Legendary Nik Wallenda To Headline Big Apple Circus Comeback Season At Lincoln Center and On Tour
Big Top Works, the new producers of BIG APPLE CIRCUS, are pleased to announce that ten-time world record holding high wire artist, aerialist and bona fide daredevil Nik Wallenda will headline BIG APPLE CIRCUS's triumphant return to New York City, and national tour, for its 40th anniversary season. The circus returns to its longtime home at Lincoln Center's Damrosch Park, where it will celebrate its opening night on Thursday, October 26, and run through Sunday, January 7, 2018 before launching a national tour. Additional acts, tour cities and dates will be announced on a later date.
"It is a huge honor for me to be a part of the revitalization of Big Apple Circus during this pivotal moment for our industry," said Wallenda. "The circus is one of the most special forms of entertainment in the world - it's thrilling, artful, inspiring and universally accessible to audiences of any age, gender or culture. Along with the team at Big Apple Circus, I look forward to creating an unforgettable show that will both honor the legacy of this incredible organization, and delight modern audiences with an act never-before-seen under the Big Apple big top. "
Nik Wallenda is a seventh-generation performer of the legendary "Great Wallendas" family, who trace their roots back to the Austro-Hungarian empire in 1780. Nik's great-grandfather, Karl Wallenda, brought the Wallendas to America in 1928 to perform in Ringling Brothers' and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Known worldwide for his incredible feats upon the high wire and beyond, Nik's career began at the age of 2, learning to walk the wire while holding his mother's hand, and from there has led to record breaking performances across the world. In 2012, he fulfilled his lifelong dream to become the only person to walk directly over the precipice of Niagara Falls, covered live by ABC. In 2013, he was the first person to walk a wire across the Grand Canyon, an epic event aired live by Discovery Channel in 178 countries, breaking network rating and social media records in the process. Nik is the holder of ten world records, among these the highest 4-level 8-person pyramid on the wire, the highest and longest bicycle ride on a wire, and hanging from a helicopter by his teeth. His 2014 Discovery Channel TV special saw him set 2 Guinness World Records for the highest incline and blindfolded wire walks in the city of Chicago. In April 2015, he set his latest Guinness World Record, walking atop the 400ft tall Orlando Eye live on NBC's Today Show.
"For me, every step on the wire is a tribute to my great grandfather, who is the inspiration behind everything that I do," continued Wallenda. "The walks at the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls were such a thrill, but I'm so excited to return to my true passion, which is performing under the Big Top, where I can connect with the audience in a real way - especially in the intimate atmosphere of Big Apple Circus, where no seat is more than 50 feet from the ring!"
Big Top Works, an affiliate of Compass Partners LLC, became the new owners of BIG APPLE CIRCUS on February 14, 2017 following a live auction and approval from the Board of Directors. Big Top Works is comprised of Compass Partners managing partners Richard Perlman, Jim Price and Barry Salzman (who is the lead partner on the Big Apple Circus venture), as well as industry veteran Larry Solheim - who has a 30-plus year career working on and general managing circuses including BIG APPLE CIRCUS's 2015-16 season - and Neil Kahanovitz, a renowned spine surgeon, theatrical producer, and former circus performer. The new producers share a passion for, and history with, the circus arts and are building a sustainable business plan that will revitalize the BIG APPLE CIRCUS while also honoring the legacy of its 40-year history. In addition to exceptional programing, Big Top Works is committed to maintaining BIG APPLE CIRCUS's established community outreach programs including the Circus of the Senses, Autism performances and Circus for All - in New York City and on tour in the 2017-18 Season.
The BIG APPLE CIRCUS was founded in the summer of 1977 by circus performers Paul Binder and Michael Christensen, with a mission to present authentic and thrilling circus arts, in the intimacy of the one-ring Big Top, for audiences of all incomes. By 1979 the Circus was generating enough money to fund two Circus Arts Schools and in 1983, launched its first tour. Throughout its 40-year run, BIG APPLE CIRCUS distinguished themselves by offering many community outreach programs including providing free tickets to underprivileged children and underserved schools.