Run Away With The Big Apple Circus – “Luminocity” Show Review

When I was in 4th grade my elementary school held a talent show.  In addition to the students who actually possessed some sort of vocal, dancing or other performance talent, each class had to come up with their own “act.”  Since my class luckily had a few kids who could actually carry a tune, my teacher decided that we should sing a song, but what would we sing?  Around this time there was a relatively new musical on Broadway and its theme song “Join the Circus” was a catchy, upbeat and whimsical tune which was perfect for a bunch of nine and ten-year-olds to sing to an audience filled with parents, grandparents and siblings!


For weeks we practiced the song and paired it with a little routine.  One boy in class was chosen to be the ringleader and he got to wear a glitzy red coat and black top hat.  The rest of us dressed up in old-school clown costumes with big shoes, funny ties and big red noses!  My mom was a whiz at sewing and she hand-made my clown costume.   It was baggy aqua blue number with a pink netting collar, edged with pink sequence and the look was completed with a tall cone hat that had a pink fuzzy ball on top (gee, I wish I still had a picture of it to show you)!

From what I remember of that night, our class was a big hit – and the lyrics from that song have always stayed with me.   I’ll admit from time to time growing up I contemplated running away with the circus and come on, I know you did too!  The circus was so exotic and exciting — traveling from city to city, performing with trained yet ferocious animals and swinging high above the ground on a trapeze.  It’s too bad that I don’t even own a smidgen of performing talent.  Unless I wanted to sweep up the leftover popcorn in the stands, I realized early on that the circus wasn’t going to be my career.


This past weekend though, I got a chance to live out my little circus fantasy – for a few hours at least –when the family was invited by The Big Apple Circus to see and review their show “Luminocity” at TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater, NJ.


Getting ready to enter the Big Top (left) and clowning around on the right before the show.

The Big Apple Circus has been delighting audiences of all ages under its Big Top for 36 years by presenting live family entertainment and featuring world-class circus artistry, but this was my/our first-time ever seeing the show.

“Luminocity” is an entirely brand-new show and is an homage to the Big Apple Circus’ New York City roots.  The show tells the tale of a typical busy day the big city through the eyes & actions of its various circus characters with Ringmaster John Kennedy Kane acting as tour guide.

Right from the start this one-ring circus had a feel of actually being in Times Square with  a backdrop of lighted billboards, skyscrapers and even a live band performing from metal stands, meant to look like fire escapes on the outside of many NYC buildings.

Throughout the show we were entertained by a comical tourist clown and a marvelous flim-flam man who both included audience members into their acts which had everyone roaring with laughter.

THM_BigAppleCircus_Clown THM_BigAppleCircus_TyTojo

Clown Rob Torres loved our applause so much, he collected it in a little box as his own keepsake (left) and Ty Tojo is a juggling phenom, who kept it all up in the air

Fifteen-year-old Ty Tojo from Japan, who is a holder of three-time Guinness Book of World Records captivated us with his juggling routine.  He juggled no less than seven balls at a time – small balls, large ones and somehow juggled both in front and behind his body, all with exact precision, never dropping a single one!

We were awed and amazed by the strength, balance and agility of Russian acrobatic groups Acro-Duo and the Dosov Troupe, who tumbled through the air from their teeter-boards.

A little sample of the Dosov Troupe in action, you’ll really flip for them!

There were trained animal acts including dogs, horses and an adorable miniature pony.  And what circus wouldn’t be complete without a high-wire act!   It was truly a hold-your-breath sort of performance from Duo Guerrero. They are a husband and wife team, who danced, stood on each other’s shoulders, balanced on chairs and even jumped rope all way up overhead.  If that wasn’t enough, the wife (Aura) sang throughout the entire act!

JENNY_VIDBELTHM_BigAppleCircus_DuoGuerreroJenny Vidbel and her beautiful horses and husband & wife team of Duo Guerrero and their high-wire act

The Big Apple Circus’ “Luminocity” is a high-energy show that will have you and the kids on the edge of your seats.  My son told me that his favorite part was the high-speed juggling, while my daughter loved watching the dogs perform tricks.  I’d say mine was the Dusov Troupe – watching them fly through the air flipping, spinning and hitting every landing was exhilarating.  The show ran for about two hours and had one 15 minute intermission about midway thru.

THM_BigAppleCircus_GrandFinaleThe grande finale featured a Times Square countdown like on New Years Eve – with confetti flying!

This was a totally different experience than a traditional three-ring circus, but that’s what distinguishes the Big Apple Circus from others out there and it’s also is a big part of its charm.  This is a very intimate performance,  you are super close to the action.  In fact, no seat under the Big Top is more than 50 feet away from ringside so you feel like you are part of the show itself — at one point a horse’s head was right next to mine!  Also, while there were vendors selling programs, selling souvenirs, light up wands and cotton candy in the midway, they didn’t walk around during the show to hawk them – so we were able to enjoy the show without any distractions.  I think this is a perfect show for younger children, it will really keep them focused and entertained.

If you live in the NYC metro area and are looking for a fun way to spend an afternoon, you should definitely check out the Big Apple Circus’ “Luminocity” which will be performing at the TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgwater, NJ now thru Sunday, March 16 before moving on to Boston and then back to the NYC Metro area with shows in Queens.   Tickets start at $20 and ar available at or by calling (888) 541-3750.

Now it’s your turn to share. What’s your favorite act in the circus?




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For Full Disclosure: The Harried Mom was not compensated for this post, but did receive a complimentary tickets for the Big Apple Circus’ “Luminocity” show to review.  As always, the opinions expressed in this post and on The Harried Mom blog are all my very own and are not influenced in any way. Please do your own research before purchasing any products as your opinion may differ.


Copyright © 2014 The Harried Mom. All Rights Reserved.


  1. Eliz Frank says

    Interesting collaboration between the Big Apple Circus and Luminosity… I’ll call it cerebral fun. Love it. :-)

  2. says

    It looks like they have flawless form. I bet it would be fun to catapult into the air and be gracefully caught by a group of people. I bet the practices aren’t so fun all of the time though. 😉

    This sounds like a great show!

    • TheHarriedMom says

      The ones on the teeter-boards were AMAZING. They were in such a small, tight area and they were so precise!

    • TheHarriedMom says

      My son is still captivated by him days later. He tells me that he’s going to learn to juggle that many balls!

    • TheHarriedMom says

      I hadn’t been to a circus in 20+ years – but once the kidlets came we all got to go & have fun there!

    • TheHarriedMom says

      I still remember the first time my parents took me to Madison Square Garden to see the show. I got a little light on a string that I twirled around and around.

    • TheHarriedMom says

      The trained animals were super cute too. One dog even ran into the audience – he smelled a hot dog!

    • TheHarriedMom says

      Oh you so have to! I’m born and raised Jersey too – and I can’t believe I’ve NEVER been to this circus before. I always saw the commercials – but never went – boy was I missing out!

    • TheHarriedMom says

      This circus had a lot of foreign acts – I guess American’s aren’t so into it as a career.

    • TheHarriedMom says

      We’re seeing Ringling Bros next week – my fav is when the person gets shot out of the cannon, gets me everytime!

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