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MOSI cancels some Cirque Italia performances, sets deadline

Staff
Published:   |   Updated: March 13, 2013 at 11:31 PM

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TAMPA -- The Museum of Science and Industry has canceled the first five days of performances of Cirque Italia’s ACT XII until the circus owner pays for insurance.

The circus, featuring aerialists, high-balancing acts, and contortionists performed on an elevated stage surrounded by 35,000 gallons of water, was to have begun Thursday night and run through Dec. 2.

Patrons, expecting to see circus acts Thursday under the blue-and-white big top, were instead turned away.

MOSI officials initially canceled all performances of the circus Thursday afternoon, but later decided to give owner Manuel Rebecchi five days to pay $43,000 for liability and workers’ comp insurance.

If he does not make the payment by Tuesday, all performances will be canceled, MOSI officials said.

MOSI officials pulled the plug on the circus when they learned the circus did not fulfill the insurance requirements specified in the contract, said Shannon N. Herbon, MOSI’s communications manager.

“We have been on the telephone all day (with Cirque Italia),” Hebron said. “(Cirque Italia) refused to pay for the liability insurance. We will not leave our performers and guests not protected.”

Rebecchi said MOSI acted too quickly in canceling all of the shows.

“That’s not right,” he said Thursday. “We’ve been working like animals and this happens.”

Rebecchi said he would pay for the coverage Friday and vowed the show will go on.

Rebecchi, 32, purchased Cirque Italia for $1.3 million. A native of Italy, he grew up traveling with his uncle’s renowned Noira Orfei’s Circus.

About a month ago, Rebecchi and his crew began setting up the big top next to MOSI. The 1,266 seat tent spans more than 10,000 square feet and is more than 50 feet high.

Anyone who purchased tickets can call (813) 987-6000 for a refund.


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