Big Apple Circus
Welcomes Guest Ringmaster
WNBC “Weekend Today in NY” Theater Expert
December 18, 2015 at 6:30pm at Lincoln Center
New York, NY- Big Apple Circus welcomes Guest Ringmaster Steve Schonberg to the Big Top at Lincoln Center on December 18, 2015 at 6:30pm for the company’s 38th season with the World Premiere of its all-new show, The Grand Tour.
Steve Schonberg is the editor-in-chief of Center on the Aisle (centerontheaisle.com), a top theater web destination that brings fans closer to the shows and stars they love through reviews and in-depth feature interviews. An award-winning media personality, journalist, and lifelong theater fan, he can be seen regularly on Sundays on WNBC “Weekend Today in New York,” sharing news, tips, and helpful insider perspective about the city’s abundant theater scene.
“The Big Apple Circus is an authentic New York institution and one of our time-honored theatrical traditions,” Schonberg said. “I’ve loved the Big Apple Circus for more than 30 years, first as a kid growing up here in New York, and now as a theater expert. There’s a shortlist of ongoing or returning productions you can point to and say with confidence that it’s going to be an incredible show. This is one of my favorites.”
Steve Schonberg created Center on the Aisle with the mission of helping theater fans connect with shows they’ll love and gain deeper insights on the stars they admire. As a child, Schonberg longed to know about the stars he saw on stage, and as he grew up, he realized that part of the magic – from the circus to Broadway – was how performers transform nightly and share their superhuman talents to entertain an audience. With this in mind, he presents in-depth, insightful, and personal interviews, revealing what drives these artists, and in doing so exposes universal and relatable themes that encourage loyalty to the theater art form. He does this alongside his staff of 15 writers, who present clear, objective, and easily-digestible show reviews to help anyone at any level of theater appreciation make an informed and confident ticket buying decision – with the goal of ensuring they’ll return for another production.
Schonberg’s interviews have also been featured on TODAY.com, The Huffington Post, and elsewhere, with celebrities such as Gloria Estefan, Barry Manilow, Jordin Sparks, Brian Dennehy, Laura Benanti, Eric Idle, Darren Criss and Jonathan Groff, among more than 100 other stars.
The Grand Tour transports audiences to the Roaring 1920s, the advent of the modern travel era, when the most adventuresome began touring the world in ships, planes, trains, and automobiles. With every seat less than 50 feet from the stage, audiences will be awed by the world-class entertainers as they perform breathtaking acts from the four corners of the globe. Clowns, jugglers, acrobats, and aerialists from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North and South America appear with ponies, puppies and more; the troupe sets off on a whirlwind adventure, accompanied by the live, seven-piece Big Apple Circus Band at each of more than 100 performances.
“The Grand Tour is a first-class jaunt.” – The New York Times
“A class act … Sophisticated and beautiful.” – The Village Voice
“Polished and fun.” – Daily News
“The Finest Up-Close Circus in America.” – Variety
“America’s Best Circus for Children.” – Parents Magazine
Four-time Big Apple Circus ringmaster John Kennedy Kane returns to introduce a variety of stunning performers: clowns Joel Jeske and Brent McBeth; third-generation circus animal trainer Jenny Vidbel with her pony and dog acts; aerialist Sergey Akimov; international juggling sensation Alexander Koblikov; ninth-generation circus performer Chiara Anastasini with hula hoops; the Dominguez Brothers defying the law of gravity with their thrill-filled act featuring the Wheel of Wonder; Chinese hand balancers The Energy Trio; the African acrobatic troupe Zuma Zuma; and the Dosov Troupe soaring on the teeterboard.
The Grand Tour, conceived and created by Joel Jeske, is directed by Mark Lonergan (artistic director of Parallel Exit, the three-time Drama Desk Award-nominated physical theater company) with associate director and choreographer Antoinette DiPietropolo. Musical direction by Rob Slowik, with clown material created and directed by Joel Jeske. Set and lighting design by Maruti Evans, costume design by Oana Botez, and props design by Katie Fleming.
As a nonprofit performing arts institution, the Big Apple Circus is committed not only to thrilling audiences in the ring, but also to bringing the joy and wonder of circus into the community. Big Apple Circus creates direct, shared connections inside its one-ring Big Top AND in hospitals, nursing homes, and schools, in its New York City home and in cities across America.
“These performers, many from circus dynasties, preserve an important tradition, reinforced by the nonprofit Big Apple Circus’s commendable community-service activities, notably the Clown Care program, which entertains hospitalized children. This company … doesn’t only have awe-inspiring acrobatic skills; it has a lot of heart, too.”
– The New York Times, 2014 Critics’ Pick
Big Apple Circus Clown Care® brings the joy of classical circus to hospitalized children at 15 leading pediatric facilities across the United States. Performers collaborate with doctors and staff to design a program to fit the needs of each hospital. Members of the Clown Care team bring the healing power of humor to children with acute and chronic illnesses, visiting nearly 225,000 young patients every year.
Big Apple Circus offers a specially adapted performance of the show, Circus of the Senses, for children and adults with vision or hearing impairments and/or other disabilities. American Sign Language interpreters are positioned in spotlights throughout the tent, and wireless audio headsets transmit a live audio play-by-play description of the action in the ring. Braille or large-print descriptive programs are available for audience members. A “touch session” after the show offers a unique opportunity for pre-selected groups of visually impaired children to go into the ring to meet the artists and literally feel a clown nose, a juggler’s clubs, or the silky coat of a performing dog. Big Apple Circus Embraces Autism provides performances with modified lighting and sound as well as a staffed calming center, to meet the needs of children on the autism spectrum. Inclusion is a core value at the Big Apple Circus, which is dedicated to delivering the finest circus entertainment to everyone, regardless of physical or cognitive ability, or economic circumstance.
Circus for All!®distributes free and subsidized tickets to schools and nonprofit organizations serving low-income children and families, enabling many of them to experience the excitement and wonder of the circus for the very first time.
Circus After School®teaches kids life skills such as teamwork, responsible risk-taking, and perseverance, through a structured program of learning and performing circus arts.
About Big Apple Circus
(Will Maitland Weiss, Executive Director; Guillaume Dufresnoy, Artistic Director)
Conceived and founded by Paul Binder and Michael Christensen to be a leading presenter of live family entertainment and a nonprofit performing arts institution, our nation-wide performances and community programs have made our 38-year history far-reaching and full. It all began in 1974, when American entertainers Binder and Christensen became juggling partners and took to the street corners of Europe. Their comedic juggling act was a hit, and they soon found themselves on the stage of the prestigious Nouveau Cirque de Paris. They returned home to America in 1976 with a vision: to entertain and improve the lives of millions of American children and families. One year later, they found a site for the first tent-raising in Battery Park, New York, and went on to create the award-winning, nonprofit Big Apple Circus. For more information, visit www.bigapplecircus.org.