Alaska or bust
What: Vaudeville Variety Show
When: 7 pm Thu., Jun. 6
Where: Cirque Lab, 1401 6th St.
Cost: $10-$20 (sliding scale) at the door
Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Morgan Moonshine’s mom, Mary Lou Langham, would likely be thrilled to hear her daughter is running away with the circus—and not just because the tour she’s joining bears her mother’s name.
To clarify, the three-week “Be Mary” tour the New Old Time Chautauqua (NOTC) will undertake in late spring and early summer throughout south-central Alaska will celebrate the life and legacy of Langham, who passed away in March 2018 at her home in Homer.
As an artist, circus founder, educator, mother, teacher, doctor, writer and chautauqua tour organizer, Langham was a creative mover and shaker who wholeheartedly approved of the New Old Time Chautauqua’s mission to bring live entertainment and educational events to diverse rural communities from Washington to Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Northern California, British Columbia, and Alaska.
When Moonshine joins the nearly 60 performers who will be part of NOTC’s annual summer tour, she’ll be in good company. Seven other members of Langham’s family—including her husband, two more of her children, and one of her grandchildren—will be part of the joyous journey.
But before the multigenerational troupe of artists, performers, educators and musicians sets out to bring live shows, free workshops and community service to the small towns on their itinerary, NOTC will present a Vaudeville Variety Show Thurs., June 6 at the Bellingham Circus Guild’s Cirque Lab in Fairhaven.
In addition to raising funds for the upcoming undertaking, the event will also provide a sneak peek of what Alaskans can expect to see when the ensemble heads their way—including jugglers, acrobats, aerialists, dancers, magicians, mimes, musicians and more, including members of the Flying Karamazov Brothers, the Bunion Sisters, and others.
A few weeks after the benefit, the tour will start in Talkeetna with a weeklong celebration of Langham and all she did to bring the circus to life there for nearly 30 years, including founding the Green Light Circus. Two big shows in the Sheldon Arts Hangar, a community service project, parades and more will be part of the fun.
Additionally, NOTC will offer workshops and shows designed to wake up a sense of wonder to incarcerated youth and adults at a trio of correctional facilities, including the McLaughlin Youth Center in Anchorage, Palmer’s Hiland Mountain Correctional Center, and at the Spring Creek Correctional Center in Seward.
Also of note are visits at the ARC of Anchorage and Covenant House (a local center for homeless teens), vaudeville variety shows benefiting the Alaska Theatre of Youth and Seward High School, and connections with the Kenaitze and Ninilchik tribes.
“Be Mary” ends in Homer, where Langham spent her final years and where the New Old Time Chautauqua will partner with Pier One Theatre, Bunnell Street Art Center, and Homer Council of Arts before lending their talents to a Fourth of July parade and hosting a vaudeville extravaganza to close out the tour.
“In less than a month, my whole life will be filled with wild Alaska, the fantastic life of living with a circus and the unimaginable magic that will be created when so many fun people come together to spread joy and wonder,” Moonshine says. “It’s such a gift to get to honor my mom with such an epic journey.”
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