It’s a rare treat when Phoenix gets a family friendly Broadway production that is also focused on Christmas and the holidays. So, when the Madison Center for the Arts announced that it was bringing “Santa’s Circus” to town December 2-5 for the first time in Arizona, it was truly a reason to celebrate! The show incorporates all facets of Christmas and the joy and majesty of the season. Even better, the show includes world-class circus performers, many of whom hail from world famous Cirque du Soleil.

Founder and Director of “Santa’s Circus,” Francisco Santos created the show back in 2015. “It’s my seventh year doing this show on tour, but I’m the eight generation of my family in the circus,” explains Santos. “My family started in 1706 in the industry. I was also in Cirque du Soleil for almost 20 years on and off, and then I decided to run away with my own circus!” Hailing from Spain, previous generations of circus performers in his family did complex and daring high wire stunts, acrobatics and were also well known for clowning.

READ ALSO: Madison Center for the Arts announces 2022 season

“’Santa’s Circus’ is a very special show,” says Santos. “I spent my whole life on tour up until a few years ago. At that point, I got married and had a little daughter.” He settled down a bit and wasn’t doing as much touring so he could spend more time with his young daughter, Luna. “I decided to do a circus show for Christmas where my daughter was in the show so we could both perform.” She began performing in “Santa’s Circus” when she was only four years old. That experience ushered in the ninth generation of Santos circus performance. 

Many of the performers in “Santa’s Circus” are the same people who have appeared in various Cirque du Soleil productions all over the world. Santos says, “For the show in Arizona, we have four acts performing in that show, and as soon as they finish, they fly to Europe to star in Cirque’s ‘Luzia’ at Royal Albert Hall in January.” 

“People can expect a magical world. ‘Santa’s Circus’ is a story that happens to a little girl at a train station. She’s a girl who doesn’t believe in Christmas. She goes to sleep in a train station and wakes up the next day in the North Pole in the Christmas Village with the elves and they take her on a journey. At the end of the journey, she gets to meet Santa.”

There are 20 performers in “Santa’s Circus.” Specific acts included in the show are unicycle, silks, comedy, high wire and a variety of acrobatics. “It’s a very interactive show and there are even kids come on stage and we’ll play with the audience,” Santos explains.

It is recommended that everyone come early to the show to take advantage of some special experiences. Enhancing the unique opportunity to see a Broadway show, kids will also get to meet and greet their favorite Christmas characters, write their very own letter to Santa with the help of Mrs. Claus and get some candy. Kids can also get their picture taken with the jolly old elf himself when the show is over.

“When people ask me what’s the difference between us and Cirque du Soleil, I say, ‘$24 million,’” says Santos. “Acrobatically, we’re the same people, just a different show.”

In addition to “Santa’s Circus,” Santos also has another blockbuster show, “The Vampire Circus” as well as a handful of other circus shows, including one that is currently running at Sea World in San Diego. Santos says, “We want to develop a new Christmas show for next year. We are constantly rotating and evolving!”

Tickets for “Santa’s Circus” are $35-$65 and the show runs December 2-5. Madison Center for the Arts is located at 5601 N. 16th Street, Phoenix. Visit for more information and tickets.