Show combines pop and rock songs with psychedelic-circus spectacle
This performer eventually has 18 hula-hoops spinning to Britney Spears’ “Womanizer.” / Special to news-press.com.
Written by Charles Runnells
FROM: ft meyers new-press.com
Apr. 12, 2012
Neil Goldberg didn’t know what he was getting himself into when he started working on his first pop-rock circus show.
Try two years of hand-wringing and headaches, plus a never-ending playlist of potential songs.
In all, Goldberg and his staff listened to about 10,000 songs for his newest Cirque Dreams show, “Pop Goes the Rock,” which appears Tuesday at The Philharmonic Center for the Arts. Some songs didn’t fit Goldberg’s vision of a pop-rock circus spectacle. But with most of them, he simply couldn’t get the song rights.
Welcome to the world of copyrights and licensing agreements – something Goldberg never had to deal with before. Composer Jill Winters writes most of the music for his popular psychededlic circus shows.
“It was a constant one step forward, two steps back,” says the Cape Coral man, founder and artistic director for the Pompano Beach circus company.
Eventually, Goldberg and company narrowed things down to 24 approved songs, including chart toppers such as “She Bangs,” “In the Summertime,” “Zoot Suit Riot” and “Beautiful.”
And the result, he says, was well worth all the frustration and legal hoop jumping.
Just watch the show, he says. You’ll see roller skaters doing tricks to “The Heat Is On,” a woman spinning 18 hula-hoops to “Womanizer,” unicyclists juggling to “Jump (For My Love)” and acrobats standing on their hands and rapping along to “Rappers Delight.”
“How’s that for a picture?” Goldberg says and laughs.
Goldberg combines the songs and circus performers with laser lights, eye-popping costumes and a carnival funhouse set. The show includes a live rock band and the dance crew Static Noyze, which appeared on the MTV reality show “America’s Best Dance Crew.”
As musical director, Winters worked closely with Goldberg on the songs and eventually gave them all a Cirque Dreams spin. So “Womanizer” has a jazzier feel, and “No More Mr. Nice Guy” comes with a dance beat.