Susan Murphy has the fortune of meeting a lot of interesting people. After all, her work in the aerial arts has put the owner of the Marsh Studio in Darien in the path of many a creative type.
That’s how she met Diane Wasnak and Barb Polk.
“(We met) when we were all performing last spring at Circus Spectacular, an annual fundraiser for the New England Center for Circus Arts in Brattleboro, Vermont,” Murphy said.
It was easy to notice them. Wasnak and her Australian shepherd, Bindi, put on a rousing act, which included clowning, miming and canine acrobatics.
“Over a glass of wine following the performance, I was even more taken by Diane and Barb’s natural high-spirited humor and their years of experience in entertaining people of all ages and backgrounds,” Murphy said.
Wasnak had a long and impressive career. It has included performing as a soloist with the Cirque du Soleil’s “Mystere” for two years, as well as serving the principal comedienne with San Francisco’s Pickle Family Circus for 10 years.
Wasnak also took on a role as a stunt double for Jada Pinkett Smith in “The Matrix” games.
But her current path was set when she got her first puppy, Bonzer, and decided to incorporate him into her act. The duo started performing on the cable cars in San Francisco. And they really hit it big.
Their act was featured on A&E’s “Under the Big Top” and Ripley’s “Believe It Or Not.” For several seasons, Bonzer could also be seen sledding down a snowy hill in the opening credits of Animal Planet’s “Funniest Animals.”
In 2006, Wasnak and Bonzer appeared on Broadway in “Busker Alley” starring Jim Dale and Glenn Close.
Barb Polk joined the fun in 2005, lending her vocal talents to the production.
Polk is also the lead female vocalist for the Don Krekel Orchestra, a 17-piece big band.
Wasnak lost her beloved Bonzer after many happy years together. But Bonzer’s pup, Bizzo, continues to carry on the family tradition, as does Bindi, her newest performer.
The hat-stealing, highflying antics will come to Murphy’s studio this weekend. They will perform two shows — the first at 7 p.m. Saturday and another at 5 p.m. Sunday at 1258 Blue Heron Lane, Darien. Wasnak and Polk will also perform at Thrive Frederica.
“Diane is accredited by the National Center for Creative Aging and Memory Bridge. Recognizing the older adults as a life long learner, Diane will work her charms at Thrive, a residential care facility on St. Simons,” Murphy said.
“In her performance at Thrive, she will help erase age limitations, allowing participants permission to play. Barb will also perform her eclectic mix of blues, jazz and show tunes at Sea Palms on Friday night from 6 to 9.”
Muphy is thrilled to share the talents of Wasnak, Polk and Bindi with the Isles. And she promises a show like none other.
“Diane’s many talents include musical instruments, stunt performing, animal training and handling props. And not only is Bindi, her canine partner, lightning fast, she is an amazing jumper, with awesome spinning, balancing and hoop jumping talent,” Murphy said.
“Her human partner, Barb Polk, will enliven the act with her incredible music and singing. This show is not to be missed. It will lighten your spirits, shaking out any gloomies you come in with.”