Big Apple Circus photo fiveThe Big Apple Circus has been long regarded as one of the classiest circuses around. Its latest production, The Grand Tour, marks the company’s 38th season, and gives audiences many reasons to continue such praise. The show is much more than sawdust and popcorn. It’s a dazzling display of live music, acrobatics, juggling, dancing, animal tricks and clowning, set to a backdrop of the Roaring ‘20s, at the advent of the modern transportation era, when travelers ventured across the globe via ship, train, automobile and plane.

There’s lots to be dazzled by, for children and adults alike, in this intimate setting where all seats are less than 50 feet from the ring. Directed by Mark Lonergan (artistic director of Parallel Exit, the three-time Drama Desk Award-nominated physical theater company) and conceived and created by clown performer Joel Jeske, The Grand Tour makes one feel as much under the big top as under the dazzling lights of Broadway. Before any feats are even performed, our attention is directed to the original music played by a live seven-piece band (conceived and arranged by David Bandman, Peter Bufano and Jeffrey W. Holmes), followed by the company dancing in unison to the Charleston (thanks to Associate Director and Choreographer Antoinette DiPietrrololo), under the arch of vintage travel posters announcing such destinations as Paris, London and the Orient.

With period costumes and international garb, the world-class entertainers transport us to another time period, while leaving us speechless by their super strength and agility. Four-time Big Apple Circus ringmaster John Kennedy Kane introduces a variety of stunning performers including clowns Jeske and Brent McBeth; third-generation circus animal trainer Jenny Vidbel with her sensitive pony, horse and dog acts; ninth-generation performer Chiara Anastasini, who flawlessly spins innumerable metal rings over her entire body; Chinese acrobats The Energy Trio, with their inconceivable handstands; the Dominguez Brothers, who defy the law of gravity as they traverse the thrilling Wheel of Wonder; The Dosov Troupe, who soar with and without stilts on the teeterboard; African acrobatic troupe Zuma Zuma; aerialist Sergey Akimov; and juggler Alexander Kobilkov.

There are not only breathtaking acts, but also delightful doses of vaudeville and physical comedy for audiences young and old. Clowns Jeske and McBeth interact with the audience in the aisles before, during and after the show, wrestle with oversized suitcases, and splash each other with pails of water through portholes. Volunteers from the audience receive red-nose transplants and participate in a rigged game of musical chairs. During the 20-minute intermission, young children are invited to line up for free pony rides in the ring.

There’s no business like show business, and The Big Apple Circus’ production The Grand Tour is a magical show not to be missed.

The Grand Tour runs through June 12 under the Big Top at Cunningham Park, located at Union Turnpike and 196th Street in Oakland Gardens. To purchase tickets and for more information, visit

A special program, Big Apple Circus Embraces Autism, will take place on Tuesday, May 31, 2016 at 11am. Big Apple Circus has joined with world-renowned Autism Spectrum Disorders experts to adapt The Grand Tour for families with members on the spectrum and create a joyful experience for all. The adapted show includes the same world-class artistry as the full performance with a shorter running time, adjusted lights and sound, a calming center, pictorial social narratives, and specially trained staff and volunteers to assure a memorable event for everyone! All tickets to this special performance, a 75-minute abbreviated show, are half price ($12.50–$37.50).




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