Ernest Albrecht, who has been trying to chase down rumors of a shakeup in top tier management, was able to get the Big Apple Circus to issue the following official statement:
“Neil Kahanovitz is focusing on other pursuits and is no longer working with the Big Apple Circus. We are extremely grateful to him for getting the circus to where it is now and wish him the best of luck with his new endeavors.”
Writes Albrecht, "Dufresnoy, in fact, continues to be involved in all aspects of the circus including the beginning discussions for the new tent show."
He's scouting and signing acts. West Hyler to direct new tent show, Housch Ma Housce to clown. Show to erect heavy aerial rigging and have people "flying around everywhere,” And I LIKE that. I have all along felt a lack of earthy excitement. Vidbel's horses and mutts are out, Olate dogs acts are in, set for two ring romps.
I have sensed a cloudy deviousness about the retired spinal surgeon who will have managed Big Apple for less than two years. This feeling is born partly of his shocking lack of ethics in touting reviews of the show (see my postings on the Wall Street Journal below). As circus producer, he seemed to favor a rather staid, if respectable, lineup of acts. This is not based on my seeing either of the editions. but of impressions gained from reading New York reviews.
Do we assume that lackluster business played a part? This would not apply here if a claim made to the Wall Street Journal by (new?) CEO Gregg Walker is true. He stated that Lincoln Center ticket sales jumped by 95% over the previous year. An astonishing accomplishment. If really true, one can only speculate on any number of possible reasons that may have hastened the doctor's exit. CEOs who produce such dazzling results do not as a rule suddenly disappear.
Reports Albrecht, "there are several rumored explanations still hanging about."
I feel a renewed hope for the Big Apple Circus spirit, but feel a futility in their flirtation with a second unit for big arenas. And I continue to believe that they need to let go of their insane addiction to the long Lincoln Center date, the punishing rental fees being what they are, and focus more on other city parks. Cunningham in Queens is heavenly. They say Brooklyn's Prospect Park is more beautiful than Central Park.
Where is Paul Binder?
And, they need to reach out and ingratiate the support of Big Apple circus founder Paul Binder, the best pied piper the show ever had. I am sure, with a smile and call for advice (heck, send him to Monte Carlo to scout acts), he would be a happy trouper once more. Better than that alone, offer him a second act as top dog -- but confine his role to the performance and hold him to the tight budgetary restraint of others whose control over the kitty is absolute.
Albrecht is riding the story, promising more news is it surfaces.