A Tentful of Excited Children of All Ages Enjoyed Big Apple Circus’ Holiday Season Benefit
By: Ellis Nassour
At the first of, hopefully, many more, a full afternoon into evening good time was had by all at New York’s homegrown Big Apple Circus’ Holiday Season Family Benefit on Saturday under the big top in Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center. From the 3:30 gate opening until after the 7 P.M. after-party, there was food, drink, clowning, photo opts galore, and a performance of Luminocity, set against the backdrop of Times Square and Broadway, one of the best BAC shows in recent years.
There was hilarious, interactive pre-show entertainment by a large contingent of BAC’s Clown Care Unit. Premium ticket holders enjoyed pre-show family refreshments – juices, sodas, Goldfish crackers, and hors d’œuvres from Canard Caterers of mini-pizzas, wrapped Caesar salad, Cuban sandwiches, and desserts; and for the adults, wine and cocktails.
A full performance of Luminocity followed with audiences enjoying cotton candy, hot dogs, juice and sodas, and a boxed dinner. The post-show party in the performance ring included live music and dessert with the circus stars, and gift bags will with BAC goodies.
Among special guests were BAC co-founders recently retired Michael Christensen and Paul Binder, who was also the circus’ long-time ringmaster.
Sponsors for the event were the Mary Jane and Charles Brock and the Brock Family Foundation; UBS global finance; U.S. law offices of Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP; Pia & Jimmy Zankel; Doug Forsyth/Excalibur Tile Co.; the Goldenheim Family; and Phil and Wendy Renshaw-Lewis. Benefit committee patrons included Gilbert Gottfried, Dustin Hoffman, Virginia and Richard Keim, John Turturro and Katherine Borowitz, and the Frederick Clark, Jeffrey Keimweiss, Susan May-Mclean, Charles Reich, Lynn M. Stirrup, and Peter Weingard familes.
In August, the Brock Family Foundation feted BAC with an event catered by Canard at the Brock’s East Hampton home, which featured strolling entertainment, performances by artists of the circus’s Clown Care unit, giant balloon sculptures, and Hampton and Manhattan movers and shakers.
Mary Jane Brock, vice-chair of the BAC board, says, "I’ve been blessed to be involved for 30 years and love sharing the joy and excitement of New York’s home-grown Big Apple Circus and the art form of circus and bringing attention to its amazing outreach programs that touch those across generations."
The mission of the nonprofit Big Apple Circus is "to enhance the quality of life with the joy and wonder of classic circus arts, both through performances under the big top tent and through dedicated outreach."
Proceeds from the Family Holiday Benefit and performance revenue from BAC’s New York engagement and its 11-month tour support outreach programs engaging seriously ill children through weekly hospital visits by the BAC Clown Care Unit [founded by Christensen], a national program and the oldest unit of its kind, sending performers to entertain in pediatric hospitals across the country; seniors; disadvantaged families: and the acclaimed Circus of the Senses for blind, deaf, and cognitively-impaired children.
For more information on the Big Apple Circus, its performance dates at Lincoln Center and its programs, visit www.bigapplecircus.org.