After a short bankruptcy-induced hiatus, NYC’s own Big Apple Circus is back under the big top and ready to entertain for its 40th season. While the tent, the trapeze, the contortionists, and more are all set to return to their longtime home at Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park, this is not circus business as usual. For one, Big Apple has taken the concerns of animal rights activists seriously. There are no exotic or wild animals twirling in tutus here. The only furry performers are rescued horses, ponies, and dogs that live on their trainer’s (Jenny Vidbel) sprawling property.
“The production is really for modern-day audiences,” says Andrew Certilman, a spokesperson for Big Apple Circus. The spotlight will shine on extraordinary human performers, he says, not animals. “We know that kids and families today are watching and loving America’s Got Talent, which has done an incredible job of highlighting the amazing athleticism, artistry, and thrills that only a circus performer can provide. And we’re excited to have those fans here to enjoy these types of performances live and in person.”
The global performances include the legendary seven-person, high-wire pyramid executed by artist Nik Wallenda and the Wallenda troupe; they’re braving the ropes after a bad fall in February, which left five performers injured. Also on the high wire, performing a death-defying quadruple somersault: the Flying Tunizianis. There’s the acro-daredevil duo on roller skates, the award-winning contortionist, the juggler extraordinaire, world-class acrobats, and more. And this year, a perennial favorite is back after a five-year hiatus: kooky and lovable Grandma the Clown (and her sidekick, Joel Jeske).
Worried the show may be too overwhelming for your sensitive kiddo? “There are certainly nail-biting moments, but there’s nothing scary,” says Certilman. Plus, Big Apple Circus hosts sensory-friendly performances that feature lowered light and sound levels, as well as a calming center that anyone can access during the show. Adding to the family comforts: stroller parking, booster seats, and plenty of kid-friendly snacks.
Why You Should Go: How cool is it to see world-class talent from all over the globe right in front of your eyes? Plus, because no seat is more than 50 feet away from the action, everyone gets an eyeful.
Big Apple Circus
Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center
West 62nd Street (between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues), Upper West Side
Friday, October 27–Sunday, January 7, 2018
Tickets start at $37.50