Originally started as a loose affiliation of street troupes in Quebec, Cirque du Soleil has grown into an entertainment empire. Having found its niche by bending acrobatics, circus entertainment, and street performances—as well as stunningly orchestrated soundscapes—it has no real rival. It's certainly unlike any circus you attended as a child. Most Americans know Cirque from any one of its permanent shows in Las Vegas or Orlando. However, like any circus, these talented performers can and do travel; Cirque has several shows that do just that. Alegria is one of the most popular. When it was in Cincinnati a few weeks back, the road team made the audience feel like we were right there in the Nevada desert. Created shortly after the debut of Mystere in Las Vegas, Alegria continued its predecessor's dark tone. But it's also punctuated by some of the troupe's best clown work, so it never gets overly dour, and the acrobatics are simply astonishing. The soundtrack is Cirque's best-selling, and it's performed dynamically live, replete with a small marching band. The juxtaposition of acrobatics, humor, and music seem impossible to reconcile, but as usual, Cirque du Soleil make it seem effortless.
Wednesdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 3:30 p.m.; Sundays, 1 & 5 p.m. Starts: June 23. Continues through June 27, 2010