By TERRY O'CONNOR
From The Sarasota Herald Tribune
Thursday, March 22, 2012
VENICE - Cirque Italia will become the first international circus to open in Venice in more than two decades when a show named "Aquatic" makes its splashy debut Friday.
AT A GLANCE
What: Cirque Italia
Where: Jacaranda Plaza, Venice
When: Tonight 7 p.m.; Saturday 11 p.m., 3 p.m., 7 p.m.; Sunday 1 p.m., 5 p.m.; and again next week beginning Thursday.
Cost: Adults $20-$35, children $10-$35
Tickets/more information: Call 485-7675 or go to venicecircusarts.com.
The show will open in a new $2.3-million set donated by the famed Italian circus, the third-largest in the world, which extended a helping hand from across the Atlantic Ocean after owner Manuel Rebbechi learned the Venice circus arena could be torn down in lieu of repairs estimated at $10 million.
Prince the Penguin and Aura Cardinaci pause for a photo during rehearsals for their upcoming appearance in the production of "Cirque Aquatic Under The Big Top."
CORRESPONDENT PHOTO / MATT HOUSTON
"Facebook saved us," said Tito Gaona of the Venice Circus Arts Foundation while showing off the 1,244-seat custom-built circus tent now standing in the Jacaranda Plaza parking lot at 1667 U.S. Highway 41 Bypass South. "That's how he found out about us. This is all state-of-the-art and all-new equipment. It's the modern circus."
The one-ring blue-and-white tent houses a circulation system pumping 35,000 gallons of water through the "water circus tent" made in Venice, Italy by Bassano del Grappa. The tent and all equipment was lent to the Venice Circus Arts Foundation for a series of 13 fund-raising shows over two weekends.
Operations Director Pamela Clark said advance ticket sales are steady.
"We've already sold 40 percent but we still have a long way to go toward of goal of selling out every performance," Clark said.
A portion of every ticket sold will be donated to the Venice Circus Arts Foundation for its "save the arena project," which needs $10 million to renovate the former home of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, circa 1960-92.