Jugglers, tumblers, acrobats, magicians and puppeteers, oh my!

Cotton candy, kettle corn, lollipops, hot dogs, and balloons, all yours to try!

Whether you’re a kid or decades past, you’re invited to abandon cares and woes and run away to the circus, for at least a few hours of enchantment.

Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam will make it possible until Saturday, September 18 as “Carnival!” works its magic and charm.  Music and lyrics by Bob Merrill, with book by Michael Stewart, based on a story by Helen Deutsch, with revisions by Francine Pascal, “Carnival!” will sweep you away into the outwardly glamorous sphere of clowns and circus performers, a world that could easily hypnotize an impressionable young girl named Lili and cause her temporarily to lose her perspective and balance.

Lili, as portrayed by a vulnerable and sweet Lauren Worsham, is a homeless waif who seeks in the circus a place to find acceptance, comfort and love.  She is quickly disillusioned by men who offer her one thing and mean quite another, like a con game of emotions, where Lili is predestined to lose her faith.

Marco the Magnificent (Mike McGowan) practically tricks Lili into believing he is the fairy tale prince of her dreams, an act he has performed on countless females, much to the dismay of his assistant and lover Rosalie (Michelle Blakely).  The circus ringmaster Schlegel (Laurent Giroux) is powerless to protect Lili, nor is the kind Jacquot (Nathan Klau) able to wrap her in cotton batting to prevent scars.

Lili is most susceptible when she enters the outwardly caring world of the puppets who embrace her, but their master manipulator Paul (Adam Monley) is so broken and disillusioned by a war injury that robbed him of the ability to dance that he is blind to what Lili offers him from her heart.

Darko Tresnjak directs this bittersweet tale that features such poignant melodies as “She’s My Love,” “Always, Always You” and “Love Makes the World Go Round.”

For tickets ($27. 50-71), call Goodspeed Musicals, on the Connecticut River in East Haddam at 860-873-8668 or online at www.goodspeed.org.  Performances are Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Thursday at 7:30 p.m., with select matinees at 2 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., with selected performances at 6:30 p.m.

Join the circus and enter the magical world where illusions are created and vanish in the blink of an eye.

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