Circus Sarasota offers annual summer show

Acts range from a rope-trick expert to hand-balancers

mclear@bradenton.comJune 13, 2013 

For circus lovers, one of the highlights of the summer is Circus Sarasota's "Summer Circus Specatular," an hour-long show packed with a variety of traditional and contemporary circus entrainment.

This year's edition starts June 18 and runs through Aug. 3 at the Historic Asolo Theater.

"It's actually great to have it there, because it combines the circus with the history," said Julia Jacob Barreda.

Barreda, besides working in marketing for Circus Sarasota, is also a third-generation circus performer. She'll appear in the "Summer Circus Spectacular" in an illusionist's performance. Her aunt, Dolly Jacobs, is also part of the show, doing an aerial act. (Barreda's grandfather, and Dolly Jacobs's father was Lou Jacobs, a legendary clown for more than 60 years with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.)

But this isn't just a family affair. The entertainment set for the "Summer Circus Spectacular" includes everything from a hand-balancing act to an internationally known rope-trick performer.

There are six acts in all, including master of ceremonies Steve Smith.

The show gets going with Texas Jack Fulbright, who is the reigning world champion of trick roping and whip cracking.

He's followed by magician Rafael Palacios, with Barreda as his quintessential "lovely assistant."

One of the highlights of the circus is Robb Zeiser, a renowned "silent comedian" who has appeared everywhere from Disney Hollywood Studios to "The Tonight Show," and who was recently one of the biggest hits at the Orlando Fringe Festival. Zeiser's act is apparently very hard to explain, but involves comedic balancing and juggling.

Jacobs, an aerialist and Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey alumna who's billed as the "Queen of the Air," (and who also co-founded Circus Sarasota) and headliners Duo Romanesc close out the circus.

Duo Romanesc comprises Ian Laidlaw and Anthony Congdon. They've been together have been performing as a hand-balancing team since they met in middle school at Sarasota's Sailor Circus in 2007. Sailor Circus is youth circus now owned by Circus Sarasota.

"It's going to be great hour," Barreda said.

Circus Sarasota advises anyone interested in seeing this year's "Summer Circus Spectacular" to get tickets early. Many of last years' performances were sold out, and circus officials expect the same this year.

Details: June 18-Aug. 3, Historic Asolo Theater, 5401 Bayshore Road, Sarasota. Show times: 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 2 and 5 p.m. Saturday. No performance July 4. Tickets: $10 children 12 and younger, $15 adults. Information: 941-360-7399,

Marty Clear, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-748-0411, ext. 7919. Follow

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