Circus Maximus

Le Cirque Centre Director Lorenzo SantaBarbara is bringing the lust, love and jealously of turn-of-the-20th-century Paris' Moulin Rouge to Ashland, and he's using a circus to do it.

The adult-geared "The 'Moulin Rouge' Circus Show" opens Friday at Le Cirque, 280 E. Hersey St. No. 12, where, for the past seven years, SantaBarbara's focus has been teaching children a blend of dance, theater and circus arts.

"This is really my first full-blown show with adult performers and, I have to say, I never thought I would have so much fun," he said. "This is not your everyday show, it's truly extraordinary. ... Ashland finally has its own circus."

The group of 23 performers, which includes actors, dancers, acrobats and fabric aerialists, has been rehearsing since August for the upcoming three-weekend string of performances, SantaBarbara said.

He said more than 300 of 630 available tickets already have been sold for the nine shows, which run Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Feb. 3. Friday and Saturday shows begin at 8 p.m., while the Sunday matinees begin at 3 p.m.

Each performance will run a little more than two hours, including an intermission.

Anyone younger than 18 must be accompanied by an adult, he said, and the $15 tickets are available at Music Coop and Le Cirque. For more information, visit or call 541-301-6804.

SantaBarbara said the show isn't unsuitable for a younger audience, but there are suggestive scenes.

"It's not done in a distasteful way, but this is about love," he said. "It's no different than Shakespeare."

The storyline follows Baz Luhrmann's 2001 "Moulin Rouge!" by using dialogue and some music recorded straight from the film.

"It's multidimensional theater," SantaBarbara said. "The words are taken directly from the movie. It's all piped in ... . You're going to hear Nicole Kidman."

"There is a uniqueness about this show that I feel is going to pull in a diverse audience," said Paul Groover, who also goes by Krsna Deva, and will play Christian, the love interest of Satine.

Groover, 27, of Ashland, said it's taken a strict regimen of workouts and aerial practice to gain the necessary strength and confidence to play the role.

"There is a lot of action in this love story," said 20-year-old Glory Pillsbury of Ashland, who plays Satine. "I think the circus aspect is what's really important to this performance."

Pillsbury is also the adult instructor at Le Cirque Centre.

SantaBarbara said he expects the performances to sell out, and for those interested to get tickets ahead of time. He is considering extending the show a fourth week.

"Anybody that comes will definitely be grabbed by the emotional roller coaster of this tragic love story," he said.

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