by: Carly Noel Updated:
PITTSBURGH,None - Juggler Patrick McGuire grew up in the Pittsburgh area and will return in October with Cirque du Soleil's "Quidam." The show runs Oct. 12-16 at the Petersen Events Center.
WPXI.com's Carly Noel asked McGuire some questions before the tour stops in Pittsburgh.
Q. You’re a juggler in Cirque du Soleil’s “Quidam,” which is coming to the Petersen Events Center in Pittsburgh next month. You grew up in the Pittsburgh area. Are you looking forward to performing in your hometown?
A. Yes, very much so! I spent the first 16 years of my life in the North Hills and haven’t been back since, so I’m very excited to get the opportunity to perform in front of so many of my old school mates and even several family members I have yet to meet in person.
Q. Where did you grow up in the Pittsburgh area? Where did you go to school?
A. My parents and I lived in Emsworth until I finished the third grade, and then we relocated to Franklin Park. I went to North Allegheny through my sophomore year of high school, and then we headed out west to Arizona.
Tell me about “Quidam” and your act in the show.
The story of "Quidam" revolves around Zoe, a little girl who is ignored by her parents and essentially creates a fantasy world in her imagination. I play Zoe’s “Papa,” and in a way, my acting on stage is the embodiment of the way Zoe sees her father as a distant, cold figure in her life. The one exception to this is when I perform my juggling act. During my juggling act, I have a direct interest and interaction with Zoe, and in a way, it's a break from “reality” in the imagination of Zoe.
Q. What’s your favorite thing about being on the “Quidam” tour?
A. It is such a wonderful experience to get to travel the world doing what you love to do!
Q. What’s your training schedule like?
A. The first thing I do every day when I arrive at the arena is practice all the techniques I perform in my act for at least one hour. Throughout the course of the show when I’m backstage in between cues, I keep myself busy by practicing other techniques
Q. How did you become a juggler?
A. I first learned to juggle at the age of 12, and when I was 14, my mother and I went to Baltimore to attend a juggling convention. After the convention, I found a local juggling club that met twice a week at Carnegie Mellon University and started training there every chance I got.
Q. I understand you’re an award-winning juggler. What titles have you won?
A. In 1991, when I was 16, I won the International Juggler’s Association’s Junior National Juggling Championships. In addition to that, I’ve won a some awards at regional juggling festivals around the United States and a special prize from a Russian circus while competing at the annual Cirque de Demain Festival in Paris France in 2000.
Q. You were in “Mystere” in Las Vegas. That’s actually my all-time favorite Cirque show. What was that experience like?
A. "Mystere" was a whirlwind of an experience for me. I was only 18 years old when I embarked on that journey. It was a dream come true to get the opportunity to work with such an outstanding theatrical production right out of high school. It was also a difficult time in my life being so young and being thrown into the jaws of life on my own in Las Vegas.
Q. You’ve been on television shows and in theater productions. Which shows and productions?
A. In addition to the eight years on and off that I've worked with Cirque du Soleil, I’ve performed on many cruise ships around the world, spent a year and a half performing in Japan, worked with a small physical theater company called Do Jump in Portland, Oregon, and worked in a wonderful theatrical circus production called Birdhouse Factory, which was founded by Chris Lashua, who was the original German Wheel performer with "Quidam." Among the most high-profile TV spots I’ve done, I would have to say the "Tonight Show with Jay Leno" is at the top.