Michael Valvo was just a baby when Lucille Ball died but the “Queen of Comedy” had a dramatic and long-lasting effect on the career of the future comedic actor-singer.
Valvo, 35, grew up in Ball’s small hometown of Jamestown, New York, which was also where singer-songwriter Natalie Merchant came of age.
“Jamestown, for as small as it is, has a great arts scene,” Valvo said. “Lucille Ball is at the center of it. Lucille Ball has inspired my physical comedy. When I’m up there clowning I owe so much to her.”
Ball, who passed away in 1989, was an innovative physical comic. Valvo learned about the iconic entertainer courtesy of “I Love Lucy” reruns. “I was just 4 years old and I had nothing to do on a rainy day in Jamestown,” Valvo recalls while calling from Medicine Hat, Alberta. “My parents put the television on, I was hooked when I watched her. I knew early on what I was seeing was brilliance.
“I’m indebted to Lucille Ball as an actor.”
Valvo is a comedic constant throughout “Cirque Musica: Holiday Wonderland,” which is slated for Tuesday and Wednesday at Northern Quest Resort & Casino. Valvo frolics and provides the levity throughout a show in which his character, Twinkles the Clown, the Princess and Josh, who is studying to be Twinkles assistant, deliver a holiday story.
Josh pretends to be the mayor and attempts to hijack the holiday cheer for himself. However, “Holiday Wonderland” is a feel good story.
“Josh learns that the holidays are about families and friends and fortunately we have a happy ending,” Valvo said.
The show is filled with ear and eye candy. Acrobats and aerialists provide stunts while Valvo’s Twinkles is ubiquitous.
“You’ll see me running all around the auditorium,” Valvo said. “I zig and zag all over the place.”
The perky Valvo engages in audience participation.
“I’ll designate someone as the first day of Christmas,” Valvo said. “They’ll hold up the first day of Christmas sign and I’ll go on with the story.”
“Cirque Musica: Holiday Wonderland” is an energetic, unpredictable and amusing event with familiar songs of the season.
“It’s a production that appeals to everyone regardless of age,” Valvo said. “It’s a feel good event and we can use those kinds of shows. The show takes me back to my childhood when I would be glued to the TV watching Lucille Ball and her amazing physical comedy. It’s a tradition I carry on with ‘Cirque Musica: Holiday Wonderland.’”