Popovich, pets will entertain at Jasper Arts Center

Dogs, cats, geese, parrots, jugglers, clowns and Gregory Popovich will take to the stage at the Jasper Arts Center at 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

From local sources
JASPER — The Popovich Comedy Pet Theater will be onstage at the Jasper Arts Center at 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

The production features Gregory Popovich, a cast of jugglers and clowns, 15 house cats, 10 dogs, four geese, eight white doves and two parrots.

The show is a family-oriented blend of the comedy and juggling skills of Popovich and the talents of his performing pets. It includes European-style clowning. Vignettes for this show may include Funny Winner Dog, Trained Geese, Dog Football, Dr. Doolittle, Brave Parrots and Pet Fire Marshals.
The Popovich Comedy Pet Theater has performed in more than 20 countries and is in its fourth season at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.

Popovich grew up in a unique environment as the child of Russian circus performers Alex and Tamara Popovich. In addition to being jugglers and performers, Popovich’s parents were dog trainers. From a very young age, Popovich formed a special bond with animals. Eventually, the connection he formed with his mother’s show dogs led to his participation onstage, assisting with her dog act. At the age of 6, Popovich began to learn the art of juggling. Eight years later, he prepared his first solo act — juggling on a free-standing ladder.

Popovich became a member of the Moscow Circus at age 17. For the next few years, he traveled the world with the circus, eventually becoming the star and the representative at international circus competitions.

He then was invited to join the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus in the United States. He performed his juggling act in the center ring, becoming the first Russian artist to ever appear in the “Greatest Show on Earth.”

Las Vegas was the next stop, and Popovich became the featured performer at the Circus Circus Hotel and Casino. During his show there, he fatefully incorporated the family kitten, Snowbird, in his act. The audiences’ response to the kitten act was consistently so great that Popovich began to think about building an entire routine based on performing cats. A friend encouraged him to visit an animal shelter to look for cats that could become the additional performing pets. Upon his first visit to an animal shelter, he was dismayed and stunned to see so many animals without a home or loving family, animals that had so much potential but that had been discarded. He began to adopt and train cats and dogs from the shelter and then introduce them as part of his show. This was the beginning of his lifelong commitment to helping rescued animals and the comedy pet theater.

Tickets, priced at $15 for adults and $8 for student and children, are available by calling the arts center at 482-3070.

The Dubois County Humane Society will have information at the performance and will accept pet food donations for the shelter animals.

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