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Buffalo to Big Apple Circus

John Kennedy Kane in The Big Apple Circus

Ringmaster John Kennedy Kane

Many Buffalonians will find their way to New York City over the holidays and I am often asked “What should I see?”

Seriously? It’s New York City! From Broadway, to Off-Broadway, to Off-off-Broadway, there are hundreds of shows! Not to mention Brooklyn. Plus ballet. Plus opera. Plus cabaret. In terms of the performing arts, Gotham is the Promised Land.

During the holidays, for something festive and certainly off the usual path, especially if you are taking children, I would certainly recommend The Big Apple Circus, which is in residence at Lincoln Center. I’m not kidding. They set up the big top on the South Plaza, right between the Metropolitan Opera and the David H. Koch Theater—including the trailer city where the performers live. This is an intimate one-ring circus with one ingenious clown and lots of acrobats. The animals are rescue dogs and farm animals—no elephants and big cats here. Of course, farm animals include not just horses, but goats, camels, and llamas at the Big Apple. There is also a porcupine, but he basically gets to do whatever he wants.

Most fun of all for a Western New Yorker, the Ringmaster has a familiarly upstate accent—he’s the remarkable John Kennedy Kane from “The land of ice and snow,” Buffalo, New York! (Jenny Vidbel, the animal trainer is from Albany).

All of the acts are eye-popping and fun. This year, the theme is “Metamorphosis,” so the roster includes the astonishing quick changes of Olga and Vladimir Smirnov; the truly unbelievable contortions and balancing of the “adorkable” Tatevik Seyranyan; and the gravity defying acrobatics of the Anastasini Brothers. And through it all, John Kennedy Kane takes the audience into his confidence and keeps the proceedings flowing. A great time is guaranteed.