As Seen on AskANewYorker.com
After a week of hard work redecorating my new bachelor pad all in white, it was time to return to the city lights of Manhattan and spend some quality time at New York City’s Lincoln Center. At the invitation of the company manager, Scott O’Donnell and my friend Kei Okoronkwo, my parents, His Highness Prince Waldemar, my mum, and I ran away to the circus; The Big Apple Circus. A “palace” of entertainment, the enormous tent glowed against the night sky, sitting between the Metropolitan Opera House and the New York City Ballet. A golden rotating globe, ala a Universal Studios theme park, proclaimed that within was The Big Apple Circus and its world famous international performers. The Big Apple Circus: “Dance On!” presented the best circus acts I have ever seen, and I have seen quite a few, from Monaco to Vienna, and Sydney to Berlin. Barry Lubin, 2002 inductee of the International Clown Hall of Fame, has played “Grandma” the clown in The Big Apple Circus since 1982. He reminded me of my all time favorite laugh your *** off movie, “Mrs. Doubtfire”, with Robin Williams. Grandma’s comical expertise and clown antics brought roars of laughter from the audience. Dancer, Mark Gindick, winner of two “Golden Noses”—NYC’s Downtown Clown Review Award, dressed in long shorts and a baggy red and white polo shirt, looked like any other kid at the circus until he started lockin’, poppin’, spinnin’, and hip hoppin’, entertaining us to the music that swelled with Broadway tunes. “Man this kid can dance,” I thought as Mark performed, and that Liza Minnelli’s choreographer, Luigi, of Luigi Jazz, and the guys from Broadway Dance Center, would be proud of him. My dear friend, cutie Mary Murphy, of “So You Think You Can Dance”, would probably not stop shouting out her excitement throughout his performance. I will take her there, when she is in town taping the “Wendy Williams Show”, to celebrate that she is back to being a permanent judge along with Adam Shankman and Nigel Lithgoe. Sorry Mia! But now, back to the Big Apple: to be exact, to The Big Apple Circus.
Ringmaster and vocalist, Kevin Venarados, the synchronized teamwork of The Kenyan Boys, the dynamic Chinese WuQiao Acrobatic Troupe, and the spellbinding contortionists, the lovely young ladies of the X Bud Roses Troupe, provided the crowd with exciting, outstanding entertainment.
Jenny Vidbel, animal trainer and performer dazzled us with her stallion, and her ponies, dogs, and goats on horseback. She is a real cutie. My mother is not only the prince’s wife, she’s a lawyer and a politician, and most of all, she is a veterinarian. We looooove animals. So after the show, I took my parents backstage to meet Jenny and her animals, and Mummy said, “Oh I must get pictures of my two princes with the white horses!”, and we did, white horses and princes. It felt a bit like a Walt Disney fairytale. The ponies were so much softer than regular horses they felt like stuffed animals from The Teddy Bear Factory, or a Steiff Stofftier, as the Germans call them.
Other featured artists also performed for our entertainment. Rob Torres, a gifted visual comic, kept everyone belly laughing from the start to the finish of his act.
Juggler, Girma Tshehai Ayalew, held our full attention with his combination of juggling, gymnastics, acrobatics, and his multi-tiered synthesizer, as his juggle balls bounced and created a multitude of rhythms. The cool thing was, he juggled on a v-shaped plexiglass board. It looked like a clear acrylic, Philippe Starck chair, by Italian manufacturer, Kartell. For those who have not seen them, they are shaped like King Louis chairs. How do I know? You guessed it, that’s how royal guests rest when eating at my newly decorated bachelor pad.
Bulgarian native, Andrev Mantchev, amazed the crowd with his acrobatics and balancing act, all done on a tiny platform suspended in mid air. It was suspended with “strings”, and how they kept it stable enough, I don’t know. Last but not least, Russian born gymnast, Regina Dobrovitskaya, was whisked from the floor of the ring, high above our heads, and soared over the audience. Swirling and swooping, she wowed us all with her act which combined aerial casting cradle and Russian barre. The Big Apple Circus has been entertaining American audiences for over thirty years, and what’s a circus without its support crew? Its acts are assisted by the band, the ring crew, and the creative team, who help keep the circus running smoothly. And these guys are the ones who know all the behind the scenes secrets.
And behind the scenes is a jewel box of a village tucked away by the band shell on the grounds of the Lincoln Center: There are dozens of cars, trucks, and trailers, from vintage chrome ones, to villa sized ones with slide out patios, the kind that eat up an entire retirement fund. (Another time I’ll have to tell you about my own royal experience with Airstream trailers, camping, and tents.)
Our time at the circus ended too soon, but the many photos and memories we took away with us will live on. After having a really royal blast at The Big Apple Circus, I give their show, “Dance On!” a rating of 5 out of 5 crowns.
And don’t forget to live to the max! . . .Prince Mario Max