Saturday, November 06, 2010

Open Memo to John Ringling North II: Please Hire Steve Smith To Direct Your Circus

Dear Mr. North,

In lieu of a cell call (I don't have your number) or a letter (time is of the essence), or a Twittergram (I've not yet taken up texting or tweeting or -- the latest -- micro-chanting) I am using this platform to reach you, optimistically assuming you will not deem my open memo pushy, but understandably urgent, trusting it will find its way to your attention. either in Oklahoma or Ireland.

I think I've found the perfect director for your show. His name is Steve Smith; you may observe this effervescent soul in action on the PBS series, Circus, about the making of a Big Apple Circus show. He strikes me as amply savvy to circus programing, a decisive figure yet armed with loads of lovely humanity for the job, not the type to traumatize your favored artists (or those you can afford, in default, to engage).

A nuts and bolts sort of guy, I can see Mr. Smith blending in well with your own more laid-back ways (not having seen you profiled on PBS, a la Paul Binder, I still assume you are laid back); a spark plug to jump start your visions into specific circus imagery.

Better yet, this Smith has extensive in-the-ring experience; he clowned six seasons for Ringling-Barnum (that other show that your uncles once ran) and he managed the Clown College for 10 years, 1985-1995. I feel sure Mr. Smith could lend guidance and emotional anchorage to your ambitiously dedicated clowns, Steve and Ryan, two guys who strike me as super consciousness, yet prone to intense introspective anguish whenever the audience looks the other way or fails to issue the expected guffaws.

Bottom line: I have a gut feeling you two would work well together. I realize, of course, this mere suggestion will ruffle some of your presently constituted staff. Blame it on me if you must. I can take the heat. I mean no harm to anybody in your employ, only a brighter future, possibly achievable through better or different direction. We here at Showbiz David (excuse the "we") just think you must advance to the next level of showmanship.

Smith is not permanently allied with Big Apple Circus, as you may know. Between you and me (all visitors, kindly advance to the next paragraph), since I imagine he would have more autonomy working with you than I assume he enjoys at Big Apple, he might well accept a modest compensation package, with or without mud-reflecting boots and a laptop for Kelly-Miller blogging thrown in.

Be assured I have no financial stake in this matter; I am not asking for a finder's fee or an agent's commission. I neither know the man, nor am I trying to establish myself (fun though it might be) as a talent clearing house for the circus industry, such as it is, in this country. Even were you to reward me with an under-the-table gratuity, like say a Ziplock wrapped package of those world famous peanuts you peddle so dramatically on your tenting tours, I would, a slave to my nutty archaic virtues, be forced to return them.

As you may or may not know, I've suggested right there that your show could benefit by sharper direction -- not necessarily a Dick Barstow ego-crusher, but a Mr. Smith -- assuming, (I must state in order to legally cover myself), that he is, indeed, the person I have so far witnessed him to be on the PBS program Circus. He seems to possess a rich range of attributes from diplomacy to cheer-leading, and this makes him the ideal candidate to help you produce a more finished and polished artistic attack on the audience.

Respectively yours,

Showbiz David
Unsolicited Mandatory Directives Division


Anonymous said...

JRNII: I to do not know of the man Showbiz writes about but he certainly sounds like a much improved replacement for Danny however, anyone who is less egotistical and more supportive of the management (ie. Jim Royal) would be a great improvement. (I am not a K-M employee)

Anonymous said...

Without a doubt,the Steve Smith you see on the PBS special, is indeed the Steve Smith who clowned on the Ringling show, ran Clown College for 10 years, directed the Ringling Red Unit production of "Children of the Rainbow", as well as at least 3 other BAC editions, as well serving as creative consultant for Academy Award winning animator Chuck Jones.

He is everything you see and so much more.

Greg DeSanto

Michael Newton-Brown said...

I know Steve Smith as a person, and I can't think of a better match for KM.
Steve is so creative, he also works for Royal Caribbean. He is so gifted,
and a warm, kind human being.