BROOKLYN BUZZ: Chinese acrobats and George Burns hit Brooklyn College

October 28, 2011 Heather Chin
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With the launch of the 2011-2012 season, the Brooklyn Center forthe Performing Arts at Brooklyn College begins its 57th year ofbringing the beauty and art of the world to the borough.

This Saturday, October 29, World Stages series kicksoff with a performance that is a first on more than one level. At 1p.m., the National Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China willtake the stage on their first North American tour, stopping at 62cities throughout the United States along the way. The group, whichhas toured 40 countries, was also the first National PerformingArts Troupe established by the Chinese government, in 1950.

It’s a chance to experience something very traditional from[China], as the acrobatic tradition goes back centuries, said RickBerubé, director of communications for the center. So peopleshould expect authenticity. You can go see any other venues ofacrobatics performed as entertainment, but this goes back to thesource. That’s what’s special about it.

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The National Acrobats will be directed by Zhang Hong and SunLili and will include acts by hundreds of acrobats who specializein their particular type of acrobatics. They are based in Beijingand own a large Institution for Acrobatic Schooling, Training andRepertoire which has over 150 resident performers and over 500students of all ages.

You’re not going to see the same 15 people doing everything,noted Berubé. Each act has been developed by artists dedicated tothat type of acrobatics. You’re watching the masters do what theydo best.

Global dance troupes coming to the Brooklyn Center this winterand spring for the World Stages series will hail from Spain,Jamaica and Russia.

A performance that might hit closer to home for someBrooklynites is the one-man show and third-longest running Broadwayhit, Say Goodnight Gracie, which is a look back on Americancomedian George Burns’ life and love with wife and co-star GracieAllen.

On Sunday, October 30, at 2 p.m., veteran actor Alan Safier willbe portraying Burns, who the Center bills in their press release asarguably the world’s favorite and funniest centenarian. As in theBroadway show, Safier’s one-man tour-de-force will be accompaniedby a multimedia presentation of video clips of the original SayGoodnight, Gracie line from Burns’ and Allen’s TV show andvoiceover clips of Allen’s lines, as spoken by actress DidiConn.

For people that remember George Burns, you close your eyes andthink that he is back on stage. Alan Safier really is an amazingperformer as far as capturing the essence, said Berubé. I thinkthat’s going to be such a special experience for people whoremember Burns. Also for people who don’t necessarily remember him,the show is very funny. Burns’ comedy is very timeless. His showsare about relationships and miscommunication, the type of comedythat holds up.

The October 30 performance will also be followed by a talk-backdiscussion with Safier and playwright Rupert Holmes, moderated byEntertainment Weekly senior editor Thom Geier.

Tickets to see the National Acrobats are $20 for adults and $10for children under age 12. Tickets to Say Goodnight Gracie are$30 each. They can be purchased at orby calling 718-951-4500 between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Tuesdaysthrough Saturdays. For groups of 15 or more, dial 718-951-5000,extension 3326.

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