Circus Spectacular Cast
Jeff Raz (Ringmaster)
Jeff Raz has starred in many plays and circuses, from Corteo with Cirque du Soleil to Comedy of Errors on Broadway. He is a graduate of Dell’Arte International, a playwright and director of dozens of circus, dance, puppet and theater productions. Jeff cofounded Vaudeville Nouveau in 1982, the S.F. New Vaudeville Festival in 1985, The Clown Conservatory in 2000 and the Medical Clown Project in 2010. His first book, The Secret Life of Clowns, was launched nationally at the Smithsonian in 2017, followed by The Snow Clown and now his third book, Love Death Circus, is available at jeffraz.com. Along with his performing, directing, teaching and writing, Jeff is a communications consultant with the global firm Stand & Deliver.
Tristan Avelina Cunningham (Emcee)
Tristan Avelina Cunningham started performing with Circus Smirkus touring for eight summers. She attended SUNY Purchase theater arts & film conservatory graduating with a BFA. Tristan became head of Children Programs at the SF Circus Center, performed with Circus Bella, Velocity Circus, Medical Clown Project & produced a monthly show called The Literary Clown Foolery. She taught with Prescott Circus Theater teaching youth in the life skills Program. Tristan lives in LA working as an actor & is head of Cirque School LA's Cirque Kids Program Prescott Circus Theater. When Tristan was young, Circus was solid in her life when many things were not. She believes that circus saved her from a dark path she could have taken & that all children should have access to the magic that circus is. She strongly believes her job now, as someone who was saved by finding herself in the ring, is to create & hold space for other children who may need that ring to find home, too.
Mario Diamond (Pre-Show Mime Welcome)
Mario Diamond was born in 1958 in Louiseville, Canada. He discovered mime while studying literature in college. In 1976, Mario was on stage for the first time. Thirty-five years later the mime has performed in Europe, Asia, South and North America, in over 9000 shows, played in televison shows, movies and TV commercials. His audience goes from kids to matured people from everywhere on planet earth. www.mimemario.com
Advanced Youth Performance Troupe (Opening Charivari)
The Youth Troupe will participate with their act opening the 2019 Circus Spectacular, featuring the poem "Freak" by Moo Butler. NECCA's Youth Troupe is Directed by Serenity Smith Forchion and the youth performers featured are Isaac Euler, Sylvi Faldetta, Elsie Fleming, Miki Hertog-Raz, Anni Kuusinen, Hilary Menegaz-Weitzner, Sunnee Riggs-Sanders, Musi Stenn, Serafina Walker, Phoebe Weinberg, Avery Witman, Bradley Zweir.
Joel Herzfeld (Handbalancing)
Joel Herzfeld is a handbalancer and cyr artist based in Boston, USA. A graduate of NECCA's ProTrack, Joel has performed around the world. With 7 Fingers he toured the US and Japan in the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical 'Pippin.' He performed with the prestigious Circus Roncalli in Germany. At sea, Joel performed on cruise ships, including with Celebrity and AIDA fleets and some corporate clients have included Facebook, Hendrick's Gin, Six Flags and Audi. Teaching is Joel's other passion. Before joining circus, Joel earned his Teacher's License in Secondary English at Brandeis University. He's working on earning his licensure in Mathematics, and coaches circus, too!
Eric Bates (Cigar Box Juggling)
Eric Bates grew up in Vermont and learned to juggle sometime in elementary school before going on to do Circus Smirkus then the National Circus School of Montreal to make it his career. He has performed in original creations with the 7 Fingers, Cirque Eloize and Cirque du Soleil, won multiple medals at Cirque de Demain and is now a cofounder of Cirque Barcode, with a mission to use circus to bring attention to the climate crisis. Their most recent shows include Sweat & Ink, a theatrical circus show about memory, and Branché, a collaboration with Acting for Climate that takes place in parks and forest. See more at https://www.barcodecircuscompany.com/
Molly Gawler (Cyr Wheel)
Molly Gawler is a dancer, musician and mom. She founded Droplet Dance in 2012, a collection of solo works with elements of acrobatics and story told by movement created with live music from the folk traditions of Maine. As a youngster, Molly studied ballet with Andrei Bossov in Pittsfield, Maine and furthered her dance training in college with contemporary and modern at SUNY Purchase in NY. She danced with various choreographers in New York City such as Corbin Dances and Nøa Dance. After that, she toured the world with Pilobolus Dance Theater and starred in the lead role of the 'dog-girl' in the show Shadowland. She appeared on Oprah, the Golden Globes, the Royal Variety Show and the Academy Awards. Her life led her to study at New England Center for Circus Arts where she learned Cyr Wheel, Aerial Arts and acrobatics. Molly came back home to Maine where she performs, plays fiddle, sings and teaches movement of all types. One of her greatest joys is being a mother to 3 year old Caspian.
Micah Ellinger (Hand to Hand)
Micah Ellinger was born and raised in the Boston area. As a teenager began honing his acrobatic impulses training at New England Center for Circus Arts in Vermont, developing a passion for partner acrobatics and hand to hand. Soon after he did some performing internationally on cruise ships as well as with the Boston Circus Guild. He then continued his circus education at l’École Nationale de Cirque in Montreal, graduating in 2016. Since finishing, he has performed with Cirque Éloize, Cirque du Soleil, and Circus Monti in 11 different countries.
Ariana Ferber-Carter (Contortion)
Ariana Ferber-Carter debuted with Circus Smirkus, going on to specialize in contortion at New England Center for Circus Arts and San Francisco Circus Center. She has performed with Circus Bella, Celebrity Cruises, Nimble Arts, Six Flags, Worlds of Fun, Quixotic, and Aerheart. She teaches online with Kansas City Aerial Arts and can be reached @ariana.contortion.
Chloe Somers (Walier) (Hula Hoop)
Chloe Somers (Walier) is a graduate of NECCA and the Celebration Barn Theater. She has performed at the Periplo International Circus Festival, Melbourne Fringe Festival, International Jugglers’ Association Festival, as well as the Zelta Karlis Festival, where she won the Circus Artist Association Special Prize Award from the European Circus Association. Chloe played the principal character with Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, The Give and Take Jugglers, Alice in Wonderland: A Cirque Adventure, Tour de Fat and with Les 7 Doigts de la Main. Past clients include: Big Apple Circus, The Late Late Show with James Corden, FTD World Cup, CBS, Robert Mondavi, Michael David Wineries, Swanson Vineyards, Fat Tire, The Queen Mary, M. Night Shyamalan Foundation, Philadelphia Gay Mens’ Choir, The Liberty Hotel, Mutter Museum, Audrain Automobile Museum, House of Blues, Shelburne Museum and more. She is sponsored by Hoopologie. Footage courtesy of 7 Fingers.
Kevin Beverley (Group Acro from Gravity & Other Myths)
Kevin began his journey with gymnastics but after a friend’s suggestion, and seeing how much fun performing was, he started dancing. By age 10, he discovered that performing was what he truly loved to do. Kevin joined the dance department at the Chicago Academy of the Arts for his final two years of high school. He started taking circus classes in his spare time and immediately felt a passion for it. After graduating high school, Kevin attended NECCA's ProTrack then went on to L’ecole nationale de cirque. In 2012, he graduated with a specialty in dance trapeze and a complimentary in Chinese hoop diving. Kevin’s performance experience includes Midnight Circus, Company XIV, Les 7 doigts de la main (PSY, Queen of the Night, Traces), Les productions haut-vol, GOP, and Cirque du Soleil’s VOLTA. The Group Acrobatics Act is from the show BACKBONE by Gravity and Other Myths.