Shanghi comes to Riverside

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Jacob Armstrong -- Originally a cinema house, the Fox Performing Arts Center re-opened after 3 years of closure.

Friday, Jan. 20, the New Shanghai Circus was performed by the Chinese Acrobatic Circus Troupe at the Fox Performing Arts Center in downtown Riverside.

The troupe’s performance payed homage to their Chinese heritage with a wide array of acrobatics, a colorful display of costuming and music.

There were several program highlights throughout the evening.

Approximately six female acrobats passed and tossed volleyballs back and forth with their feet during one number.

Another male performer, dressed in red, balanced a rounded, cube-shaped object on his head, shoulders and fists. He also spun the object on one finger like a basketball player might with a basketball. Next he replaced the first object with a large piece of pottery and continued the complex routine.

Later female acrobats returned to the stage on tall unicycles. They proceeded to toss bowls back and forth and catch them with bowl “baskets” that were strapped on top of each of their heads.

Another number involved the male acrobats jumping through a hoop, which varied in height as they were constantly moving it. The costuming for the routine hinted at pop-culture influence.

Tickets for the New Shanghai Circus were as low as $24 directly through the theatre’s box office.

An added amenity was that nearby parking was free for theatre attendees.

Historically, the Fox Performing Arts Center was a cinema house—a part of the Fox Film Corporation empire established by William Fox. The theatre first opened in 1929.

According to foxriversidelive. com, the Fox Riverside Theater was where “Gone with the Wind” was first screened to the public. The theater also saw famous performers Bing Crosby and Judy Garland.

In May 2007, the theater was closed for renovation and restoration to become the modern performing arts center that it is today. The theater re-opened its doors in January 2010, only two years ago, as the Fox Performing Arts Center.

Sheryl Crow was the first performer to appear in the renovated theatre. The theatre has welcomed a diverse array of talent ever since.

The Fox Performing Arts Center has a number of shows coming up this month.

These include the following:

Friday, Feb. 3 (Tonight) – Performer Colbie Caillat. Caillat has released three albums: “All of You,” “Breakthrough” and “Cocoa.”

Friday, Feb. 10 – R&B performer Joe with special guest artist Chante. According to foxriversidelive.com, “With seven Grammy nominations, the 2009 iTunes “Best R&B Album” award and numerous other industry recognitions, Joe is currently one of America’s top R&B performers.”

Saturday, Feb. 11 – “The Pirates of Penzance,” a Gilbert and Sullivan comedy favorite. Company director Richard Sheldon will be playing a leading role in the talented cast. A live music orchestra and chorus will be headed by music director Alexander Ruggieri.

Friday and Saturday, Feb. 17-18 – “Ring of Fire,” a cast of performers odyssey through the music of Johnny Cash.

Friday, Feb. 24 – Natalie Cole. Cole returns to the Fox Performing Arts center for the second time. Cole has been awarded nine Grammy awards in her successful career and has openly shared about her past health issues with her kidneys.

Saturday, Feb. 25 – “One Night of Queen,” performed by Gary Mullen and The Works. A tribute including the best classics of the band Queen.

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