The Big Apple Circus ends its two-month New York City engagement of Big Top Doo-Wop, which pays homage to the 1950s, Jan. 6.
The Circus, a non-profit institution, has been a staple of the American performing arts industry for 24 years. The Circus’ one-of-a-kind programs including the Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit and Circus For All, designed to provide both fun and educational opportunities to disadvantaged children. The program Circus For All, for example, donates over 50,000 tickets every year to handicapped and financially disadvantaged children at substantially discounted prices or for free. Paul Binder, Founder and Artistic Director of the Big Apple Circus, notes in a statement that "As a result of the generous contributions received independently and through our Gala, the Circus is able to make a difference in children’s lives each year."
A couple of performances of the Doo-Wop run, which began Nov. 2, had to be cancelled and then rescheduled, owing to post-Sept. 11th jitters and schedule changes. City Hall had issued an edict "limiting the transportation of children in yellow school buses for purposes of field trips." This forced the Circus to reschedule a few shows. According to the spokesman, every ticketholder was notified by mail.
Still, some people showed up for the Nov. 16 show and were angry when turned away. "We are very sorry if anybody was confused or upset by the change in the schedule," spokesman Philip Thurston told Playbill On-Line. "We tried very hare to keep everyone happy."
Thurston added that New York City Schools Chancellor Harold Levy recently commented on the need to resume school trips into Manhattan. Still, the Circus expects a continued downtown in business. Attendance by school-age children is down by 70 percent, said Thurston. The Big Apple Circus season comprises 114 performances, 11 of them 11 AM shows geared toward school groups, of which two have been lost this year.