The Circus is Coming
Next month, a giant red and yellow striped “big top” tent will take shape in Maunaloa, and with it will come an acclaimed group of more than 30 performers from around the world.
“We’re trying to bring a world class production [to Molokai] rather than telling people they have to travel,” said Carl Vincenti, director of the Modern American Circus. The circus will bring 105 minutes of family entertainment to the doorsteps of residents around Hawaii during September, October and November.
Molokai is the first stop of the state-wide tour; the Modern American Circus’ inaugural performance will be on Friday evening, Sept. 13, with three shows planned on Saturday and one on Sunday afternoon.
“Molokai is usually the last to get anything, and we want them to be the first,” said Vincenti.
From aerial acrobats to contortionists, daredevil stunts to stand up acts, the Modern American Circus brings performance-based entertainment that’s been likened to Cirque du Soleil. No animals will be present. In addition to the circus, there will also be concessions, a VIP tent and — thanks to sponsorship from Kama`aina Kids program — an obstacle course and bounce house especially for keiki. The show attempts to bring together the nostalgic feel of the old circus and “big top” with contemporary acts hand-picked from around the world by producers.
“We have acts coming from Vegas, Florida, China… and these are renowned acts traveling with shows that you see around the world,” said Vincenti.
After having trouble securing a venue on the island, circus organizers are partnering with Molokai Ranch to use the park in Maunaloa town.
“We’re always trying to bring cool stuff to Molokai and they convinced us that it was going to be a legitimate, awesome circus and we saw no downside,” said Nancy Schmicker, Molokai Ranch project manager. “Bringing people back to Maunaloa is going to be pretty cool. It’s going to bring it to life seeing the tent go up.”
Vincenti said they also hope to partner with local businesses, organizations and nonprofits to give back to the community. A program called “Join the Circus” offers a discount code to local groups looking to raise money. When members of that organization sell tickets with the code, buyers get a $3 discount off circus tickets, $2 of which goes to the organization.
“It seems this will offer a great opportunity for our local businesses and nonprofits to partner with the circus to help stimulate the economy and a portion of the funds raised stay on Molokai,” said Jennifer Hawkins of the Kuha`o Business Center.
Another program allows local businesses to participate as sponsors of the show. Whatever amount of money a business puts towards supporting the circus, Vincenti said he will give an equivalent number of free tickets to those people of the business’ choice who wouldn’t be able to pay to attend otherwise.
“Our goal is to bring wholesome family entertainment to the people of Hawaii while giving back to the community through various programs established with our strategic partners,” explained Vincenti.
This is a new business concept even for Vincenti. He said the Modern American Circus was born earlier this year through a partnership among a group of Hawaii businessmen and entertainment professionals. They pooled their funds to purchase the “big top” tent, selected performers, and dreamed a plan to bring entertainment to people in their own communities.
Vincenti said for 10 weeks every year, the circus will tour Hawaii, the Pacific and Asia — bringing different acts every year — and the rest of the year, the group will rent out the “big top” for events around Hawaii.
On Molokai, next month’s show times will be Friday, Sept. 13 at 6:30 p.m., Saturday at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., and Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Tickets will be $16 for children and $26 for adults, or $3 off each price with the discount code through local partnering organizations. For more information or to participate as a fundraiser, visit modernamericancircus.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 808-781-4773.