Lazer Vaudeville wows crowds with high-tech performance

BIG RAPIDS - Lazer Vaudeville combines high-tech laser magic with the traditional arts of vaudeville to create an original theatrical production. This exciting event will be held in Ferris State University's G. Mennen Williams Auditorium at 7 p.m. on Nov. 9.

This children's theater event is complete with superlative juggling, black light illusion, acrobatics, zany comedy and audience participation. Lazer Vaudeville offers clean, classy fun for the entire family. A cast of fantastical characters leads the audience on a journey through the imagination as a wizard creates magical illusions with laser beams, a neon cowboy kicks up a luminescent rope-spinning display and an audience member escapes from a straitjacket. The master of ceremonies is a 7-foot tall, fluorescent, fire-breathing dragon named Alfonzo.

Touring since 1987, Lazer Vaudeville fulfills Carter Brown's dream of bringing contemporary vaudeville to the American stage. Internationally acclaimed as a master of his craft, Brown demonstrates the endangered art of hoop rolling. In an astonishing visual display, up to 10 hoops roll around the juggler's body and circle the stage as if taking on a life of their own. Some are century-old antique wooden bicycle rims. Brown also collaborates with performers Cindy Marvell and Nicholas Flair to fly indoor kites, spin glowing staffs and juggle running chainsaws.

"The kind of juggling we do blows away everybody's concept of what juggling is about," Brown said.

Together the troupe creates pinwheel illusions and percussive sounds with South American bolas, bounces balls off airborne drums in a mesmerizing ensemble piece and defies the laws of probability by passing up to 10 clubs in an engaging display of buffoonery and expertise. Lazer Vaudeville has performed at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., and was featured in the P.B.S. specials Juggling Work and Family with Hedrick Smith and Center Stage at the Paramount Theatre in Austin, Texas. International tours have included theater festivals in England, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, Bermuda and Saudi Arabia.

Lazer Vaudeville is based in Colorado at the Boulder Circus Center, which offers juggling and aerial classes. Lazer Vaudeville's touring Arts-in-Education Outreach program is designed to bring live performances to students and teachers.

"We focus on the history of vaudeville in America," Brown says. "Most students can't imagine popular entertainment before the invention of TV and movies."

The first 15 minutes of the show are in black light, so attendees are asked to be seated before the show begins. Ticket prices are $5 for adults and $3 for children and senior citizens, and are available at the Williams Auditorium Box Office from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday or at

07 November, 2007