The Atlas Circus Company is coming to New York's Dixon Place theater from August 1 to August 16, 2017, to present "Lucky," a dance-and-acrobatics-filled play about a man who cannot seem to stop falling on his face. The slapstick performance chronicles the hapless main character's attempts to safely navigate himself through a busy city where he finds himself along the way.

"Lucky" is both funny and meaningful. The heartwarming, entertaining, and funny show is suitable for all ages and Atlas Circus Company co-founders Noah Dach, Henry Evans, Tommy McCarthy, and Cody Johnson. Hope that it will help cultivate the next generation of American circus performers.

"Lucky" is their fifth full-length production.

Atlas Circus' co-founder Henry Evans, who is featured in “Lucky,” recently discussed his new show premiering at Dixon Place as well as creating a new type of circus via an exclusive interview.

Creating and performing in circuses

Meagan Meehan (MM): What prompted you to enter the field of performing arts and how did you initially get interested in the circus?

Henry Evans (HE): Well it all started at Muhlenberg College, a small liberal arts school in Allentown, Pennsylvania. We began as a group of four, and we all brought unique skills and interests to the table. I personally came from a gymnastics, musical theater, and dance background. While some came from backgrounds in aerial, stage management, and even chemistry.

We put all our heads together and started a circus workshop at Muhlenberg, which has now become a permanent curricular and extracurricular program.

MM: When and why did you establish the Atlas Circus Company?

HE: We began Atlas Circus company a year before we left school. We used that time to strategize, research circus in America, and develop our artistic mission.

We are very excited about the chance to build this company because we see a definite lack of opportunities in America for circus artists. Personally, I enjoy storytelling through circus arts because the opportunities to build vivid and surprising worlds and narratives are endless. We also hope to change the way people, especially in America, perceive this art-form.

One of the ways we hope to do that is through creating more opportunities for young circus artists to create work on both small and large scales. To put it simply, entertainment is awesome

MM: How does your circus differ from others?

HE: We are different because our goal is not only to tell the stories that matter to us personally but to bring together the next generation of circus artists. We are so excited about creating a community of artists, athletes, and dreamers to put on narrative performances. Spanning dance, theater, circus, magic, technology, and more…the sky's the limit!

MM: You're a performer, so what kinds of acts do you specialize in?

HE: I grew up competing in gymnastics for ten years.

I then started dancing and doing musical theater all the way through college. The beautiful thing about the circus is that it is hard to just learn one discipline because most compliment each other. In my roots, I'm a tumbler and a goof. But in recent years I've expanded my skill set to juggling, varies aerial arts, and trampoline. Most recently I've been working on the development of our own apparatus to precisely fit within the show Lucky.

MM: How would you describe “Lucky” and what can audiences expect from it?

HE: With “Lucky” we’re bringing audiences into a live version of a classic silent film. Inspired by greats such as Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, Lucky follows the story of a young man attempting to make a purposeful life in the big apple.

We have brought our passion for circus arts to this story, and have built the world full of magic. We hope to speak to the timeless nature of growing up and finding one's place in the world, with a wink and a nudge. This hilarious journey is set to live music, told with acrobatics, illusions, and never-before seen slapstick aerial stunts, putting the cherry on top of Lucky’s zany New York City.

MM: What inspired the creation of "Lucky"?

HE: I am a huge fan of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, and their work has been a huge influence on my passion for the theater. The style of the show is definitely reminiscent of these classic clowns, and their ability to use a simple gag to tell a human story.

The content of Lucky, on the other hand, is very much inspired by my own experiences, and those of my peers, arriving in New York and attempting to make our way in a city that isn’t always friendly. I saw this show as an extremely exciting opportunity to use a classic lens to explore my contemporary experience.

Current and future projects

MM: Many circuses are going out of business, so has it been difficult to keep Atlas Circus Company adrift?

HE: From an outside perspective, circus perhaps appears to be on the decline. However, many of the circuses that are struggling are huge organizations, which have existed for a long time. Atlas, and other young circus artists, are reimagining what a night at the circus can look like, and how to overcome the obstacles that come with this ridiculous endeavor.

We are currently performing two shows--in addition to Lucky, we are also producing Wild at Muhlenberg College. We recently returned from a residency at the Orchard Project in Saratoga Springs, we entertain for corporate events and enjoy fruitful relationships with established venues such as Dixon Place and Zoellner Arts Center. Also, we teach workshops and facilitate programs in colleges, and around the tri-state area. We have a vision of the American circus that is community-based and built around the goal of creating opportunities for circus artists around the country to flourish.

MM: What are your next big projects and your primary goals for the future of the Atlas Circus Company?

HE: Our biggest goals moving forward will be continuing to develop and extend the run of our current projects, "Wild" and "Lucky." We plan to continue to produce both these shows in New York, and hopefully, take them on tour.

Our broader goals are to foster opportunities for emerging circus artists like ourselves and bring audiences a fresh view of the next generation of the American Circus.

MM: Can you offer any words of advice to aspiring circus performers and is there anything else that you would like to discuss?

HE: Don’t be afraid to reach out, although the community might seem large, it is in fact rather small and filled with people who are just as excited as you. Beyond that, create what excites you. Always strive to create that thing you’ve always wanted and never seen, the possibilities of the circus are endless.

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