Chicagoans Dare to Dream in Actors Gym's Circus Quixotic

Circus News

Chicagoans Dare to Dream in Actors Gym’s Circus Quixotic

As part of the Chicago area’s much-beloved Winter Circus program, the Actors Gymnasium will present its newest original show, CIRCUS QUIXOTIC, from February 18 to March 26, 2023, at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center in Evanston.

Chicago, IL, February 1, 2023 — The Actors Gymnasium is proud to announce CIRCUS QUIXOTIC, an original circus theatre production adapted and directed by David and Kerry Catlin, with circus choreography by Artistic Director Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi. The show features Michel Rodriguez Cintra, Amanda Raquel Martinez, Danielle Gennaoui, Ryan Huemmer, and Julian Hester, as well as members of the Gym’s Teen Ensemble.

CIRCUS QUIXOTIC is part of the Actors Gym’s annual Winter Circus tradition, which is one of Chicago’s most popular circus shows of the year.

Adapted from Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote, CIRCUS QUIXOTIC is an idealistic, unrealistic, and impractical journey into the mad and noble imagination of an unlikely knight and his dim, yet steadfast squire. Dare to dream of defeating diresome dragons, overcoming evil enchanters, toppling giants disguised as windmills, and bashing book burners in this hilarious attempt to bring chivalry back into the world!

Michel Rodriguez Cintra and Amanda Raquel Martinez (front) alongside members of the Actors Gymnasium Teen Ensemble (back)
Production Details

Runs: February 18th – March 26th, 2022
Opening and press night Saturday, February 18, 2023
Performances are Saturdays at 4:30 PM and 7:30 PM, and Sundays at 3:00 PM
Circus Quixotic will be participating in Chicago Theatre Week from February 18 – 26th. Discounted tickets will be available with code CTW23 during checkout.

Adapter/Director: David and Kerry Catlin
Assistant Director: Da Eun Yoon
Circus Choreographer: Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi
Production Associate: Griffin DiStasi
Stage Manager: Amalie Vega
Production Manager: Erin Gautille
Rigging Designer: Isaac Shoepp
Costume Designer: Sully Radtke
Lighting Designer: Daphne Agosin
Sound Designer: Grover Hollway
Composer: Kevin O’Donnell

Tickets start at $35 for adults and $20 for students and can be purchased online at
Not recommended for children under 5.
All performances are at Noyes Cultural Arts Center at 927 Noyes St., Evanston, IL.

About the Artists
Cuban dancer/performer Miguel Rodriguez Cintra rehearses in costume for the Actors Gymnasium's show CIRCUS QUIXOTIC by dancing up a pole
Miguel Rodriguez Cintra

Michel Rodriguez Cintra (Quixote) is a Cuban-born dancer, choreographer, acrobat, actor, and teacher. On graduating from  Escuela Nacional de Arte (the National School of Arts) in Havana, Cuba, Miguel was chosen to join Danza Contemporanea de Cuba, where he became Principal Dancer and toured internationally. After moving to Chicago in 2008, Rodriguez performed as part of Hedwig Dances in addition to choreographing his own works for the company. In 2013, Michel became an ensemble member with Lucky Plush productions, generating multiple roles in various works in their signature devised dance-theater style. He was also a founding member of The Cambrians, where he performed and co-choreographed nationally toured works, and has been seen as a guest artist with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Concert Dance Inc., Khecari, and the Chicago Moving Company. Other choreographic credits include Solus for Visceral Dance Company, Dancing in the Parks, and Lit & Luz Festival Chicago-Mexico City; the LatinX Chicago Arts Festival; the Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festival; and the Latino Artist Festival at Northwestern University. Michel also performed in the physical play Atalanta for the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival in 2019. Most recently, he was seen with the Lookingglass Theater as the White Rabbit in Lookingglass Alice. He was an Adjunct Faculty member at the Dance Center of Columbia College and is currently part of the faculty at the School of Theater and Dance at Northern Illinois University. His other accolades include being named a finalist of the A.W.A.R.D. Show Chicago by the Joyce Foundation and one of “The Men of 2010” in dance by Time Out Chicago. In October 2013, he was the recipient of the prestigious 3Arts Award and was featured in Dance Magazine’s “25 to watch 2014.” Michel joined the Actors Gymnasium family in 2015 as an instructor, and he’s very, very excited to play Cervantes/Quijote in Circus Quixotic.

