By Samantha Joseph
STUART - A noted animal trainer who's worked in Hollywood for decades returns to the Lyric Theatre for a performance to benefit the Humane Society of the Treasure Coast.
Joel Slaven worked on the "Ace Ventura" movie series, and was an animal trainer for Cypress Gardens and Disney's "Mickey Mouse Club." He has also made several appearances on the Lyric's stage with famed animal trainer, Jack Hanna.
But on Nov. 3-4, he and his animal troupe will stage a show worthy of the big screen, organizers said.
The lineup of exotic animals from across the globe includes lemurs and African porcupines, as well as rescues from across the U.S.
"This will be a fun and entertaining learning experience," said Frank Valente, the Humane Society's director of operations.
"Joe is one of the foremost animal trainers in the world. His animals have been on several television shows and movies, but this is the first time he's appearing as the headliner at the Lyric Theatre."
Mr. Slaven's career began about 40 years ago, when he worked as an animal trainer at the Columbus Zoo in Ohio with Jack Hanna, a television personality who has appeared on several networks.
"From there he forged his own path, working as head animal trainer and show producer for parks and entertainment venues across the country. His multi-decade experience with a wide variety of animals promises a show that is filled with wildlife from around the world," said publicist Doreen Poreba in a press release for the Humane Society.
Mr. Slaven also created Joel Slaven Professional Animals, a company that has grown to become the world's largest producer of domestic animal shows. His organization also works with shelters to rescue hundreds of animals, including cats, dogs, rats, ducks and pigeons, Ms. Poreba said.
His appearance in Stuart is the result of a joint effort by the Lyric Theatre and the Humane Society of the Treasure Coast. The two groups will split the proceeds, with part going to help for shelter care for hundreds of animals.
"If we were able to sell out all the seats, we could theoretically make $5,000," Mr. Valente said.
The shows are slated for 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Nov. 3, and 3 p.m. on Nov. 4. Tickets for adults cost $25, and for children $15.
For more on tickets or information, call (772) 286-7827.