Photos for New York Daily News by Andrew Savulich
Grandma’s on her way back, to rejoin the re-organized Big Apple Circus! And that’s, by far, the smartest move the new owners could have made. I'm impressed. New Yorkers now have a strong sentimental reason to return in droves as the show goes back on the road, come October at Lincoln Center. Having stood in ticket lines and sat with local residents though several Big Apple shows under the tent in Queens, I came to learn of their enduring affection for one of America’s legendary clowns.
In ringmaster red, Paul would be the perfect host to greet loyal New York patrons back into the tent. As a ringside announcer, he is one of the best, neither bombastic nor bland. Informed, gracefully enthused, most of all— gracious. He recently served as Celebrity Ringmaster for the New England Center for Circus Arts Circus Spectacular.
Another big plus, where Paul a part of the mix, is the natural, understated chemistry in the ring that he and Barry Lubin (Grandma) share The presence of the two would lend a feeling of a family tradition reunited.
Already, with Grandma signed, Compact will enjoy, and well deserves to enjoy, enormous respect from the city, and this move will give them, I believe, an emotional toehold into the town's very psyche. Bravo, Compact!
In other promising news, down Baraboo way Circus World excitedly awaiting a new and bigger tent, said to offer twice the seating capacity, for the summer circus shows. Says top man Scott O'Donnell to the Baraboo Republic: “We’re thrilled to have a tent with a larger capacity with the upcoming homecoming and all those crazy events – it’s going to be a well-used space.”
While the Ringling funeral trains rattle down tracks of finality, back to Sarasota for the last ride, while curious onlookers along the way rush in to snap selfies and to wonder why, and while others with a lifetime of memories shed tears over the most devastating chapter in American circus history, the circus world is not about to fall over and follow the Feld script. The circus world is still finding ways to adapt, to downsize if necessary, this when an emerging class of more vocal Americans are beginning to make their more populist voices known in the court of public opinion, too long dominated by small bands of activists. Say the new dissenters in growing mass, We want animal acts!
On this critical subject, writes Barry Lubin on his Facebook, as quoted in Circus Report: “There is only one American circus that god rid of elephants last may and is closing this May. It’s a big one for sure. It was my home base for 5 seasons. I feel terrible for those losing their jobs .... but may I make a suggestion: If yah like circus, go see other wonderful shows crisscrossing the American landscape these days. The living breathing American art form we call circus ain’t dead!
Show us the way, Grandma!