A unique family oriented traveling troupe will bring its big top performance to the St. Augustine Amphitheater with 17 performances beginning Jan. 24 and running through Feb. 10. Called the Venardos Circus, named after Kevin Venardos, it fills a circus void and is timely. The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus closed in May of 2016 after 146 years of entertaining. A new 20th Century Fox film musical that portrays the career of P.T. Barnum, entitled The Greatest Showman, staring Hugh Jackman as Barnum and with Zac Efron and Michelle Williams, was released December 20, 2017.
The Venardos Circus has some familiarity with the film. At age 22, living in New York to pursue an acting and singing career after graduating from Ithaca College, Kevin Venardos answered an ad in Backstage Magazine for an audition with Ringling Bros. The son of a former CBS News executive sang a couple songs, read some lines and was hired as the 33rd Ringling Bros. Ringmaster, where he worked from 2000-2005. That job and the adventures that followed changed the course of his life forever, and inspired Venardos to start his own circus. Kevin and his wife Diana, a former dancer at Disneyland, run the Venardos Circus operation together, traveling from coast to coast. "We are the future of the American Circus, live and in person," Venardos said.
The Venardos Circus proudly features its own custom-made big-top, a classic red-and white striped tent, with an intimate feel and seating for up to 300 guests. The St. Augustine shows will take place in the parking area of the St. Augustine Amphitheater, adjacent to the larger venue. Designed by Kevin, the Venardos Circus wraps world-class circus acts into a Broadway Musical-style format that is deemed the American Circus with the heart of a Broadway Show. The group recently completed a series of shows in Las Vegas and is here in St. Augustine now with various promotional events, where families can meet Venardos himself, scheduled throughout Jacksonville and St. Augustine. Aerialists, acrobats, comedians, juggling, balancing, daredevilry and performers hailing from around the world will soon descend on northeast Florida to perform in the shows.
The Venardos Circus aims to keep that tradition of circus fun alive. The magic of storytelling, music and incredible human feats is timeless and vital. But it's the way the elements are stitched together, with a kind of Broadway twist, that really surprises and delights the Venardos audience. It is the circus of the future. And to see it all under this intimate, beautiful tent is something Kevin and Diana Venardos want Floridians to experience firsthand.
An interactive pre-show party takes place one hour before show time with opportunities to meet the cast, snap selfies and play games. The main event lasts approximately 90 minutes, with a brief intermission. Shows run Wednesdays through Sundays starting January 24 through the entire engagement, with multiple show times on weekends. Tickets are $25 for adult General Admission, $15 for youth and seniors, with a $35 V.I.P. experience available which includes front-row seats. Use code 4KIDS for $5 off tickets! Groups of 15 or more may call (323) 790-4827 to take advantage of special discounts. Find more info about the Venardos Circus, HERE.