Show Review: Big Apple Circus “Metamorphosis” by Margaret Hart

To me, the circus is ubiquitous with childhood. Like Apple Pie and Lemonade, it never goes out of style. But for some kids, like my soon-to-be, 10-year-old son, the mention of the circus gets me a “been there, done that” response.  These days, teetering on 10, if there isn’t an app for it, or a video game associated with it, or a ball to kick on a soccer field or bounce on the basketball court, my son would prefer to do something else, thank you very much.

Giovanni Anastasini and Irene Espana

From the U.S., Giovanni Anastasini and Irene Espana perform an aerial space-age act – an ascent to amazement!
PHOTO CREDIT: Bertrand Guay/Big Apple Circus

Like a good mom, I ignored his response, and off we went to the Big Apple Circus in New York City. Guess what? From the minute the show began, he couldn’t stop laughing. I thought he would pull a muscle straining to have his hand picked for one of the audience participation segments for kids. His jaw dropped when two female contortionists squeezed their bodies into a box the size of small dog. He was agog at the daring young men and women on the flying trapeze.  His eyes twinkled (just like when he was two) when the small, fuzzy little bunnies appeared out of nowhere, followed by fluffy dogs riding on the backs of lamas. When it was over, he told me it was the best circus he had ever seen! 

I’ve been to the Big Apple Circus many times. But this time was different. The Circus has reinvented itself with a variety of performances taken to a new level of creativity, daring, and suspense. It makes sense that the show is entitled “Metamorphosis.” Not only do the performers transform themselves in numerous acts (wait until the end, and tell me if you can figure out how she changes her costumes), but the show is also a reinvention.

Metamorphosis still has many of the acts you’d come to expect: guided by the Ringmaster, there are illusionists, balancing acts, jugglers, acrobats, trapeze artists, adorable animals, and clowns, but all with a modern twist. In one aerial acrobatic performance, gymnasts perform alongside a flying three-dimensional replica of a spacecraft, complete with lights and smoke coming out of its engines. It’s like “Star Wars” meets the circus. In a word: awesome! Appealed to my little technology junkie.

We liked everything about Metamorphosis. The set designs are beautiful (the set was designed by a Tony Award winner), the costumes were inventive, colorful and magical, and some glowed in the dark. There is live music from the Big Apple Circus Band that’s terrific. The seating is intimate, so you see everything. No seats are more than 50 feet from the ring.

The Big Apple Circus “Metamorphosis” is playing through January 11, 2015 at Damrosch Park on the plaza at Lincoln Center (62nd Street between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues). Tickets start at $25. You can buy tickets online at, by calling (888) 541-3750, or at the box office, located in front of the Big Top. Box office hours of operation are: Tuesday through Friday from 10 am to 8 pm, and Saturday through Monday from 10 am to 6 pm (or to 8 pm on weekend days when there is a 7 pm performance). Wednesdays are family shows, at 11:00 am and 6:30 pm, and you can get buy one/get one ticket free for a special 75-minute version of the show (no intermission). For Thursday evening shows at 6:30 pm, you can purchase a specially priced ticket package that includes a boxed supper. The show runs 2 hours with a 15 minute intermission. There are lots of treats, snacks and drinks for sale, and a spacious lounge area with tables and chairs to sit down, or you can take food to your seat.

If you are taking a trip to New York City this holiday season, you will need a break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday sights, sounds, and crowds, so get tickets to see the Big Apple Circus.

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