In a recent production meeting on the Kelly Miller lot hosted by circus boss John Ringling North II in his “Jomar,” (no, not the rail car but a mobile version), ideas “were flowing,” according to inside information supplied to Showbiz David by show manager Jim Royal. Next year’s opus will feature two new clown production numbers and a walkaround from returning laugh-makers Steve Copeland and Ryan Combs. Shriners in greasepaint need not apply at this circus. And that’s good news.
Adrian and Nellie Poema offer an “incredible risely act,” in Royal’s estimation. And from what I’ve just seen on a couple of You Tubes, his high regard is well placed. At the very least, this charismatic family from Peru are a minor sensation who should hold their own in any ring or venue. They mix clean crisp executions with high-line showmanship and verbal comedy from the kids and a simple knock-out zippy zesty payoff. They will stop the show for Kelly Miller. And if properly used, they should provide plenty of color and personality to production elements.
“We are working on a rather interesting production number,” added Royal, “with some twists, but I can’t reveal it yet.”
North II is currently in negotiations with an unnamed aerialist whose appearance would mark a “first time in America” booking.
The diversified Rices, with a performing menagerie of dogs, camels, ponies and donkeys, are advancing to North II's payroll following two seasons on the Cole show. The veteran trainers arrive with some promising critical cache. A tough Brooklyn Paper reviewer this past summer termed two of their acts “a blast.” Crash Moreau rated their four-camel act the “best” he has seen on any show in years.
A “completely different” Friedman Torales twist on the rola bola is on the bill, reports Royal. Other returnees include Casey McCoy’s tigers, Armando Loyal’s elephants, and Natalie Cainin’s dogs recast in a “themed” number.
“The program is not complete at this time,” said Royal.
Impressively absent from Royal's e-mail are three entries from last year that all struck me as show retarders: hula hoops, motor bike up a wire, and a group horse-back riding effort that many charitably regarded as a work in progress.
So, what to think? Two dog acts on any show makes that show in my doggy opinion automatically twice as entertaining. Mix in the inventive comedy antics of admirably ambitious Copeland & Combs, add and season in those terrific Poemas, and it sounds like a ground pleaser in the works.
On paper, so far the spread looks out-to-lunch above the ring. Yet to be known is how JRN II will fill the air, and just who this sought after “first time in America” thriller might be.
Show goes into the barn this Monday.