MOSI stops Cirque Italia's ACT XII because of lack of insurance
By CLOE CABRERA | The Tampa Tribune
November 02, 2012
The Museum of Science and Industry has canceled the first five days of performances of Cirque Italia's ACT XII until the circus owner pays for insurance.
The circus, featuring aerialists, high-balancing acts and contortionists performing on an elevated stage surrounded by 35,000 gallons of water, was to have begun Thursday night and run through Dec. 2.
Patrons, expecting to see circus acts Thursday under the blue-and-white big top, were instead turned away, but not empty handed. MOSI handed out museum passes to each person who came to see the circus.
Thomas Sandwich of Clearwater came out for the show. He said he had free tickets and was anxious to see the performances because it had been 60 years since he'd been to the circus.
"Last time I went to a circus they used elephants to raise the big top," said Sandwich, who said he was in his 70s. "I guess now, they use four-wheelers.
"We were looking forward to this," he said.
MOSI Thursday afternoon canceled all performances of the circus but later decided to give owner Manuel Rebecchi five days to pay $43,000 for liability and workers' comp insurance.
If he does not make the payment by Tuesday, all performances will be canceled, MOSI officials said.
MOSI officials pulled the plug on the circus when they learned the circus did not fulfill the insurance requirements specified in the contract, said Shannon N. Herbon, MOSI's communications manager.
"We have been on the telephone all day (with Cirque Italia)," Hebron said. "(Cirque Italia) refused to pay for the liability insurance. We will not leave our performers and guests not protected."
Rebecchi said MOSI acted too quickly in canceling all of the shows.
"That's not right," he said Thursday. "We've been working like animals and this happens."
Rebecchi said he would pay for the coverage today and the show will go on.
Rebecchi, 32, purchased Cirque Italia for $1.3 million. A native of Italy, he grew up traveling with his uncle's renowned Noira Orfei's Circus.
About a month ago, Rebecchi and his crew began setting up the big top next to MOSI. The 1,266 seat tent spans more than 10,000 square feet and is more than 50 feet high.
Anyone who purchased tickets can call (813) 987-6000 for a refund.
A story in today's Friday Extra about Cirque Italia went to press before Thursday's cancellation.