Emotional homecoming for executive producer of Le Cirque Artists Live

John Marshall High School graduate toured the world with Le Cirque du Soleil

SAN ANTONIO – After traveling and performing around the world, a hometown boy will be back Thanksgiving weekend as the executive producer of Le Cirque Artists Live, an international cast of singers, dancers, acrobats and other performers with the world-famed Le Cirque du Soleil, known for its high energy and creative entertainment.

Sal Salangsang, who grew up in San Antonio, said he promises “nonstop excitement” during their six performances Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Lila Cockrell Theater.

“The show is about showing off the best of the best,” Salangsang said.

Their three-day appearance in San Antonio also is an emotional homecoming for Salangsang, a John Marshall High School graduate.

“I would never imagine coming back to San Antonio to give back, and to be here, to be on a stage, to be in a place like this,” he said. “I hope I can do the city proud.”

Salangsang has gone from being Sea World’s first “Shamu” in San Antonio, followed by a 10-year career at the park, to performing in Las Vegas with celebrities like Tommy Tune and Rick Springfield, to becoming the “ringmaster” for Le Cirque du Soleil.

In planning the world premiere of Le Cirque Artists Live, which Salangsang wrote, produced and directed, he chose San Antonio instead of Australia, Japan or Canada

“I told them, ‘We got to do San Antonio.’ I grew up in San Antonio. I was raised in San Antonio. I love San Antonio,” he said.

Salangsang said he also saw the opportunity to repay the city where he was raised in a single-parent family by a mother who at times struggled to support her three children.

Earlier this month, Salangsang announced his plans at Sky Harbor Elementary to help others like himself back then, to realize their own dreams.

Salangsang said he’s dedicating a portion of the proceeds from this week’s performances for scholarships in the performing arts in the Southwest Independent School District and through the Cesar E. Chavez Legacy and Educational Foundation.

Salangsang also said when Le Cirque Artists Live returns next year, he wants to include students in the staging of the production.

“We’ll have them work on the next one and mentor them,” Salangsang said.

The following year, in 2023, Salangsang said the students will be able to apply to actually work on every aspect of the production, from picking the show’s name and theme, colors and costumes, to directing, lighting, sound and even makeup.

“A show by San Antonio kids with Cirque du Soleil performers,” Salangsaid said. “That’s my big dream.”

About the Authors:

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.

Bill Caldera has been at KSAT since 2003. He covers a wide range of stories including breaking news, weather, general assignments and sports.