For a moment, the circus halts to honor one of its greats
The “Mystere” stage at Treasure Island for Brian Dewhurst’s 80th birthday Tuesday, May 22, 2012.
By John Katsilometes
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
The gentleman in the ill-fitting suit with the wild, gray mane and hair-raising antics (like locking a man in a small jail cell and stealing his date) celebrated a milestone this week.
Brian Dewhurst turned 80 on Tuesday, and a surprise party was held for him onstage after the 9:30 p.m. performance of “Mystere” at Treasure Island. Dewhurst plays the cagey, clowning usher/emcee character in the still-inspiring Cirque du Soleil production and is the oldest Cirque performer working anywhere in the world.
He also is believed to be the oldest regular cast member of any show in Las Vegas.
“He has to be,” said his daughter, Sally, during the post-show party. “No one else is that crazy.”
Brian Dewhurst acknowledges the crowd after the second performance of "Mystere" at Treasure Island as he celebrates his 80th birthday Tuesday, May 22, 2012.
Sally and her brother Nicholas, who also is a “Mystere” cast member, managed to keep the party a secret in the days leading to Dewhurst’s birthday, though the full “Mystere” cast, several reps from other Vegas Cirque shows and dozens of friends were invited. The audience was handed red, foam-rubber noses and pushed them on their faces at the end of the performance and led the crowd in a round of “Happy Birthday.”
Nicholas Dewhurst, right, wishes "Happy Birthday" to his 80-year-old father, Brian, after the second performance of "Mystere" at Treasure Island on Tuesday May 22, 2012.
Dewhurst was welcomed by three friends who traveled from overseas, whom appeared from inside the famed jail cell onstage. They were longtime friends Graeme Quinn Smith (who performed in “Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” in London), Eddie Hawkins (a dancer with Kathleen Dunham), and Cristina Schoenberg (a Baroness from Denmark).
During the party, where guests sipped libations and snacked on sweets, I asked Dewhurst the secret to his sprightly longevity. He motioned toward his daughter, standing nearby.
“Being around her,” he said, smiling. “That helps!”