Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Cirque's Paramour Sinking on Broadway? ... Big Apple's Do-or-Die Deadline is --- Surprise! -- Extended Yet Again ... Ringling Over Ice Lifts off in LA Tomorrow ...

And how would you like your circus, Sir?  On sawdust?  Asphalt?  Over ice?  In a night club?  With or without animals? GMO popcorn?

Photos from The New York Times 

Space Ship SS Ringling lifting off for other worlds tomorrow in Los Angeles, complete with enough assorted animals to stock an Ark. Among them, lions, tigers, dogs, pigs, a kangaroo and a donkey. Just thinking about the setting, though, I feel cold and alien, Who thinks cold when they think circus?

One thing the Felds should go after are three performing hippos — Zlat, Yana, and Aida —  getting great press out of  Russia, a land where PETA dare not go.  They really do perform!    I can imagine them having a ball sliding over Feldified ice, doing their rollovers and slippery long mounts.  Trainer Tofik Akhnudov gets little help from a hard and spiritless  soundtrack; Happier music would give this act some levity. 

Covington Connected, continued: From Don came a link to the hippo rink, above.  And from Don, too, came a drum roll for a German circus with soul.  On stage at the Wintergarten in Berlin, All Night Long is not a  half way this or that mishmash.  All of the acts,  umbrella juggling to rolla bolla and aerials exploits, executed with clean smooth precision.  Such a perfect pleasure.  All of them serenaded by crooners swaying to  R&B ballads.  "I'm a soul man,"croons one, softly in the shadows.   A nice mix for the club crowd..  We have circus and symphony.   Now, they have circus at the cabaret.

How quickly times passes by!  North and Royal, circa 2006

Royally removed from the House of Ringling?  That’s what an inside source would have me believe, reporting that the departure from Kelly Miller of James Royal was hastened by John Ringling North II, for whatever the reason (bum business?) making the call.  James and Johnny were good fiends, and paired up when North gambled some retirement years and money on his acquisition of the Kelly Miller title, nearly ten years ago.  James called himself John’s Art Concello.  True to life, Royal would split from North, as Concello would split from his own North.  The Rawls appear to be handling the front end in Hugo. Jim is now working for Cullpepper and Merriweather.

Big Apple Circus calls its own beggar's bluff:   First, they cried: Unless you, the people, give us $2 million by the end of June, the show will not go on, period. End of story.  End of Big Apple.  Oh, sure, Paul! And I even got pulled into the act when The Observer interviewed me on the matter and used only my quotes about all circuses having a hell of a time.  Then, that do-or-die deadline got extended by a week.  Now, another extension, with allusions to various “other” funding sources in the works.  It’s all a charade that Paul Binder has played well over the years, with a little help from the New York press.  At past points of peril, the company got bailed out by — if I have this right — Kenneth Feld, Cirque du Soleil, and even, are you ready, Donald Trump.  Remember the Trump Tent?  BTW: I think Sir Trump could be another Barnum if he got the circus bug -- or gets bored in the White House.

Why Paul Binder should unfreeze his insane addiction to playing Lincoln Center:  Rental alone costs him half a million.  This bloated non-profit should  be forced to truly downsize, forced into a budget favoring saner options, like, say, a normal spring and summer season on more affordable lots.  Is Prospect Park still there?

Haven't I seen these Cirque amphibians in every other Cirque show?

Another Cirque bomb on Broadway?  The show’s curiously under-scripted Paramour, which opened to scathing reviews at the Broadway Theatre, took the biggest one week box office drop among shows that suffered declining patronage last week:  Down by 17% to an average house of 60.5%.  Under normal, non funded big tops, a show that averages half houses can stay at least solvent. On Broadway, under 70% too long, and your fate is likely sealed.

When Ringling lifts off  tomorrow in LA — it will be only two days short of 70 years since July 16, 1956, when Ringling gave up the big top for good.  Will this latest turn (sans elephants) revive the bigger crowds?  It certainly sounds like an attractive novelty that may reboot box office.  If you go, take a blanket and snow cap.  And think of those three Russian hippos — were they out there on the ice making the whole thing seem positively arctic primal.

About King Cole:  I'll say this, thank God that Dick Garden did not get his hands on the name Cole Bros. Circus of Stars.  There are, from what I have learned, many sad personal stories behind this latest episode, of trusting and faithful long-time Cole employees being left in the lurch and losing out big, one filing for bankruptcy.  I can only hope, as I know many others will, that yet another day will come for Cole Bros. Circus.

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