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'Pop Goes the Rock'

Cirque Dreams Brings Musical Carnival Performance to CAC

February 12, 2012
By DANA BORICK ( , Williamsport Sun-Gazette

Cirque Dreams will present "Pop Goes the Rock" at 7:30 p.m. March 2 at the Community Arts Center, 220 W. Fourth St.

"Pop Goes the Rock" is a musical of unexpected sights and sounds that explode on stage like a rock 'n' roll party set in a carnival funhouse.

Created and directed by Neil Goldberg, this one-of-a-kind variety show features a mash-up of celebrated pop and rock tunes spanning the decades.

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Goldberg, who has 14 productions under his belt, said he has no trouble keeping busy.

"I've being doing Cirque productions for about 20 years," he said. "They get more complex and more detailed ... as an artist, I'm always trying to improve."

Goldberg said his inspiration for "Pop Goes the Rock" comes from his love of music as an art form.

"[The production] features music that resonates with people and reminds me of place, a time or an occurrence in my life," he said. "The genre of performance artistry has been embraced by the world and blends the emotion of the song with the motion of dance."

Goldberg attributed the success of the Cirque productions in part to what people have seen on television with shows like "Glee," through reality show contests, or in productions seen in Las Vegas and on Broadway.

"This show features dancers from the MTV show 'America's Best Dance Crew' and includes 21 performers spanning eight continents," Goldberg said. "They are layered into the performance with a band that performs live on stage in zany costumes."

When it came to selecting the music for this show, Goldberg said he spent two years working on the list and meeting with Sony executives to secure licensing rights, which was the most challenging, complex and labor-intensive part of the show.

"These are all recognizable songs and chart-topping hits from the past five, six, seven decades," Goldberg said. "I listened to more than 10,000 songs over seven or eight months to whittle the list to 50, which became 23."

Songs featured in the performance include:

"Call Me Irresponsible" by Frank Sinatra, 1963.

"No More Mr. Nice Guy" by Alice Cooper, 1973.

"I Love the Nightlife" by Alicia Bridges, 1978.

"I Want Candy" by Bow Wow Wow, 1982.

"Jump (for My Love)" by the Pointer Sisters, 1983.

"The Heat is On" by Glenn Frey, 1985.

"Zoot Suit Riot" by the Cherry Poppin' Daddies, 1997.

"Beautiful" by Christina Aguilera, 2002.

"Womanizer" by Britney Spears, 2008.

"We're taking songs that are familiar and modernizing them and mashing them up," Goldberg said. "This is a rock concert, a pop musical and cirque show all in one."

Goldberg said audiences can expect a very surreal, carnival-like funhouse on the stage draped in colorful lights and bright costumes.

"The center of the stage features a Jack in the Box who comes out of his box," Goldberg said. "During the 2-hour performance, the characters try to capture Jack to put him back in the box."

Goldberg said the show was in pre-production for a year and the cast has been performing for about a month before they went on the road.

"They're [audience] gonna think this show's been there a month because it's so complex," Goldberg said. "This company creates high-quality production spectacles to all cities, not just big cities.

"This is one performance for one day in Williamsport," Goldberg said. "You don't have to go to Vegas or Broadway to see a show like this."

Tickets range from $22.50 to $40 and may be ordered online at or by calling 326-2424.

"People are fascinated by what is next, what is new and what is different," Goldberg said. "And they all come together in 'Pop Goes the Rock'."



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