by the Forward

Yeshiva Boy’s ‘Fantasy’ Becomes Real

In the early 1960s, a nice Jewish boy from New York’s Long Island sat in a yeshiva day school and wrote his first Tony acceptance speech, while his teachers droned on in the background. That daydreamer, Neil Goldberg, has not yet had the chance to proclaim those words to the world, but his lifelong fantasy is slowly edging closer to reality.

Goldberg’s latest creation, “Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy,” a theatrical, acrobatic and musical performance, will open on Broadway next month. The fantastical production, which tells the story of an adventurer who enters the forest and encounters Mother Nature, features aerialists, contortionists, acrobats, jugglers and musicians.

“I wanted to create something that everyone could relate to… but always with an element of mystery and intrigue,” said producer Goldberg, who was inspired in 2000 when he went on a safari in Africa. “Transforming performers to animals and objects seemed like a great challenge to me.”

Indeed, it seems Goldberg met this challenge head-on. In “Jungle Fantasy,” trees come to life as stilt walkers, percussionists emerge from mushrooms, aerialists float through the air in a “ballet of butterflies,” and flowers, giraffes and emus dance across the stage.

The show, which features a cast of 25 and original music by Jill Winters, has been touring the United States nonstop for the past two years, hitting 120 cities. It opens on June 16 at the Broadway Theatre.

This story "Yeshiva Boy’s ‘Fantasy’ Becomes Real" was written by Sarah Kricheff.

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