in September.  Advance online tickets will be available to Cirque Club members prior to the public onsale, with the exact date to be announced online soon. Cirque Club membership is free and benefits includes access to advance tickets, special offers and exclusive behind the scenes information.

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