Was a superstar lurking among the Adirondack chairs and hash brown carts? A handful of dreamers came to St. Petersburg's Saturday Morning Market, where producers from Broadway's Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy held an open casting call. A chosen local will join the crew of acrobats, jugglers and contortionists in a bit role Feb. 3 when the show opens at Mahaffey Theater. "They don't even have to be that one person who blows us away," said marketing director Erik Alden. "But maybe right away we know they are going to be a rhinoceros. It's what fits." Producers will pick Tampa Bay's star by Monday. Here's a look at some who auditioned.
Abby Albaum, 29, St. Petersburg
Day job: marketing for a restaurant company.
Talent: Albaum is a hoop dancer and founder of Hoola Monsters. She makes hoops from industrial tubing and teaches hoop dance and fitness classes. Her performances are not the stuff of Happy Days. She wiggles, leaps and swirls through the hoop like a belly dancer way too hot for Ralph Malph.
Hoop Zen: "It has made me a happier person," said Albaum, who first hooped in 2007. She likens the motion to meditation. Plus, it gives her rocking deltoids.
Amanda Puyot, 12, St. Petersburg
Day job: seventh-grader at John Hopkins Middle School.
Talent: Amanda looked shy, but the joke was on everyone. When she raised the microphone … "EVERYTHING'S COMING UP ROSES." Whoa. She was good. Turns out, she's a veteran singer who hummed incessantly as a baby. She has performed all over, racking up awards.
Pie in the sky: "I want to be a lawyer," Amanda said. "And I want to get my cosmetology license. And I want to be a (licensed practical nurse). I want to do it all!" And, uh … singing? "I've always wanted to sing in a church choir." That can probably be arranged.
Greg Musille, 61, Pinellas Park
Day job: "modular office furniture." Come again? "I assemble cubicles."
Talent: Uh … what do you call it? "Stiks!" he says. "Double Stiks, Floating Stiks, Crystal Stiks! Stiks!" Known as the Stik Man, Musille makes narrow batons with doo-dads on the ends. He holds two balancing rods and tosses another back and forth through the air doing tricks. Stiks!
Stik science: Once, he tried decorating Stiks with feathers. Total mayhem. "They become like a wind sail." Musille likes tossing Stiks to the music of Pink Floyd because the funky rhythm is a challenge. Stiks!
John Buckley, 53, Gulfport
Day job: retirement home cook.
Talent: Buckley first saw jugglers 20 years ago in New Orleans. Since then, he's practiced five hours a week with sacks and clubs. He juggles at parks and festivals. Sometimes he juggles on breaks at work, although a kitchen isn't ideal for heaving things into the air.
Drifter: He dreams of hitting the road as a street performer. "I want to start traveling the country juggling, maybe go to Key West." And Buckley hopes to score a set of torches so he can start hurling fire. Also needed: an extinguisher.