In addition to performing as one of the Les Cons in Cirque du Soleil’s La Nouba, Dr. Phillips resident Justin Osbourne gives back by supporting the Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida.
Growing up in Windsor, Ontario, Justin Osbourne was a ball of fire. His mother enrolled him in gymnastics at age 3 as a way of releasing some of his excess energy. Ever since, gymnastics has played a vital role in Justin’s life.
Not long after returning to Canada, Justin heard about an audition for Cirque du Soleil. At the time, he was a high school senior performing in the school’s production of Man of La Mancha. With a love for both theater and gymnastics, Justin eagerly embarked on the nearly 10-hour train ride to Quebec to participate in the three-day audition.
One week later, he received a life-changing phone call. Justin was cast as a member of the house troupe in the Mystère show in Las Vegas. He moved to Montreal three weeks later to begin six months of rehearsals. As a member of the Mystère house troupe, Justin performed stunts involving a teeter board, Chinese poles and tumbling. After four years, Justin began to yearn for a more theatrical role, and he decided to leave the show to pursue acting roles.A few months after his departure, he received a call from Mystère creator Gilles Ste-Croix asking him to return to the show, this time in a character role. Justin returned to play the narrator, Moha-Samedi, for several months. His background in musical theater had prepared him for such a role, and his love of portraying a character was reinforced. Impressed with his work as Moha-Samedi, Gilles offered Justin a character role in the La Nouba show in Lake Buena Vista.Justin, a <="" b=""> resident, has played the role of one of the four Les Cons since La Nouba debuted in December 1998 at Downtown Disney West Side. The Les Cons, or The Nuts, are onstage for the majority of the show, comically observing the other acts.“We are the thread throughout the whole show, tying all the performances together,” Justin said. “We do silly things in between acts to take the focus away from sets and apparatus[es] being moved or set up. At the end of the show, we perform in the highenergy power track/trampoline act.”Though he has played the same La Nouba character for more than 12 years, Justin has never tired of the role.“There is a lot of creative freedom for the Les Cons,” he said. “We have set costumes and floor placings, but we can change up a lot of things, such as our expressions and interactions. I absolutely love that. For me, every show is a different show.”Justin believes one of the biggest rewards of being part of La Nouba is the opportunity to give back. In 2002, Justin, along with friend and former lighting operator Marian Malensek, developed the idea of donating La Nouba tickets to the Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida. Every three weeks, a La Nouba official donates two admission tickets to DSACFfor a child and a guardian. Justin serves as La Nouba’s ambassador, greeting the honorary guests prior to the show,then escorting them on a backstage tour. The guests watch as Justin applies his show makeup and transforms into his Les Cons character.“I like for the guest to see me evolve into the character, so that the transformation is not so intimidating,” he said.The special visitors also have an opportunity to meet the rest of the La Nouba performers, who sign their souvenir programs. After the show, Justin meets with his guests to say goodbye and hear their thoughts about the show.“The big smiles and hugs that they give me are always the highlight of the night,” he said.As for the future, Justin hopes to continue his acrobatic and character work with Cirque du Soleil for another five to 10 years.“After that, I would like to pursue other opportunities within the company in areas such as public relations,” he said.Whatever the future holds for Justin, his boundless energy and winning personality will surely guarantee him success.
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