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"Wintuk" from Cirque du Soleil at The Theatre at Madison Square Garden

- Backstage with the Playwrights

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Wintuk from Cirque du Soleil
(Wintuk on You Tube)
(Cirque du Soleil Website)

The Theatre at Madison Square Garden

Press: The Hartman Group

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
December 18, 2010

With my seven year-old niece in eager anticipation to see some snow, just like the full-time wish of the lead character, a young boy in a red coat, I knew it would happen, assuming toward the end, or the audience would be sitting smothered in white. Whether it would be of the cold wet disappearing variety, the paper confetti variety, or some new surprising concoction, would be the only surprise. Meanwhile, through two acts, the absolutely humungous Theatre at Madison Square Garden was filled at every corner of its 100’ wide stage, as the show began, with hills and mountains, as acrobatic characters rode tiny bikes up and down, twisting and turning, and even stopping short, with front wheels high in the air. It was not a dramatic opening, no drumrolls here, but for the massively seated fans, mostly with kids, it was an energized introduction to the Canadian-based troupe, famous for non-scary circus acts that mesmerize with awe, without causing the faint of heart to cringe. In fact, in Wintuk, there was not one cringe-inducing act, although the character that climbed dozens of cylinders to change a light bulb did have us at the edge of our seats.

That light bulb was for a winking lamppost, there were several, that sway and sing and adorn the stage with life-size Disney-esque décor. At one point a couple of tightrope walkers riveted the eye, as a pickpocket character ripped off the other’s pants, while they didn’t miss a step. This action was way above the stage with no net, and it was instantly apparent that these gymnasts are in the finest of form and training. A lady of the homeless variety, another comical, clown-like character, dances with human-sized hairy dogs, along with a clown found in a trash can. Later on the stage turns Arctic, and cold-weather characters dance for snow. These new acts are colorful, whimsical, and breathtaking. There’s a Raggedy Ann type doll-dancer, who twists and falls in non-human shapes, there’s a sexy dancer, who balances many silver hoops in hula-hoop swiveling fashion, never missing a beat, and a dance team with a pole. OK, the snow. Yes, toward the finale, snow arrives, and it pours endlessly from the rafters, blanketing the crowd. It’s thin crepe paper shaped like a snowflake, white and blue, but lit with spotlights during the storm. My lap, pocketbook, clothes, hair, and chair were filled with paper snow. While the theatre cleaners came out by the dozens, with pails and sweepers to ready the theatre for the evening show, my niece was in the aisles, tossing in the snow.

As this season is the last for Wintuk, I look forward to seeing what next season brings from the Cirque du Soleil troupe. You can check their schedule here. And, the go-to dining destination after events at The Theatre at Madison Square Garden is Tick Tock Diner right across the street at 8th Avenue and 34th Street.

A Scene from Cirque du Soleil's "Wintuk"
Courtesy of Richard Termine

A Scene from Cirque du Soleil's "Wintuk"
Courtesy of Richard Termine

A Scene from Cirque du Soleil's "Wintuk"
Courtesy of Richard Termine

A Scene from Cirque du Soleil's "Wintuk"
Courtesy of Richard Termine

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For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at