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Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy

Cirque Productions, the first American company founded to combine American circus arts and European cirque-style performance artistry, bring their latest cirque spectacular, Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy, on tour from Broadway to Schenectady—complete with a ballet of butterflies and balancing giraffes.

A colorful cast of aerialists, contortionists, acrobats, jugglers and musicians weave the imagination of theater and circus together with the unpredictability, curiosity and beauty of nature in what the Los Angeles Times called “a whiz-bang family friendly spectacle.”

Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy opens at Proctors (432 State St., Schenectady) tomorrow (Friday, Jan 9) at 8 PM, and runs through the weekend for four shows only. Tickets range from $20 to $50. For more info, call the Proctors box office at 346-6204.

Bad Dates

Bad dates. We’ve all had them. Be it the time you reversed your borrowed car into a fire hydrant, or the guy who said he knew “the best little Italian restaurant” and then booked it to the Macaroni Grill. The infamous bad date can elicit horror, humiliation or hilarity—in retrospect, often an amalgamation of all three.

Playwright Theresa Rebeck has spun an entire script from the everyday drama of the dreaded bad date. The one-woman comedy made its New York City debut back in 2003, and now the folks at Shakespeare & Company are kicking off their first-ever winter season with the Berkshire premiere of Bad Dates.

Redbeck’s personal philosophy is infused in the script, which attempts to walk the balance between heartbreak and humanity. “I’m a believer that all of us are broken in some way,” says Redbeck. “There’s a hole in our heart that we pour our own destruction or our children or our stamp collection into.” But, she adds, “I’m someone who becomes extremely impatient if there’s not a good laugh right around the corner.”

And this time around, Shakespeare & Company’s 14-season veteran Elizabeth Aspenlieder brings the humor to Bad Dates. The Wall Street Journal declared Aspenlieder the “stage comedienne of the year” in 2007, and “one of the funniest actresses on the East Coast.”

Bring a date. At least at the end of the night you can say, “Well, it didn’t go as badly as all that!”

Bad Dates opens tomorrow (Friday, Jan. 9) at Shakespeare & Company’s new Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre (70 Kemble St., Lenox, Mass) at 7 PM and runs through March 8. Tickets range from $21.60-$28.80. For a complete performance schedule, call (413) 637-1199.

Amanda Shaw

Singer, songwriter, fiddler, actress . . . uh, did we mention that Amanda Shaw is only 17? Ever since she picked up the violin at age 3, Shaw has been racking up the superlatives: youngest ever soloist with the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra (at 7), Big Easy Award for Best Female Entertainer (at 14), top-10 record sales at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (three years running). Blending traditional Cajun tunes with contemporary country and a few Ramones covers in between, Shaw has shared the stage with acts as diverse as Charlie Daniels and Cyndi Lauper.

A true show-woman, Shaw has even ridden her teen stardom into two Disney TV movies and a lead role in the IMAX film Hurricane on the Bayou. Oh, and did we mention she plays a mean fiddle?

Amanda Shaw brings her band the Cute Boys to the Eighth Step at the GE Theatre at Proctors (432 State St., Schenectady) tomorrow (Friday, Jan. 9) at 7:30 PM. Tickets are $24. Call 346-6204 for more info.

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