The Summer Circus Spectacular returns to Sarasota

Adam Kuchler brings his comedy act to Sarasota for the summer.
Adam Kuchler brings his comedy act to Sarasota for the summer. publicity photo

Adam Kuchler is so good at what he does that he works steadily all over the world. He’s spending half of the summer in the sweltering heat of west-central Florida. That, he admits, is kind of a crazy choice for a Milwaukee native who now lives in Brooklyn.

Still, he’s thrilled to have the opportunity.

“I didn’t even think about it,” Kuchler said. “As soon as they said ‘Circus Sarasota’ I said ‘I’ll be there.’ ”

Kuchler is one of the stars of this year’s “Summer Circus Spectacular,” which opens June 18 at the Historic Asolo Theater. (Preview performances begin Wednesday).

It’s actually a production of the Circus Arts Conservatory, of which Circus Sarasota is a part. But for Kuchler, a clown and comedian who has longed to be in the circus ever since he was 10, “Sarasota” was the magic word. He’s been a clown since he graduated from high school and spent for years with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, but he’s never been to Sarasota. For a circus performer, he said, it’s like a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and the Circus Arts Conservatory’s winter and summer shows are legendary.

“Summer Circus Spectacular” is of the two biggest shows of the year from the Circus Arts Conservatory.

Kuchler calls his act “skill-based comedy and clowning.” He doesn’t paint his face or wear a rubber nose or big shoes, but his act is rooted in the kind of classic comedy that has been a part of circuses for centuries.

“When people call me a clown,” he said, “that’s a high compliment for me.”

In the “Summer Circus Spectacular,” Kuchler’s clown character — which has been favorably compared to that of Charlie Chaplin — will appear sporadically throughout the show. He’ll typically appear at first befuddled and ill-at-ease about finding himself onstage, but then gradually become more confident and begin performing increasingly elaborate stunts.

He never speaks on stage. That helps build a special kind of relationship with the audience, he said, and also enables him to take his act all over the world. He often performs in in Europe, where clubs and theaters that feature variety shows are still popular.

Other acts in this year’s circus are legendary aerialist Dolly Jacobs, who founded Circus Sarasota with her husband, Pedro Reis; the Dancing Gauchos, who combine Argentinian-inspired dancing and percussion; Rony Gomez, a speed juggler, and the father-and-daughter acrobatic team Sergey & Sasha, who recently appeared on “America’s Got Talent.”

Details: June 15-July 30, Historic Asolo Theater, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota. 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. $15 adults, $12 children 12 and under. Preview performances (June 15-18) $10. 941-360-7399, ringling.org.

Marty Clear: 941-708-7919, @martinclear