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Juggler Michael Moschen at the Craterian Theater

When most of us think of jugglers, what often comes to mind are circus performers tossing bowling pins, balls and hoops into the air and catching them over and over, much to our amazement.

Michael Moschen has single-handedly expanded the notion of juggling from an ancient, traditional performance to a sophisticated art.

"In Mr. Moschen's hands, juggling becomes a balletic art," according to a reviewer for New York Times. "(He) elevates a minor theatrical art to visionary heights."

Craterian Performances will present Moschen at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 17, at the Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater, 23 S. Central Ave., Medford.

Not many jugglers have received the McArthur Foundation's Genius Award. Nor have they had a television special created for the Great Performances Series on PBS. The 1991 show, "In Motion with Michael Moschen," focused on Moschen's life and work.

Moschen's television appearances also include "An Evening at Pops," (with the Boston Pops), Maury Povich, Penn & Teller's "Sin City Spectacular," "The Tonight Show," Jerry Lewis' MDA Telethon, The Montreal International Comedy Festival (Just for Laughs) on Showtime, Ricky Jay's "Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women," "Sesame Street," "Late Show with David Letterman" and PBS's "Alive from Off-Center."

Moschen is featured on the recent A&E documentary, "The Mystery of Genius," and made his television dramatic acting debut on "L.A. Law." He has appeared on TV as well in England, Spain, Italy, Chile and Argentina.

Of Moschen, the London Times said reviewer wrote, "I wonder if we shall see anything more beautiful than what Michael Moschen achieves with a ball of glass."

Moschen incorporates art, science, physics and mathematics in his shows, to perform creative and impossible feats of manipulation and illusion. Moschen has performed both solo and collaboratively with leading artists off Broadway, in major concert halls, and on arts festivals in Europe, Asia and North and South America.

The San Francisco Examiner wrote, "Michael Moschen is a juggler, a kind of dancer-physicist — someone who can bend and twist the visible world out of the norm through the sheer grace of his own movements."

Moschen has been associated with some of the leading circus arts performers of the time. He was commissioned by Cirque du Soleil to create and stage a new work for their permanent theatrical circus in Las Vegas, which has also toured with "Quidam."

As a solo performer, Moschen has been featured at theater and dance festivals around the world. His film credits include "Hair" and "Annie." He also choreographed and performed with crystal balls as David Bowie's hands in the Jim Henson film "Labyrinth."

Moschen is deeply involved in understanding and sharing the physical and mathematical principles that underlie his work, and is a sought-after public speaker. He presented the keynote address for the National Conference of Teachers of Mathematics in 1996, and in 1998 for the Association of New York Teachers of Mathematics.

He has lectured on innovation and creativity at such institutions as Carnegie Mellon University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Lincoln Center Education Program.

"Michael Moschen's performance is exhilarating, virtuoso entertainment ..." The Village Voice said, "He gamely makes you privy to the secrets of the universe..."

He is featured in the book "The Virtuoso: Face to Face with 40 Extraordinary Talents." He has received support form the National Endowment for the Arts and is a registered touring artist with the Connecticut Commission on the Arts and the New England Foundation on the Arts. As the Boston Globe said, "Moschen walks a fine line between entertainment and high art."

Tickets are $23-$38, and available at the Craterian box office. See craterian.org or call 779-3000.

Michael Moschen will present a show of extraordinary juggling feats at the Craterian Theater. - Photo courtesy of Craterian Performances