Amanda Raquel Martinez (Sancha) is thrilled to be back in her circus home for Winter Circus with this dream team! Her Chicago credits include Somewhere Over the Border (Teatro Vista); American Mariachi (Goodman Theatre); American Bottom; 33 to Nothing (A Red Orchid Theatre); Ghost Quartet (Black Button Eyes Productions); La Ruta (Steppenwolf); Big Lake, Big City (Lookingglass Theatre); Cinderella at the Theater of Potatoes (Hypocrites); As You Like Itand Love, Loss and What I Wore (First Folio Theatre); For the Love Of (Pride Films and Plays); Even Longer and Farther Away (The New Colony); and El Stories: The Holiday Train (Waltzing Mechanics). Regional credits include Resurrecting Wildflowers (HERE Arts Center); Frankenstein (The McCarter Theatre in association with Lookingglass Theatre); Kitty Hawk (Adrienne Arsht Center); three different productions of Pirates of Penzance(Pasadena Playhouse, Skirball Theatre Center, and Olney Theatre Center); and The Mikado (Olney Theatre Center). She is a recipient of a Joseph Jefferson Award for her role in this production.

Michel Rodriguez Cintra and Amanda Raquel Martinez

Since Danielle Gennaoui (Dutchess) was a little tater tot in St. Louis, MO, she has loved to direct plays in her parents’ basement, climb every tree in sight, and spin around in circles until she fell over. Fortunately, not much has changed (though the falling over happens fewer and further between). Danielle began training at the Actors Gymnasium in 2008 and immediately fell in love with circus. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Directing and Performance from the Jordan College of Fine Arts at Butler University and is also a graduate of Aloft Circus Arts’ full-time training program, where she majored in lyra. In addition to working with the Actors Gym, Danielle has been especially fortunate to perform, coach, and create with the Chicago Center for Dynamic Circus; Aloft Circus Arts; Circus Harmony; MSA & Circus Arts; Gravity Aerial Arts; Thodos Dance Chicago; Apple Tree Theatre; the Sussurus Performance Group; and the Alexandrinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia. Danielle is incredibly grateful to be a part of Circus Quixotic and honored to collaborate with such an inspiring group of artists!

Ryan Huemmer (Duke) is an actor-acrobat who’s elated to be sharing the mystical journey of Circus Quixotic and performing in the space he has come to call his Chicago circus home! As a performer, Ryan believes in utilizing extreme physicality not only to add a healthy dose of spectacle, but also to broaden the accessibility of his storytelling through the universal language of movement. His recent credits include Lookingglass Alice (Lookingglass), Red Summer (MPAACT), Frankenstein (Oil Lamp Theater), and The Imagination Circus (The Galaxie). Ryan is a graduate of both The Actors Gymnasium’s Pro-Training Program and Boston University’s School of Theatre. He offers a huge thanks to David, Kerry, Sylvia, Griffin, and the whole cast for fostering an incredibly playful, spontaneous, and supportive environment to grow this story in!

Julian Hester (Barber) is an Equity Jeff-nominated and SAG Award-winning actor based in Chicago. He’s a current Pro-Trainer Conservatory clown and Acro at the Actors Gymnasium. Julian’s theater credits include productions at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater; the Windy City Playhouse; the Writers Theatre; Theatre Wit; and the Artistic Home Ensemble, a company of which he has been a member since 2015, where his favorite credits include his Jeff-nominated work in The Late Henry Moss, his role as Konstantin in The Seagull, and his work in directing The Pavilion and Malapert Love at the Den Theatre. On TV, he can currently be seen as Dr. Kendall Murray in Power-Book IVand in reruns of Chicago Fire/Med/PD as Sorenstein. Film appearances include Trial of the Chicago 7* and Amazon’s King Rat. He is represented by Paonessa Talent Agency.

About the Actors Gym
Rehearsal of the Actors Gymnasium show Circus Quixotic
From left to right: Ryan Huemmer, Julian Hester, Emerson Catlin, Danielle Gennaoui, and Michel Rodriguez Cintra

The Actors Gymnasium is one of the nation’s premier circus and performing arts training centers, led by master teacher and Circus Ring of Fame artist Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi. Founded in 1995, it provides educational programs for students of all ages and levels, and produces original and daring circus theatre. The Actors Gym also offers award-winning entertainment for corporate and other special events.

The Actors Gym is proud to partner with many performing arts organizations throughout Chicagoland and serves as the exclusive provider of circus performing arts training for Lookingglass Theatre.

All preproduction images credited to photographer Sylvia Hernandez DiStasi. Main image taken during rehearsal, and pictures, from left to right, Danielle Gennaoui, Amanda Raquel Martinez, Michel Rodriguez Cintra, and members of the Actors Gymnasium Teen Ensemble.

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