Michael Moschen | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Michael Moschen

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The Magic City Festival's target audience is families with young children, but no demographics are needed to define this brilliant artist's appeal. Just as Cirque du Soleil (for whom Moschen has staged routines) has transformed the circus tradition into performance art, Moschen has reclaimed juggling from vaudeville corniness, reinventing it as exquisite, completely original movement theater. He doesn't simply balance his spheres, illuminated hoops, and flaming torches but imbues them with a life of their own, partnering them balletically or guiding them as if by telekinesis. Keenly attuned to the geometric images and rhythmic sounds these objects generate in motion, he is mime, musician, clown, and athlete--a stage illusionist whose magic is based entirely on his own physical skill. Balancing physics, aesthetics, and show-biz savvy informed by a droll deadpan humor, his act is beautiful, breathtaking, and just plain fun. Bred and based in New England, Moschen is well known on the east coast from his appearances at Lincoln Center and the Brooklyn Academy of Music (not to mention his early career as a street juggler in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art). This is his solo debut in Chicago--a magnificent choice for the festival's finale. Opening for Moschen is Tuyo, a Quebec-based musical ensemble that plays original music on instruments handmade from recycled materials. Navy Pier Skyline Stage, 600 E. Grand, 744-1612 or 559-1212 (Ticketmaster). Sunday, August 13, 7 PM. $15.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Lois Greenfield.

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