By Bohemia Agent David Ellis
The circus is in town! Big Apple Circus is once again under the Big Top at Lincoln Center until January. I was lucky enough to take my family to the show on Halloween. When someone asked my 4-year-old daughter what her favorite part of the circus was, she replied, “all of it.” Well, she’s right.
Founded in 1977 right here in New York City, Big Apple Circus is actually a nonprofit organization. Their mission is to invigorate the communities they serve with the joy and wonder of classical circus. As their website notes, they “create a unique shared experience in our tent as well as dedicated outreach programs in healthcare facilities and communities across the nation.”
Joel Jeske, a clown and a Bohemia Realty Group client,* conceived this year’s show The Grand Tour. The show is set in the 1920s and uses the many forms of transportation of the time as a backdrop for outstanding circus acts. This framework is a perfect vehicle to showcase acts from around the world. If you are a fan of P.G. Wodehouse’s writing, you will definitely feel as you are accompanying Jeeves and Wooster as they tour the globe. The scenery reflects that era in history, as do the costumes and music. My family and I reveled in the talents of jugglers, clowns, acrobats and dog trainers. But we were sitting on the edge of our seats watching the sparkly hula-hoop act, the solo aerialist and the men defying gravity on the Wheel of Wonder.
Circuses don’t have to be huge spectacles such as the likes of Cirque du Soleil or a Ringling Brothers three-ring circus. Big Apple Circus is a very family-friendly one-ring circus, where no seat is more than 50 feet from the stage. You can focus on one artist at a time, enjoy chatting with clowns before the show and even see the orchestra members playing their instruments. We also know that Big Apple Circus takes care of their creative team: human, canine and equine alike! Plus, if you attend a Halloween performance, your costumed little ones can participate in a parade in the circus ring.
But I must lay all of my cards on the table. I am a professional clown and have worked for Big Apple Circus as a teacher in the outreach programs. And while this means that I am a knowledgeable circus critic, I have to agree with my daughter’s take on the circus; I liked all of it.
*David Ellis of BRG rented an apartment to Mr. Jeske.