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Cirque Italia to bring show to Fort Myers

By CJ HADDAD - | Jun 23, 2021

Cirque Alcatraz, presented by Cirque Italia out of Sarasota, is set to take over the grounds at Jet Blue Park from June 24-27, bringing with it a for-mature-audience-themed extravaganza. PHOTO PROVIDED

cjhaddad@breezenewspapers.com

A one-of-a-kind live entertainment experience hits Fort Myers next weekend that’s sure to leave audience members in awe.

Cirque Alcatraz, presented by Cirque Italia out of Sarasota, is set to take over the grounds at Jet Blue Park from June 24-27, bringing with it a for-mature-audience-themed extravaganza filled with jaw-dropping feats and a few laughs.

Immersed in the setting of the infamous Alcatraz prison, high-energy acts swing from ropes, flip over trapezes, and zip by on BMX bikes and roller skates — truly pushing the boundaries of the human body and mind.

“It’s a very immersive experience from the time the guests arrive,” said Steve Copeland, Cirque Alcatraz ringmaster, along with Ryan Combs.

Framed for murder and finding themselves among some of the most violent criminals and prison guards, Copeland and Combs (who unlike Copeland, thinks they’re part of some sort of escape room, not an actual prison) navigate their way through the prison in hopes to escape, with danger and adventure lurking in every corner.

Before guests even enter the tent, they’ll watch as the bus full of inmates arrives, and even have an opportunity to interact with Alcatraz’ newest tenants.

“Or possibly get robbed,” Combs joked.

Spectators will enter the prison-themed big top and be transported to a world filled with not only hardened individuals, but immensely talented ones at that.

Scenes that include amazing feats of balance, strength, athleticism, contortion and flight come to life before the audience’s eyes.

“They’re stackable,” Combs quipped.

“It’s a sensational cast of people doing superhuman things,” Copeland said. “We have bikes being ridden on a wire, people walking upside down, people shooting bows and arrows at their wife.”

While Copeland and Combs admit they’re not part of the high-risk and daredevilish acts, they certainly bring quite the entertainment factor.

“Our performers are really just world- class athletes, and then there’s Steve and I with our world-class dad bods,” Combs said.

The show does carry an “R” rating, with those under 17 requiring an accompanying parent or adult guardian over 21. No one under age 13 will be admitted to the show. Ages 13-17 are welcome, but at the parent’s discretion. The show does include adult language and material not intended for ages under 17.

“The show is sometimes, scary, sometimes intense, sometimes goofy, and when we’re up there, it’s about as far from sexy as you can get,” Copeland said. “But that’s all right, because we have great personalities.”

The show even includes original song and dance numbers from the pair.

“We’re like if Broadway hadn’t made any money,” Combs joked.

In line with COVID-19 protocols, seating inside of the tent will be socially distanced. Attendees are encouraged to wear a mask while inside of the tent, but not required. Artists and all staff of Cirque Alcatraz will be wearing face covering for the safety of the audience.

The troupe hopes the show is a way for the community to be able to get out and find entertainment during a time where many live shows and in-person events had to be scrapped due to the pandemic.

“I think everyone feels like they’ve been in prison the past year, and Crique Alcatraz gives the people a nice cathartic way to come out and let loose. To laugh, to cry, to scream and cheer,” Copeland said. “It’s very unique. There’s no other show like it in the United States and I think people are craving to be out around other people and see live entertainment. It’s been sorely missed this past year.”

Cirque Italia was formed Manuel Rebecchi, nephew of Moira Orfei — the world-renowned queen of the Italian circus. The traveling entertainment company, started in 2012, provides a European-style performance aimed to dazzle the audience.

Cirque Italia has four different shows (Alcatraz, Paranormal, Water Circus Silver, Water Circus Gold) that travel the country to entertain those near and far.

For more information on Cirque Alcatraz, Cirque Italia and for tickets ($10-$50), visit www.cirquealcatraz.com or call 941-704-8572.

Jet Blue Park is at 11500 Fenway South Drive in Fort Myers.

–Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj