Past Productions

To view photos and videos of our past productions, click here.


Circus in Progress November 19, <a href=

2016 – Circus in Progress: An Evening of Daring New Work

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Get a sneak peek at some of Chicago’s most exciting new works of circus art! This latest installation of our performance series focuses on the development of new acts. Professionals from the Chicagoland circus community will be featured as well as advanced students from The Actors Gymnasium’s own classes. Two Performances Only!

Amanda Crockett – Director
Amalie Vega – Stage Manager and Sound Operator
Madie Doppelt – Assistant Stage Manager
Justine Brock – Lighting Designer and Operator
Sadie Tremblay – Sound Designer

Featuring: Brian P. Dailey (Juggling), Paul Bozek & Mattie Schaefer (Duo Trapeze), Molly Brennan (Clown), Charlie Faraday (Clown), Rachel Karabenick (Single Point Trapeze), Maggie Karlin (Chinese Pole), Logan Kerr & Molly Plunk (Duo Tightwire), Julie Marshall (Lyra), Eric Periman (Silks), Molly Plunk (Clown), Charlene Numrych (Teeterboard), Camille Swift (Static Trapeze), Tommy Tomlins (Club Passing), and the Actors Gymnasium’s very own Teen Ensemble (Juggling and Aerial acts) and Intermediate Aerial class (Lyra).


224-cursed-costume2016 – Cursed Costumes: A Spooky Circus: Fall Youth Circus

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Co-Writers/Co-Directors: Anna Basile and Abby Pajakowski
Circus Co-Choreographers: Sylvia Hernandez DiStasi and Tommy Tomlins
Dance Choreographer: Hillary Aarons
Lighting Designer: Justine Brock
Composer/Sound Designer: Patrick Budde
Costume Designer: Serena Sandoval
Props Designer: Clara Wendland
Stage Manager: Daniel Parsons
Stage Management Intern: Maddie Lee

Featuring: Nico A., Abbi B., Emma B., Liam B., Milo B., Audrey B., Emerson C., Griffin D., Molly F., Noah F., Penelope G., Ella G., Noam H., Jeremy K., Dugan K., Sage K., Mia K., Rebekah L., Maya M., Caroline P., Natalie R., Kathryn S., Grace S., Sadie S., Leonardo V.


Summer Circus Intensive Showcase 20162016 – Summer Circus Intensive Showcase Performance

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Directed by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi
Guest Taught by Dean Evans, Tommy Rapley, Kelley Abell, Flora Bare, Amanda Crockett, Isaac Schoepp, Patrick Tobin, Javen Ulambayar

Intensive I featuring: Maddy Aaronson, Abigail Baran, Liam Bradley, Nuala Brennan, Griffin DiStasi, Madie Doppelt, Annabelle Gross, Emma Isaacs, Lia Kelly, Alexandra Kramer, Becca Miller,
Talia Neuhaus, Alexis Periman, Eric Periman, Ella Roberts, Marc Sorensen

Intensive II featuring: Angelica Azzelini, Lindsey Essington, Josh Feinstein, Amy Forman, Phillip George, Meg Lee, Deanna Myers, Sissy Pomplin, Nina Roy, Ashley Sylvester, William Shaw, Toya Turner, Daniel Trinidad, Alison Tye, Alexander Willis


Ascend 2015/16 Professional Circus Training Program Showcase2016 – Ascend: the 2015/16 Professional Circus Training Showcase

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Featuring: Zoe Boyer (Single-Point Trapeze & Hand Balancing), Joey C Heyworth (Hand Balancing & Chinese Pole), Liz Loar (Lyra & Partner Acro), Arik Mendelevitz (Juggling & Tumbling), Symphony Sanders (Lyra & Partner Acro), Cassandra Schiano (Cloud Swing & Unicycle), Ashley Marie Sylvester (Aerial Sling & Hoop), Andrew Tardif (Tumbling & Partner Acro).


Another Castle: Spring Youth Circus temporary image2016 – Another Castle: Spring Youth Circus

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Written & Directed by Alejandro Tey and Sara Sawicki
Circus Choreography by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi
Dance Choreography by Kat Scott
Assistant Circus Choreography by Tommy Tomlins
Sound Design/Operation by Sammy Zeisel
Lighting Design by Justine Brock
Costume Design by Serena Sandoval
Props Design by Clara Wendland
Stage Managed by Gianna Petrosino

Featuring: Maddy A., Abbi B., Aiden B., Charlie B., Milo B., Emerson C., Griffin D., Eva D., Ella G., Annabelle G., Ingrid H., Noam H., Emma I., Lia K., Sage K., Mia K., Maya M., Esther O., Eric P., Halle P., Natalie R., Grace S., Sadie S., Maggie S.


winter circus_200x2672016 – Marnie & Phil: A Circus Love Letter

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Chris Mathews, Writer and Director
Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi, Circus Choreographer
Tommy Rapley, Dance Choreographer
Jerica Hucke, Costume Designer
Maggie Fullilove-Nugent, Lighting Designer
Kevin O’Donnell, Composer, Sound Designer
Grace Needlman, Props/Object Designer
Isaac Schoepp, Rigging
Gianna Petrosino, Stage Manager
Kelsey Lamm, Production Manager
Scott Dare, Assistant Director
Tommy Tomlins, Assistant Circus Choreographer

Featuring: David Catlin, Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi, Jeremy Sonkin, Samuel Taylor, Lindsey Noel Whiting, Javen Ulambayar, Maddy Aaronson, Nico Anon, Abbi Baran, Nuala Brennan, Annika DeMarte, Griffin DiStasi, Alexa Dolinko, Madie Doppelt, Molly French, Lia Kelly, Maddie Lee, Becca Miller, Talia Neuhaus, Allie Periman, Ella Roberts, Marc Sorensen, Julia White, Emerson Catlin, Jude Sims, Sadie Sims

“Recommended” “features beautiful musical numbers written by Kevin O’Donnell, and asks big questions about what it means to be an aging performer”Chicago Reader

“Recommended” “Phil’s trio of clowns is heartbreaking and is alone worth seeing.” “Javen Ulambayar, deserves a shoutout both for his marvelous acrobatic work.” ‘“Marnie & Phil” is fun, sweet, and thoughtful. Talk it up.’Newcity Stage

“cleverly woven” “ingenious” “charming”Third Coast Review

“an emotionally stirring and vibrant original show” ‘“Marnie and Phil” excels . . . soars’ “Lindsey Noel Whiting is a joy to watch” “It is truly a little gem in Evanston.”Evanston Roundtable

“a virtuoso display of the acting, circus and acrobatic skills” “The Actors Gymnasium has become so justifiably well known” “wowed by the grace and joy of the performances” “spectacular presence and aplomb by Jeremy Sonkin”Chicago Splash Magazine

“one of our favorite Actor’s Gym shows to date, and that’s saying something!” “plenty to please all ages.” “a pure delight.” “Once again, The Actors Gym raises the bar on circus arts training and shows in Chicago, and well beyond. Highly recommended!”ChiIL Mama


Secrets Lies & Super Spies Fall Youth Circus_200x2672015Secrets, Lies, and Super Spies: Fall Youth Circus
At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Written & Directed by Alejandro Tey and Sara Sawicki
Circus Choreography by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi
Dance Choreography by Topeka Ellis
Assistant Circus Choreography by Tommy Tomlins
Stage Managed by Gianna Petrosino
Lighting Design by Justine Brock
Sound Design by Sammy Zeisel
Costume Design by Serena Sandoval
Original Song Composed by Patrick Budde

Featuring: Maddy A., Nico A., Abbi B., Charlie B., Griffin D., Alexa D., Eva D., Molly F., Noah F., Annabelle G., Julia H., Emma I., Mia K., Becca M., Simone N., Esther O., Kyla P., Allie P., Halle P., Grace S., Sadie S., Marc S., Maya W., Annie W., Ananya V.


Fall Circus in Progress 2015_200x2672015Circus in Progress – An Evening of Daring New Work (Fall)

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Featuring: Helena Reynolds (Hula Hoop), Charlene Numrych (The Cube), The Actors Gymnasium Teen Ensemble (Juggling), Courtney Prokopas (Cord and Bulb), Silent Theatre Company (Vaudeville), Tommy Tomlins (Silks), Pamela Davidson and Alexander Rowe (Acro Dance Duet), Vanessa Valliere (Clown/Puppetry), Marc Sorensen (Cloudswing), Plucky Rosenthal (Musical Variety Act), Foster Dance Studios (Cocodaco Dance Project), Amanda Crockett (Hat Juggling/Manipulation), Silly Goobs (Clown Spectacle), and Leors in Love (Duo Straps).


Summer CIrcus Intensive Performance Showcase 200x2672015Summer Circus Intensive Showcase Performance

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Directed by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi
Guest Taught by Dean Evans, Tommy Rapley, Tommy Tomlins, Javen Ulambayar, Charlene Numrych

Intensive I featuring: Nuala Brennan, Annika DeMarte, Griffin DeMarte, Alexa Dolinko, Molly French, Talia Neuhaus, Alexis Periman, Eric Periman, Emily Prentice, Ella Roberts, Nadea Ross, Marc Sorensen, Maggie Stone

Intensive II featuring: Scott Dare, Maddie Doppelt, Lauran Drackett, Nathan Drackett, Joshua Feinstein, Meg Lee, Lindsey Martin, Sarah Razmann, Symphony Sanders, Ashley Sylvester, Rachel Talbert, Alison Tye, Maureen Wagner


Spring Circus in Progress 20152015Circus in Progress – An Evening of Daring New Work (Spring)

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Featuring: Eric Allen (Straps), Benjamin Barnes (Magic), Jennifer & Una Breen (Duo Silk Knot), Paul Bozek & Becka Colon (Duo Trapeze), Ariele Ebacher & Jan Damm (Bottle Act), Alex Knapp & Christopher Jett (Unicycle), Megan Mallouk (Cloud Swing), Michael Montenegro (Comedic Puppetry), Nicole Salerno (Dance), Alison Tye (Lyra), Lindsey Noel Whiting (Solo Trapeze), and The Actors Gymnasium Intermediate Aerial Class (Group Aerial).


The Great Superhero Exposition: Spring Youth Circus 2002015The Great Superhero Exposition: Spring Youth Circus
At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Directed by Alejandro Tey and Sara Sawicki
Written by Alejandro Tey
Circus Choreography by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi
Assistant Circus Choreography by Akemi Berry
Dance Choreography by Topeka Ellis
Lighting Design by Nicholas J. Carroll
Sound Design by Connor Murray
Costume Design by Emily Swanson
Props Design by Robin Miller
Stage Management by Kelsey Lamm
Assistant Stage Management by Lesley Fisher
Stage Management Intern: Madie Doppelt

Featuring: Maddy A., Abigail B., Charlie B., Griffin D., Molly F., Ella G., Annabelle G., Noam H., Julia H., Lia K., Mia K., Sean L., Simone N., Kayla M., Rebecca M., Esther O., Kyla P., Halle P., Caroline P., Riley S., Grace S., Marc S., Maggie S., Maya W.


Circuscope February 14 – March 22, 2015 Fridays at 7:30pm Saturdays 4:30 pm and 7:30 pm Sundays at 3:00 pm Buy Tickets Now image At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston Enthralled by the extraordinary shapes and sizes of life, the creators of the Actors Gymnasium Winter Circus will explore a fascinating world on the other side of the microscopic lens. Directed by spectacle-theatre veteran Vanessa Stalling and featuring acclaimed Chicago clown Dean Evans, Circuscope will transport audiences through surprising acrobatics, mime, live music and other-wordly design. Circuscope also features Meredith “Tommy” Tomlins, Molly Plunk, and Leah Leor. For information on Circuscope Magnified – a benefit supporting Creative Innovation on March 21, 2015, click here. Running time: approximately 90 minutes with no intermission There is no late seating for this show. Directed by Vanessa Stalling Written by Deans Evans and Vanessa Stalling Circus Choreography by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi Percussion Choreography by Rick Kubes Lyric/Choral Direction by Alex Balestrieri Lighting and Video Design by Nick Carroll Costume Design by Delia Ribenour Sound Design Connor Murray Performance Object Design by Elizabeth Briet Stage Management Kelsey Lamm2015Circuscope
At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Directed by Vanessa Stalling
Written by Deans Evans and Vanessa Stalling
Assistant Directed by Zach Weinberg
Circus Choreography by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi
Assistant Circus Choreography by Javen Ulambayar
Percussion Choreography by Rick Kubes
Live Music Composition by Ronnie Kuller
Vocal Direction/Lyrics by Alex Balestrieri
Lighting and Video Design by Nick Carroll
Video Design by Asher White
Costume Design by Delia Ribenour
Assistant Costume Design by Carissa Sexton
Sound Design by Connor Murray
Performance Object Design by Elizabeth Briet
Prop Design by Bec Willett
Master Carpentry by Dustin Pettegrew
Rigging Specialy by Isaac Schoepp
Stage Management by Kelsey Lamm
Assistant Stage Management by Lesley Fisher

Featuring: Dean Evans, Molly Plunk, Tommy Tomlins, Leah Leor, Nico Añón, Nuala Brennan, Annika DeMarte, Griffin DiStasi, Alexa Dolinko, Madie Doppelt, Tess Durham, Hannah Fishkin, Sophia Fishkin, Molly French, Maddie Lee, Mary Loftus, Talia Neuhaus, Allie Periman, Eric Periman, Ella Roberts, Marc Sorensen, Julia White,  Emerson Catlin, Jude Sims, Sadie Sims, and Asher White.

“3.5 out of 4 stars” “glorious…thrilling…breathtaking…all the parts of this show move together in harmony …living organisms are capable of astounding feats.”Chicago Tribune

“jaw-dropping acrobatics” “Recommended”Chicago Reader

“Recommended” “Remarkably engaging” “exceptionally skilled” “surprisingly simple, and yet brilliantly effective” “an infectious sort of fun”Newcity Stage

“A visually stunning world and a high energy show that should rekindle interest in circus as a vibrant genre of the performing arts.”Gapers Block

“Exuberant, talented, beautiful, imaginative incredible people…Circus Choreographer, Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi is at the top of her game. These performers dance on air!”Splash Magazines

“a unique brand of storytelling, both theatrical and physical, that cannot be passed over.”Evanston Now

“massively creative production…absurd and the awesome…hilarious” “Circuscope should definitely be on your families’ “must see” list”Evanston Roundtable


A Circus Night’s Dream: Fall Youth Circus November 8 & 9, 15 & 16, 2014 Saturdays at 4:30 pm and 7:30 pm Sundays at 3:00 pm At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston Buy Tickets Now image Written/Directed by Chris Mathews Circus Choreography by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi Dance Choreography by Topeka Ellis Assistant Directed by Alex Tey Assistant Circus Choreography by Akemi Berry A marriage, a circus, and Nature itself, All hang in thrall to love’s suspended health, While the King and Queen of forces unseen Do quarrel as mortals through a midnight dream. Director Chris Mathews and the outstanding young performers from The Actors Gymnasium add their own fantastic spins and twirls in an original, acrobatic adaptation of Shakespeare’s most imaginative comedy. Featuring: Maddy A., Nico A., Abbi B., Sofia B., Alice C., Griffin D., Alexa D., Eva D., Molly F., Noah F., Emma I., Lia K., Mia K., Sean L., Rebecca M., Simone N., Allie P., Eric P., Caroline P.. Ella R., Grace S., Brendan S., Maggie S., Claire T., Issy W., and Macey W.November 8 & 9, 15 & 16, 2014 Saturdays at 4:30 pm and 7:30 pm Sundays at 3:00 pm At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston Buy Tickets Now image Written/Directed by Chris Mathews Circus Choreography by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi Dance Choreography by Topeka Ellis Assistant Directed by Alex Tey Assistant Circus Choreography by Akemi Berry A marriage, a circus, and Nature itself, All hang in thrall to love’s suspended health, While the King and Queen of forces unseen Do quarrel as mortals through a midnight dream. Director Chris Mathews and the outstanding young performers from The Actors Gymnasium add their own fantastic spins and twirls in an original, acrobatic adaptation of Shakespeare’s most imaginative comedy. Featuring: Maddy A., Nico A., Abbi B., Sofia B., Alice C., Griffin D., Alexa D., Eva D., Molly F., Noah F., Emma I., Lia K., Mia K., Sean L., Rebecca M., Simone N., Allie P., Eric P., Caroline P.. Ella R., Grace S., Brendan S., Maggie S., Claire T., Issy W., and Macey W.2014A Circus Night’s Dream: Fall Youth Circus

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Written/Directed by Chris Mathews
Circus Choreography by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi
Dance Choreography by Topeka Ellis
Assistant Directed by Alejandro Tey
Assistant Circus Choreography by Akemi Berry

Featuring: Maddy A., Nico A., Abbi B., Sofia B., Alice C., Griffin D., Alexa D., Eva D., Molly F., Noah F., Emma I., Lia K., Mia K., Sean L., Rebecca M., Simone N., Allie P., Eric P., Caroline P.. Ella R., Grace S., Marc S., Maggie S., Claire T., Issy W., and Macey W.


Circus in Progress: An Evening of Daring New Work Saturday, October 11, 2014 at 4:30 and 7:30 pm Tickets are $15 Get a sneak peek at some of Chicago’s most exciting new works of circus art! This latest installation of our performance series focuses on the development of new acts. Professionals from the Chicagoland circus community will be featured as well as advanced students from The Actors Gymnasium’s own classes. Two Performances Only!2014Circus in Progress – An Evening of Daring New Work (Fall)

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Featuring: Camille Swift (Solo Trapeze), Britt Banaszynski, Johnson Brock, Amanda Exley Lower, & Christy Stallknecht of Striding Lion Performance Group (Dance Theatre), Molly Plunk & Maliya Gorman of The Ruffians (Tightwire), Akemi Berry (Silks), Benjamin Wardell & Michel Rodriguez of The Nexus Project (Dance), Leah Leor (Aerial Straps), Michael Montenegro of Theatre Zarko (Puppetry), Eric Robinson & Kae Henning of MSA Circus Arts (Adagio), Jill Heyser (Aerial Chandel), Marc Sorensen (Spanish Web), Buyana Bayarjargal & Enkhjin Ganzorig (Contortion), and The Actors Gymnasium Teen Ensemble (Multi-Skill Act).


summer-intensive-200-save-for-web2014Summer Circus Intensive Showcase Performance

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Directed by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi
Guest Taught by David Catlin, Dean Evans, Naomi Aeva Hummel, Willem McGowan, Melinda Myers, Javen Ulambayar, Oyunchimeg Yadamjav

Intensive I featuring: Nuala Brennan, Madison Doppelt, Tess Durham, Hannah Fishkin, Sophia Fishkin, Anna Hershinow, Kara Beth Karstedt, Maddie Lee, Alexis Periman, Ella Roberts, Brennan Robinson, Brendan Sorensen, Maggie Stone, Cole Vincent, Maya Wernikoff, Julia White

Intensive II featuring: Gabrielle Aiden, Ariel Begley, Jennifer Breen, Lucy Brennan, Justin Durham, Joshua Feinstein, Samantha Garcia, Jill Heyser, Kathleen Hoil, Kei Kuwahara, Jacqueline Maize, Dan Rathbone, Kati Schwaber, Alessandra Stevens, Alison Tye, Jeffrey Zhu


Spring 2014 Circus in Progress ONE DAY ONLY! Get a sneak peek at some of Chicago’s most exciting new works of circus art! This latest installation of our performance series focuses on the development of new acts. Professionals from the Chicagoland circus community will be featured as well as advanced students from The Actors Gymnasium’s own classes. Two Performances Only! May 31, 2014 Saturday 4:30 & 7:30 PM Tickets $15 – On Sale Now! For Tickets visit www.actorsgymnasium.org or call 847-328-27952014Circus in Progress – An Evening of Daring New Work (Spring)

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Featuring: Angela Loiacono of Aerial Dance Chicago (Solo Trapeze), The Actors Gymnasium Teen Ensemble (Group Acro), ETC Music School Ensemble (Choral Songs), Mr. Spring of MSA Circus Arts (Solo Hand-Balancing), Regina Meirmanov of MSA Circus Arts (Lyra), Brett Schneider (Magic), The Actors Gymnasium Intermediate Aerial Class (Group Silks), Mr. Spring & Titanic Tulga of MSA Circus Arts (Duo Acro), Jill Heyser (Silks), Kseniya Masterova (Rhythmic Gymnastics), Charlene Numrych & Jonathan Snyder (Duo Straps), Benjamin Wardell & Michel Rodriguez of The Nexus Project (Dance), Destiny Vinley of Aloft Circus Arts (Chinese Pole).


May 17, 18, 24, 25, 2014 Saturdays at 4:30 pm and 7:30 pm Sundays at 3:00 pm At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston Written/Directed by Chris Mathews Circus Choreography by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi Dance Choreography by Topeka Ellis Assistant Directed by Lindsey Noel Whiting Join the fearsome pirate Captain Blackheart as she sails her crew of brigands and scalawags through treacherous dark waters in pursuit of her most valuable treasure yet! Visit mysterious and remote isles, strange aquatic worlds! Hold your breath as Blackheart and her pirates battle fierce fellow pirates, giant sea creatures, and the fragility of their own sanity. Inhale the salty air, exhale sighs of awe as students of the Actors Gymnasium amaze you with aerial acrobatics and nautical know-how unparallel to any seafaring sea dogs on the North Shore. Featuring: Maddy A., Charlie B., Annika D., Griffin D., Alexa D., Jonah D., Madison D., Molly F., Noam H., Maddie L., Sean L., Tomasz M., Esther O., Kyla P., Alexis P., Eric P., Halle P., Ella Ro., Ella Ru., Grace S., Brendan S., Claire T., Maya W2014The Last Voyage of Pirate Blackheart: Spring Youth Circus

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Written/Directed by Chris Mathews
Circus Choreography by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi
Dance Choreography by Topeka Ellis
Assistant Directed by Lindsey Noel Whiting

Featuring: Maddy A., Charlie B., Annika D., Griffin D., Alexa D., Jonah D., Madison D., Molly F., Noam H., Maddie L., Sean L., Tomasz M., Esther O., Kyla P., Alexis P., Eric P., Halle P., Ella Ro., Ella Ru., Grace S., Brendan S., Claire T., Maya W.


The Magical Exploding Boy and the Invisible Circus2014The Magical Exploding Boy and the Invisible Circus

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Directed by Larry DiStasi
Written by Larry DiStasi, Lindsey Noel Whiting and Dean Evans
Percussion Choreography by Rick Kubes
Original Live Music by Greg Hirte
Choral Direction by Josephine Lee
Lighting Design by Charles Jolls
Costume Design by Elisabeth Wislar
Circus Choreography by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi

Featuring:Dean Evans, Will Howard, Simone Lazar, Javen Ulambayar, Lindsey Noel Whiting, Nuala Brennan, Madie Dopplet, Justin Durham, Tess Durham, Hannah Fishkin, Sophia Fishkin, Mary Loftus, Talia Neuhaus, Allie Periman, Stephanie ‘Sissy’ Pomplin, Brendan Sorensen, Alison Tye, Cole Vincent, Maya Wernikoff, Julia White, Emerson Catlin, Saylor Catlin, Griffin DiStasi, Jude Sims, Sadie Sims, Asher White.

“a very high-energy and captivating piece that will leave you oohing and ahhing.” “certainly a thrilling show well worth a trip to Evanston”Newcity Stage

“breathtaking and brilliantly crafted” “[Dean Evans] is an immense talent”Evanston Roundtable

“impressive pageantry” **Recommended** – Chicago Reader

“Hilarious, multifaceted and quirky just don’t do this show justice…fantastically fun…We dare you not to laugh.” “Simone and Lindsey bring strength, grace and girl power to the shows.”ChiIL Live Shows

“This is, without a doubt, one of the most charming, inventive, surprising-at-every-turn, captivating theatrical events you’re likely to see in Chicago for a long time.” “spellbinding performance that is incredibly uplifting.” “extraordinary theatrical experience” “Will Howard . . . muscled his way right into my heart.”Splash Magazines

“ebullient and thrilling show with something for every imagination” **Recommended** – Chicago Theatre Beat

“takes the audience on a whimsical, imaginative adventure” “a spellbinding and heart wrenching journey” “exquisite performances”Circus Now


Moby Dick image2014 – Moby Dick

Produced by Northwestern University in collaboration with Actors Gymnasium at the Ethel M. Barber Theater

Directed by David Catlin
Choreographed by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi


“One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye.” –The Little Prince Stuck, thirsty and alone. A pilot stranded in the Sahara Desert meets an enigmatic, charismatic young prince fallen from the sky who regales him with tales of life among the stars: tales with earthly importance. In this visually arresting, fully immersive theatrical interpretation of the beloved French novella, director David Catlin (creator of Lookingglass Alice) illustrates the story with fantastic characters and gravity-defying, awe-inspiring physical feats. The Little Prince speaks – in breathtaking splendor –to the castaway in all of us: challenging our perspective, opening our eyes and bringing us back to the heart of what truly matters.2013 – The Little Prince

Produced by The Lookingglass Theatre Company in association with The Actors Gymnasium at at The Lookingglass Theatre Water Tower Water Works in Chicago

Directed by David Catlin
Choreographed by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi

“full of very creative staging and the kind of circus-infused visuals for which Lookingglass is known.”Chicago Tribune
“Highly Recommended”The Chicago Sun-Times
“a joy for audiences of all ages”Newcity Stage


A'Musing Myths: Fall Youth Circus2013 – A’Musing Myths: Fall Youth Circus

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Written/Directed by Chris Mathews
Circus Choreography by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi
Dance Choreography by Topeka Ellis
Assistant Directed by David Corlew

Featuring: Maddy A., Nicolás A., Charlie B., Alice C., Annika D., Griffin D., Tess D., Justin D., Hannah F., Sophia F., Noah F., Molly F., Emma I., Lia K., Sean L., Rebecca M., Isabel M., Kyla P., Alexis P., Eric P., Halle P., Ella R., Grace S., Yonit S., Brendan S., Maggie S., Alison T., Isabelle W.


2013 Fall Circus in Progress2013Circus in Progress – An Evening of Daring New Work (Fall)

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Featuring: Will Howard and Pam Davidson (Adagio), Meredith “Tommy” Tomlins (Juggling), Simone Lazar (Aerial Hoop), Isaac Schoepp (Diabolo), The Actors Gymnasium Teen Ensemble (Multi-Skill Act), Javen Ulambayar (Aerial Straps), Jill Heyser (Trapeze), Maddie Doppelt and Brendan Sorenson (Duo Aerial Silks), Brad French (Comedy Juggling), Thomas Kelly (Clowning), Joel Herzfeld (Hand Balancing), Karen Fisher Doyle and Angela Loiacono of Aerial Dance Chicago (Duo Trapeze), Anna Hartje (Solo Dance), Justin Durham (Trapeze).


Summer Circus Intensive Showcase Performance July 27, 20132013 – Summer Circus Intensive Showcase Performance

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Directed by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi
Guest Taught by David Catlin, Dean Evans, Willem McGowan, Joey Stone, Javen Ulambayar, Oyunchimeg Yadamjav

Featuring: Amelia Bell. Kara Davidson, Justin Durham, Symphony Sanders, Hannah Schwimmer, Gabby Aiden, Josh Feinstein, Andi Wywiorski, Jack Eidson, Maddie Doppelt, Brendan Sorensen, Lucy Brennan, Sophia Fishkin, David Corlew, Melissa Carlson, Alison Tye, Cole Vincent, Megan Mallouk, Julia White, Elizabeth Bagby


2013 Spring Youth Circus: A Misguided Fairy Tale2013 – The Spring Youth Circus: A Misguided Fairy Tale 

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Written and Co-Directed by Kara Karstedt
Choreographed and Co-Directed by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi
Co-Directed by Cole Simon

Featuring: Maddy Aaronson, Nico Anon, Nuala Brennan, Griffin DiStasi, Madison Doppelt, Tess Durham, Juliet Gunther, Lia Kelly, Maddie Lee, Anika Lindsey, Nellie McKernan, Becca Miller, Isabel Miller, Simone Nagan, Allie Periman, Eric Periman, Lizabeth Raffel, Ella Roberts, Ella Rubenstein, Talia Schacht, Brendan Sorensen, Maggie Stone, Claire Turvill, Maya Wernikoff, Annie Woodward


2013 Spring Circus in Progress: An Evening of Daring New Work2013 – Circus in Progress: An Evening of Daring New Work (Spring)

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Featuring: The Actors Gymnasium Teen Ensemble (Silks and Straps), Vox 3 Collective (Parisian Pierrot), Willem McGowan (Diabolo), The Actors Gymnasium Intermediate Aerial Class (Rope and Harness with Silks), Anna Hartje (Contortion), Andi Wywiorski (Lyra), Jill Heyser (Stilts), Sarah Milosch of Aerial Dance Chicago (Sling), Bobby Hunt “Circus Boy” (Juggling), Rackim Ramsey (Aerial Hoop), Dean Evans of Chicago Physical Theater (Clowning), and Kevin Brown and Jason Hanggi of Be the Groove (Percussion).


“a fascinating theatrical experiment…highly entertaining…Skooled crackles with energy” **Recommended** – The Chicago Reader “stuffed with enough laughs to leave everyone smiling” – Evanston Roundtable “With a talented cast of Chi-town’s best and brightest circus pros and protégées, Skooled shines” “We were wowed and amazed. Highly recommended…Actors Gym excels in couching excellent examples of circus arts within compelling plot lines.” – ChiIL Live Shows “They are Chicago’s superheroes – ordinary folks by day who at night transform into magical creatures, dancing through the sky and twisting and turning while suspended 15 feet over the ground.” – Chicago Sun Times

2013 – Skooled: A Study in Circus

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Directed by Larry Distasi
Written by Larry DiStasi, Dean Evans and Lindsey Noel Whiting
Circus Choreography by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi

Featuring:  Dean Evans, Will Howard, Isaac Schoepp, Jay Torrence, Lindsey Noel Whiting, Gabrielle Aiden, Lucy Brennan, Sarah Buonaiuto, Justin Durham, Sophia Fishkin, Hannah Fishkin, Rachel Karn, Mary Loftus, Talia Neuhaus, Sissy Pomplin, Brendan Sorenson, Alison Tye, Cole Vincent, Julia White, Emerson Catlin, Saylor Catlin, Griffin DiStasi, Jude Sims, Sadie Sims, and Asher White.

“a fascinating theatrical experiment…highly entertaining…Skooled crackles with energy” **Recommended** – The Chicago Reader

“stuffed with enough laughs to leave everyone smiling”Evanston Roundtable

“With a talented cast of Chi-town’s best and brightest circus pros and protégées, Skooled shines” “We were wowed and amazed. Highly recommended…Actors Gym excels in couching excellent examples of circus arts within compelling plot lines.”ChiIL Live Shows

“They are Chicago’s superheroes – ordinary folks by day who at night transform into magical creatures, dancing through the sky and twisting and turning while suspended 15 feet over the ground.”Chicago Sun Times


2012 Fall Youth Circus: Troupe2012 – The Fall Youth Circus: Troupe

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Written and Directed by Cole Simon
Circus Choreography by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi
Dance Choreography by Kara Karstedt

Featuring: Maddy Aaronson, Griffin DiStasi, Justin Durham, Tess Durham, Elizabeth Figlio, Hannah Fishkin, Sophia Fishkin, Fae Kobernick-Pollack, Maddie Lee, Becca Miller, Isabel Miller, Allie Periman, Liz Raffel, Ella Roberts, Yonit Slater, Brendan Sorensen, Maggie Stone, Carter Swales, Claire Turvill, Isabel Weber, Maya Wernikoff, Asher White, Julia White, Andi Wywiorski


2012 Fall Circus in Progress: An Evening of Daring New Work2012 – Circus in Progress: An Evening of Daring New Work (Fall) 

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Featuring:  Tiffany Topol and Claire Wellin of Glad Fanny / Youth in a Roman Field (Acoustic Indie Folk), The Actors Gymnasium Teen Ensemble (Multi-Skill Act), Chloe Jensen of Aerial Dance Chicago (Rope and Harness), Kevin Douglas (Stand up), Cole Vincent (Trapeze and Chair), The Actors Gym Intermediate Aerial Class (Group Partner Trapeze), Willem McGowan (Diabolo), Elena Brocade of Aloft Circus Arts (Solo Trapeze), Dharmesh Bhagat of Aerial Storm (Glow Juggling), Elisabeth “Dizzy Lizzy” Gifford of Aloft Circus Arts (Hoops), and Javen Ulambayar (Straps).


2012 Summer Circus Intensive Showcase Performance2012 – Summer Circus Intensive Showcase Performance

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Directed by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi
Guest Taught by Joey Stone, Thom Cox, Wolfgang Bientzle and Samuel Simon

Featuring: Kelsey Siegel, Alison Tye, Justin Durham, Emily Fishkin, Symphony Sanders, Cole Vincent, Whitney Williams, Tommy Tomlins, Jackie Jarvis, Hannah Schwimmer, David Corlew, Meaghan Falvey, Hannah Fishkin, Elsa Gay, Josh Feinstein, Andrea Wywiorski, Gabby Aiden, Ashley Austin, Sophia Fishkin


Circus in Progress Spring 20122012 – Circus in Progress: An Evening of Daring New Work (Spring)

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Featuring: Meredith “Tommy” Tomlins (Sling), Shaw Nigro (Clown), the Evanston Children’s Choir, Cole Vincent and Mary Loftus (Duo Silks), Evanston Dance Ensemble, Leah Orleans (Comedy Trapeze), The Actors Gymnasium Contortion Class, The Actors Gymnasium Intermediate Aerial Class (Group Silks), Jill Heyser (Trapeze), Matt Roben and Lloyd Young III of The Amazing Gamberoni Brothers, The Actors Gymnasium Teen Ensemble (Juggling), Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi and Lauren Hirte (Duo Lyra).


Little Prince Globe2012 – The Little Prince

Produced by Northwestern Universtiy In Association with The Actors Gymnasium At The Josephine Louis Theatre

Directed by David Catlin
Choreographed by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi

“Each time a scene changes or a new character walks on stage, a viewer is likely to gasp simply because this new piece of the show is more amazing than the last….In short, “The Little Prince” is simply magical”  –  The Daily Northwestern


Lost and Found Remount Back by popular demand at The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston Created and Directed by Larry DiStasi Circus Choreography by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi Featuring: Zoe Boyer, David Catlin, Will Howard, Chris Mathews, Will McGowan, Meredith “Tommy” Tomlins, Lindsey Noel Whiting, Justin Durham, Emily Fishkin, Hannah Fishkin, Sophia Fishkin, Eleanor Goerss, Jackie Jarvis, Mary Loftus, Sissy Pomplin, Alison Tye, Cole Vincent, Andrea Wywiorski, Emerson Catlin, Saylor Catlin, Griffin DiStasi, Jude Sims, Sadie Sims, Asher White, and Julia White. “an energetic, entertaining, totally satisfying gallimaufry” - Chicago Reader “The caliber of their circus arts is truly top notch. This colorful extravaganza combines all of our favorite elements…We were quite impressed with the cast…” - ChiIL Live Shows “…thrilled by the performances of the cast. The show features a tender and sweet storyline throughout with many moments of hilarity and humor. Lots of ideas are at work here, from an innovative reference to our tech-obsessed culture to an old fashioned boy gets girl tale.”- Green Parent Chicago2012 – Lost & Found: A Recycled Circus

Back by popular demand at The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Created and Directed by Larry DiStasi
Circus Choreography by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi

Featuring:  Zoe Boyer, David Catlin, Will Howard, Chris Mathews, Will McGowan, Meredith “Tommy” Tomlins, Lindsey Noel Whiting, Justin Durham, Emily Fishkin, Hannah Fishkin, Sophia Fishkin, Eleanor Goerss, Jackie Jarvis, Mary Loftus, Sissy Pomplin, Alison Tye, Cole Vincent, Andrea Wywiorski, Emerson Catlin, Saylor Catlin, Griffin DiStasi, Jude Sims, Sadie Sims, Asher White, and Julia White.

“an energetic, entertaining, totally satisfying gallimaufry” – Chicago Reader

“The caliber of their circus arts is truly top notch. This colorful extravaganza combines all of our favorite elements…We were quite impressed with the cast…” – ChiIL Live Shows

“…thrilled by the performances of the cast. The show features a tender and sweet storyline throughout with many moments of hilarity and humor. Lots of ideas are at work here, from an innovative reference to our tech-obsessed culture to an old fashioned boy gets girl tale.”– Green Parent Chicago


2011 The Hearttree2011 – The Hearttree

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Written and Directed by Josh Lesser
Circus Choreography by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi
Dance Choreography by Nicole Pellegrino

Featuring: Gabby Aiden, Lucy Brennan, Griffin DiStasi, Justin Durham, Tess Durham, Elizabeth Figlio, Hannah Fishkin, Sophia Fishkin, Eleanor Goerss, Morgan Hoover, Fae Kobernik, Maddie Lee, Mary Oregon, Allie Periman, Ella Rubenstein, Kelsey Siegel, Yonit Slater, Brendan Sorenson, Maggie Stone, Allison Tye, Cole Vincent, Maya Wernikoff, Asher White, Julia White, Andrea Wywiorski


2011 Fall Circus in Progress: An Evening of Daring New Work2011 – Circus in Progress: An Evening of Daring New Work (Fall)

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Featuring: Drew Dir, Sarah Fornace, Ben Kauffman, Julia Miller and Kyle Vegter of Manual Cinema (Shadow Puppetry), The Actors Gymnasium Teen Ensemble (Circus Sampler), Brett Schneider (Magic), Tommy Tomlins (Trapeze), Meghan Strell and John Musial of Lookingglass Theatre Company (Clown), Will McGowan and Maria Clement of CircEsteem (Juggling), The Advanced Adult Circus Class of The Actors Gymnasium (Group Aerial), Danny Orleans of Danny Orleans Magic (Magic), Jill Heyser (Silks), Will Howard and Katie Kasper of Aloft Circus Arts (Duo Adagio), and Dean Evans of Chicago Physical Theatre (The Magical Exploding Boy).


The Actors Gymnasium Summer Circus Intensive is an innovative six-week intensive workshop for adults, dedicated to the development of high-level physical performance and circus skills. The workshop culminates in this exciting, collaborative final recital known as the Summer Circus Intensive Showcase.2011 – Summer Circus Intensive Showcase Performance

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Directed by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi
Guest Taught by Joey Stone, Thom Cox, Andrew Adams and Ariel Tal

Featuring: Kate Hartgering, Meredith Taylor, Mary Loftus, Cole Vincent, Justin Durham, Andrea Wywiorski, Eva Hellman, Meaghan Falvey, Meredith “Tommy” Tomlins, Gabby Aiden, Lucy Brennan, and Alison Tye.


2011 Spring Circus in Progress: An Evening of Daring New Work2011 – Circus in Progress: An Evening of Daring New Work (Spring)

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Featuring: Carolina Gwinn (Lyra), the Evanston Children’s Choir (American Folk Song), The Actors Gymnasium Contortion Class, Jill Heyser (Silks), Katie Kasper (Silks), Isaac Schoepp (Diabolo), The Actors Gymnasium Teen Ensemble (Unicycle), The Actors Gymnasium Intermediate Aerial Class (Group Lyra), Claire Wedemeyer (Clown), Will McGowan and Maria Clement (Duo Juggling), Meredith “Tommy” Tomlins (Silks), Dean Evans of Chicago Physical Theatre (The Magical Exploding Boy), Jarrett Dapier and Dan Tafelski of Battle Pants (Found Object Percussion), Erika Gilfether and Andrew Adams of Duo Adamo (Duo Straps).


2011 Lost & Found: A Recycled Circus2011 – Lost & Found: A Recycled Circus

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Created and Directed by Larry DiStasi
Choreographed by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi

Featuring: Andrew Adams, Zoe Boyer, Will Howard, Matt Roben, Meredith “Tommy” Tomlins, Lindsey Noel Whiting, Lucy Brennan, Sarah Buonaiuto, Justin Durham, Lander Ellis, Emily Fishkin, Eleanor Goerss, Jackie Jarvis, Rachel Karn, Ben Morton, Leah Rose Orleans, Sissy Pomplin, Hannah Schwimmer, Alison Tye, Cole Vincent, Griffin DiStasi, Jude Sims, Sadie Sims, Asher White, and Julia White.

“This production will charm, warm and wow you…sly and nuanced clowning…wordless, impressive poetry” – Chicago Theatre Blog

“Director Lawrence DiStasi showcases a wry sense of humor and some superb acrobatics in this quirky Actors Gymnasium show… Recommended” – Chicago Reader


2010 Youth Circus Something Wicked This Way Comes: A Halloween Circus Spectacular2010 – Something Wicked This Way Comes

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Adapted and Directed by Josh Lesser
Choreographed by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi

Featuring: Gabby Aiden, Lucy Brennan, Justin Durham, Tess Durham, Hannah Fishkin, Sophia Fishkin, Eleanor Goerss, Juliet Gunther, Rachel Karn, Mary Loftus, Ben Morton, Mira Ortega, Ella Rubenstein, Andrew Santiago, Kelsey Seigel, Brendan Sorenson, Alison Tye, Asher White, Julie White, Andrea Wywiorski


2010 Fall Circus in Progress: An Evening of Daring New Work2010 – Circus in Progress: An Evening of Daring New Work (Fall)

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Featuring: Amy Dominguez (Rope/Web), Leah Orleans (Clown/Magic), Meredith Tomlins (Sling), Douglas Grew of Chicago Circus Theatre Troupe (Juggling), Hannah Jarvis and Jackie Jarvis (Duo Lyra), Danny Orleans of Danny Orleans Magic (Magic), Jill Heyser (Double Hammock), Paul Lopez (Clown), Zoe Boyer (Single Point Trapeze), Jeff Jenkins of The Midnight Circus (Dog Act), The Actors Gymnasium Teen Ensemble (Group Silks), Gabe Bitto, Jason Hanggi, Nicole Pellegrino, and Stephanie Paul of Be The Groove (Marbles: A Percussion Piece).


2010 Summer Intensive2010 – Summer Circus Intensive Showcase Performance

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Directed by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi
Guest Taught by Paul Lopez and Tommy Rapley

Featuring: Meaghan Falvey, Shelley Geiszler, Elaine Harris, Emily Fishkin, Meredith “Tommy” Tomlins, Lucy Brennan, Jackie Jarvis, Gabby Aiden, Alison Tye, Sarah Fornace, Topeka Ellis, Zoe Boyer, Meredith Taylor, Kate Hartgering, and Akemi Berry.


Lookingglass Alice 20102010 – Lookingglass Alice

Second National Tour Travels to:
Actors Theatre of Louisville, Louisville, KY
Syracuse Stage, Syracuse, NY
Alliance Theatre, Atlanta, GA
Returning to The Lookingglass Theatre, Chicago, IL

Produced by The Lookingglass Theatre Company in association with The Actors Gymnasium

Written and Directed by David Catlin
Adapted from the stories of Lewis Carroll

Featuring: Lauren Hirte, Thomas J Cox, Doug Hara, Anthony Fleming III, Kevin Douglas, Lindsey Noel Whiting, Samuel Taylor, Adeoye Mabogunje, Molly Brennan and Isaac Schoepp.

“Extraordinary” – Variety

“Groundbreaking Chicago Theater” National Public Radio

“Endlessly witty, rashly whimsical and awash in nerve-jangling daring… Miss at your own peril.” – Chicago Sun-Times

“A free-wheeling, circus-loving, theatrical riff on Lewis Carroll’s classic yarns that a parent cannot help but love.” Chicago Tribune

“An opulent, high-flying family cabaret in which the acrobatics are served in equal portions with color and wit.” – Time Out Chicago


2010 Spring Circus in Progress: Renovation Benefit Performance2010 – Circus in Progress: A Renovation Benefit Performance  

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Featuring: Alison Tye and Leah Orleans (Partner Trapeze), Will Howard and Kacin Menendez (Android Adagio), Emmy Walker of Ameba Acrobatic and Aerial Dance (Silks), Buya Bayargargal and Naraa Oyuntcetceg of Mongolian Children’s Performing Arts (Contortion), Wesley Daniel, Erik Strebig and Joseph Galizia of Roosevelt University’s CCPA (Partner Acro and Clown), Carolina Gwinn (Web), Sean Masterson of Masterson Magic (Illusion), John Stokvis and Sam Brown of MidnightCircus (Clowning), Jill Heyser (Single Point Trapeze), Dean Evans of Chicago Physical Theater (Clown), and Brian Hampton and Charlene Numrych of Aerial Storm (Cradle).


2010 Science Fiction: An Experiment in Circus2010 – Science Fiction: An Experiment in Circus

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Directed by Larry DiStasi
Dance Choreography by Nicole Pellegrino
Drum Choreography by Jarrett Dapier
Circus Choreography by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi
Original Music Composed by Greg Hirte

Featuring: Jill Heyser, Will Howard, Nicole Pellegrino, Matt Roben, Kacin Menendez, Gabrielle Aiden, Lucy Brennan, Sarah Buonaiuto, Lander Ellis, Meaghan Falvey, Emily Fishkin, Eleanor Goerss, Jackie Jarvis, Rachel Karn, Leah Rose Orleans, Alison Tye, Griffin DiStasi, Jude Sims, Sadie Sims, Asher White and Julia White.

“A funny and kinetic show the whole family can enjoy.” – Evanston Roundtable


2009 Icarus2009 – Icarus

Produced by The Lookingglass Theatre Company in association with The Actors Gymnasium at The Lookingglass Theatre Water Tower Water Works in Chicago

Adapted and Directed by David Catlin
Choreographed by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi

Featuring: Larry DiStasi, Lauren Hirte, Anthony Fleming III, Adeoye Mabogunje, Nicole Shalhoub, and Lindsey Noel Whiting

“(a) sad, wise, deeply moving interpretation” – Zac Thompson, Chicago Reader 
 
“nothing short of stunning” – Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune

2009 Nightmare: A Teen Halloween Circus Spectacular2009 – Nightmare

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Adapted and Directed by Josh Lesser
Choreographed by Sylvia Hernandez-Distasi and the Teen Ensemble

Featuring: Gabby Aiden, Lucy Brennan, Molly Crane, Lander Ellis, Meaghan Falvey, Emily Fishkin, Sophie Galich, Eleanor Goerss, Eva Helman, Jackie Jarvis, Rachel Karn, Leah Orleans, Hannah Schwimmer, Alison Tye


2009 Fall Circus In Progress: An Evening of Daring New Work2009 – Circus in Progress: An Evening of Daring New Work

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Featuring: Larry DiStasi, Andy White, Julia White, Asher White, Griffin DiStasi, Sean Masterson, Nourbol & Regina Meirmanov, Sarah Goeden, The Actors Gymnasium Teen Ensemble, Dharmesh Bhaghat, Nathan Drackett, Paul Lopez, Brett Schneider, Liza Hunter, Doug Grew, Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi, Lijana Wallenda Hernandez, Mongolian Children’s Performing Art Troupe, Nathan Drackett and Lindsey Noel Whiting.


 2009 Summer Circus Intensive Workshop2009 – Summer Circus Intensive Showcase Performance

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Directed by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi
Guest Taught by  Tommy Rapley and Paul Lopez

Featuring: Britta Rowings, Josh Ropiequet, Jenah Garrett, Hannah Jarvis, Meredith “Tommy” Tomlins, Kristin Doll, Hannah Schwimmer, Akemi Berry, Natalie Cook, Jackie Jarvis, Meredith Taylor, Kate Hartgering, Lindsey Dorcus, Nathan Drackett, Meaghan Falvey, Topeka Ellis, Simone Lazar, Leah Orleans


"Who doesn’t love a circus – especially one this charming? Perfect for families, with plenty of wit for grown-ups.” – The Chicago Reader This family-friendly circus production follows one man’s fantastic and surreal dream journey. Flights through the air, superhuman feats, hilarious physical comedy and live music make this show a delight for young and old. The Actors Gymnasium’s Elite Teen Circus Ensemble, Lauren Hirte of Lookingglass Alice fame, and some of Chicago’s finest circus talent are featured in this production.2009 – Dream: A Circus in One Act

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Directed by Larry DiStasi
Dance Choreography by Nicole Pellegrino
Choreography Consulting by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi

Featuring: Sarah Blue, Griffin DiStasi, Lauren Hirte, Will Howard, Paul Lopez, Asher White, Julia White, Lindsey Noel Whiting, Akemi Berry, Natalie Cook, Meaghan Falvey, Emily Fishkin, Carolina Gwinn, Kate Hartgering, Eva Hellman, Hannah Jarvis, Jackie Jarvis, Hannah Schwimmer, Meredith Taylor, and Meredith Tomlins.

“Who doesn’t love a circus – especially one this charming? Perfect for families, with plenty of wit for grown-ups.” – The Chicago Reader


2008 Fly Gym Renovation Benefit Performance2008 – Fly: Renovation Benefit Performance

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Featuring: The Actors Gymnasium Teen Ensemble, Sean Masterson, Dizzy Lizzy Delicious, Sarah Scanlon, Oyuna Yadamjav’s Contortion Troupe, Paul Lopez, Michael Montenegro, Nathan Drackett, Justin Durham, Dharmesh Bhaghat, Will Howard, Sarah Blum, Jill Heyser, Chuck Bontrager, Adam Kuchler, Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi, and Lijana Wallenda Hernandez.


Summer Circus Intensive2008 – Summer Circus Intensive Showcase Performance

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Directed by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi
Guest Taught by Tommy Rapley, Lauren Vitz, and O.Yadamjav

Featuring: Ross Travis, Genevieve Lally-Knuth, Topeka Ellis, Lander Ellis, Zoe Boyer, Natalie Cook, Marian Lois Firke, Kate Hartgering, Katie Kasper, Jacqeullyn Guerrero, Kate McGroarty, Meredith Tomlins, Meaghan Falvey, Meredith Taylor, Molly Crane, Simone Lazar, Akemi Berry


2008 Neverwhere: A Circus Underground2008 – Neverwhere: A Circus Underground

Presented by The Actors Gymnasium Advanced Student Series at The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Adapted and Directed by Nathan Drackett
Based on the novel Neverwhere, copyright 1996 by Neil Gaiman

Featuring: Kate Ducey, Meaghan Falvey, Jim Hayner, Jill Heyser, Jared Kling, Genevieve Lally-Knuth, Kate McGroarty, Kacin Menendez, Mandi Michalski, Jack Schlesinger, Larry Underwood, Paul Werstler, Nathan Drackett, and Kyle A. Gibson


2007 The Truest Tale of Robin Hood: An Adventure in Circus2007 – The Truest Tale of Robin Hood: An Adventure in Circus

Presented by The Actors Gymnasium Advanced Student Series at The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Written and Directed by Nicole Pellegrino

Featuring: Akemi Berry, Lucy Carapetyan, Jeremy Clark, Nathan Drackett, Topeka Ellis, Kyle A. Gibson, Don Gonzalez, Kate Hartgering, Aaron S. Hellman, Hannah Jarvis, Sarra Kaufman, Zach Laliberte, Tavares Love, Aislinn Mulligan, Meredith Taylor, Zachary Uidl, Kevin Wasielewski, and Jeremy Wimmer

“Actors Gymnasium show a hit with the whole family” – Daily Herald


2009 Vaudeville Magic Show2007 – Vaudeville Magic Show & Workshop

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

This Show Returns The Actors Gym Each Fall Until 2012

Featuring Magician Sean Masterson

“Prestidigitation for the Harry Potter generation, with a minimum of flash and a maximum of understated showmanship”  –  The Chicago Tribune


Summer Circus Intensive2007 – Summer Circus Intensive Showcase Performance

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Directed by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi
Guest Taught by Adrian Danzig, Tommy Rapley, Lauren Vitz, and Oyunchimeg Yadamjav


2007 A Clown Without a Circus2007 – A Clown Without a Circus

Presented by The Actors Gymnasium Advanced Student Series at The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Created by Ottavio Canestrelli and Felicity HunzekerHesed

Featuring Ottavio Canestrelli

“Life outside the circus can be tough…especially when one is the scion of eight generations of circus tradition. Ottavio Canestrelli mixes amazing physical feats with unbelievable stories from his life on the road in his world premier one-man show.”Centerstage


2007 The Tempest: A Magical Circus2007 – The Tempest: A Magical Circus

Presented by Tangerine Arts Group and? The Actors Gymnasium Advanced Student Series at The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Directed by Felicity HunzekerHesed
Choreographed by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi

Featuring: Elizabeth Bagby, Akemi Berry, Chris Berzac, Kiki Bowman, Ottavio Cannestrelli, Lucy Carapetyan, Ben Dicke, Devon Fanning, Sara Gmitter, Kate Hartgering, Rose Heltzer, Jill Heyser, Lauren Hirte, Hannah Jarvis, Andrew HunzekerHesed, Simone Lazar, DB Schroeder, Meredith Taylor, and Mindy Wetzel

“The Actors Gym Enchants with The Tempest: A Magical Circus” – Evanston Roundtable


2007 Lookingglass Alice2007 – Lookingglass Alice

East Coast Tour Travels to:
The McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ
The New Victory Theatre in New York, NY
The Arden Theatre in Philadelphia, PA
Returning to The Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago, IL

Produced by The Lookingglass Theatre Company in association with The Actors Gymnasium

Adapted and Directed by David Catlin
Choreographed by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi

Featuring Larry DiStasi, Anthony Fleming III, Doug Hara, Tony Hernandez, Lauren Hirte, and Jesse Perez

“Extraordinary” – Variety


Summer Circus Intensive2006 – Summer Circus Intensive Showcase Performance

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Directed by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi
Guest Taught by David Catlin, Tommy Rapely, and Nourbol Meirmanov


2006 Circus Crashers2006 – Circus Crashers

Presented by Wise Woman Fools in association with The Actors Gynmasium

Created by Alice-Gray Lewis and Noel Williams
Directed by Andy Park
Choreographed by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi

Featuring: Alice-Gray Lewis, Noel Williams, Akemi Berry, Natalie Cook, Topeka Ellis, Meaghan Falvey, Sylvia Friedman, Carolina Gwynn, Kate Hartgering, Eva Hellman, Hannah Jarvis, Simone Lazar, Meredith Taylor, and Meredith Tomlins

Highly Recommended in the Chicago Reader “heart-stopping” – The Chicago Reader


2005 The Tangerine Family Circus2005 – The Tangerine Family Circus

Presented by Tangerine Arts Group and The Actors Gymnasium Advanced Student Series at The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Written and Directed by Kim Crutcher
Choreographed by Jill Heyser

Featuring: Andrew HunzekerHesed, Felicity HunzekerHesed, Chris Berzac, Kevin Byrne, Amy Dominguez, Nathan Drackett, Nich Galzin, Rose Heltzer, Jill Heyser, Sarah Markwood, Mandi Michalski, Alden Moore, Nicole Pellegrino, Brandon Russell, Alessandra Stevens, and Meredith Taylor

“dazzling skills and exuberant sparkle of the company” – Chicago Reader


2005 Carnival!2005 – Carnival!

Produced by Light Opera Works in association with The Actors Gymnasium at Cahn Auditorium in Evanston

Directed by Michael Ehrman

“charming, lavishly produced revival” – Chicago Sun-Times


2005 Lookingglass Alice2005 – Lookingglass Alice

Produced by The Lookingglass Theatre Company in association with The Actors Gymnasium

Adapted and Directed by David Catlin
Choreographed by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi

Featuring: Larry DiStasi, Anthony Fleming III, Doug Hara, Tony Hernandez and Lauren Hirte

Winner of Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Choreography

“Ingenious and engaging…wildly imaginative” – The Chicago Sun-Times

“Magic” The Daily Herald

“just as Carroll would have liked”  The Chicago Tribune


2005 Arrivederci Bumblinnis2005 – Arrivederci Bumblinnis

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Directed by Kevin Theis

Featuring Paul Kalina and Chuck Stubbings


2004 Seek Wonder: A Magical Adventure poster2004 – Seek Wonder: A Magical Adventure

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Featuring Magician Sean Masterson

“Masterson’s sleight of hand tricks, with tales to boot, are spellbinding” – The Chicago Tribune


2003 The Bumblinni Brothers: New and Improved Show2003 – The Bumblinni Brothers: New and Improved Show

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Directed by Kevin Theis

Featuring Paul Kalina and Chuck Stubbings


2003 Buster Keaton’s Stroll and Other Stories: A Collection of Solo Puppet Theatre2003 – Buster Keaton’s Stroll and Other Stories: A Collection of Solo Puppet Theatre

Presented by Blair Thomas and Co. with The Actors Gymnasium at The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Featuring: Blair Thomas

“Thomas eloquently, sensually brings to life Steven’s ?mournful and elliptical portrait of love…” – Chicago Reader


2003 The Flying Griffin Circus: All the Time in the World2003 – The Flying Griffin Circus: All the Time in the World

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Adapted and Directed by Kerry Catlin
Choreographed by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi

Featuring: David Catlin, Larry DiStasi, Michael Goldberg, Tony Hernandez, Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi, Lauren Hirte, Rick Kubes, Alessandra Stevens, Lijana Wallenda Hernandez, Chris Williford, and Katia Anderson Williford

“awe-inspiring acrobatics aplenty”  Chicago Reader

“solid entertainment value…with a little philosophy thrown in”  Evanston Review


2002 La Luna Muda2002 – La Luna Muda

Inspired by Italo Calvino’s “Distance of the Moon”

Produced by the Lookingglass Theatre Company in association with The Actors Gymnasium at The Ruth Page Dance Center

Adapted and Directed by David Kersnar
Choreographed by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi

Featuring David Catlin, Larry DiStasi, Laura Eason, Tony Hernandez, and Heidi Stillman

“a physically gorgeous, mesmerizing 85-minute reverie that utilizes sumptuous design elements, trance-like new age music, wire-walking, trapeze, and feats of strength” – Backstage.com


2002 The Bumblinni Brothers2002 -The Bumblinni Brothers

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Directed by Kevin Theis

Featuring Paul Kalina and Chuck Stubbings


2001 Iktu Blas2001 – Iktu Blas

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston, Moved to The Chopin Theatre as part of Puppetropolis and co-produced by the Lookingglass Theatre Company

Written and Directed by Michael Montenegro

Featuring: Nancy Andrea, Sara Berliner, Christine Dunford, Rick Kubes, Ellen O’Keefe, Jason Tucker

“darkly funny”  The Chicago Reader


2001 Hard Times by Charles Dickens

2001 – Hard Times By Charles Dickens

Produced by The Lookingglass Theatre Company in association with The Actors Gymnasium at The Ruth Page Center for the Arts in Chicago

Remounted at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts in 2002

Toured to The Arden Theatre in Philadephia, PA in 2004

Adapted and Directed by Heidi Stillman
Choreographed by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi

Featuring:  Eva Barr, David Catlin, Larry DiStasi, Laura Eason, Raymond Fox, Tony Hernandez, Lauren Hirte, Louise Lamson, Ceal Phelan, Joyce Piven, Joe Sikora, Philip R. Smith, Troy West, and Matt Zeigler

Winner of Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Choreography, Best Production, Best Direction, Best New Adaptation, Best Lighting


2001 The Flying Griffin Circus in Gulliver’s Circus2001The Flying Griffin Circus in Gulliver’s Circus

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Directed by David Kersnar
Choreographed by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi

Featuring: Nina Black, Larry DiStasi, Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi, Zach Hamity, Jill Heyser, Rick Kubes, Almas Meirmanov, Jason Tucker, Chris Williford and Julia Wolf

“Sweet and charming…truly awesome” – The Chicago Reader


2000 The Flying Griffin Circus2000 – The Flying Griffin Circus

At The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston

Directed by Joe Dempsey
Choreographed by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi

Featuring:  Michael Montenegro, Lijana Wallenda Hernandez, Tony Hernandez, The Bumblinni Brothers (Chuck Stubbings and Paul Kalina), Zach Hamity, Jill Heyser, Lauren Hirte, Alea Jensen, Angie Pfeifer, and Jason Tucker

“down-home magic” The Chicago Reader


1999 The Baron in the Trees1999 – The Baron in the Trees 

Based on the novel by Italo Calvino

Produced by The Lookingglass Theatre Company in association with The Actors Gymnasium at the Theatre Building in Chicago

Directed by Larry DiStasi
Original Adaptation by Heidi Stillman and Larry DiStasi
Choreographed by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi

Featuring: Adrian Danzig, Joe Dempsey, Christine Dunford, Tony Hernandez, Heidi Stillman, Chuck Stubbings, Rebecca Tennison, Andrew White, and Gary Wingert

Winner of the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Choreography

“Eat your heart out Cirque du Soleil” – Chicago Sun-Times