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Coney Island Circus Sideshow
The last traditional 10-in 1 continuous sideshow performing in a circus or amusement context includes a cast of live professional performers, many at the top of their field. Located in the home of sideshow culture, in an official New York City Landmark with its own sideshow pedigree, and offering traditional shows and Sideshow School, our facility is to sideshow culture what the Actor’s Studio is to American acting: we are the International Center of Sideshow Arts.
This work takes place in our facility, Sideshows by the Seashore. It represents the origins of American Theater, starting with PT Barnum in 1842, and continuing through the mid-20th c. changes to entertainment culture with Houdini, Ringling Bros and Ripley’s Believe-It-or-Not and is also the home of the American Sideshow Hall of Fame. The Sideshow is one of our oldest and most important programs and of of the 15-20 different artistic programs we produce, it is the most visible, most egalitarian, and most memorable for visitors to Coney Island.
The continuous 10 in 1 format was once shared by other popular entertainments like burlesque and vaudeville but is quite rare today. All 10 acts are scripted with traditional dialogue going back half a century and the show represents a highly evolved and intricate structure in a field full of street-buskers. In addition, the Sideshow fulfills our goal of creating innovative artistic programming that seamlessly integrates with the fabric of the amusement area, bringing in foot-traffic from all over Coney Island and creating engaging and surprising artistic work for an audience who are not traditional theater-goers. And that audience is massive – they’re multi-cultural, primarily low income, and almost exclusively under-served by artistic programming in NYC.
In 2011 and 2012 we redesigned and upgraded the show, commissioning a new generation of props and canvas banners. All of this investment was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. Before we begin the 2013-14 season, we’ll attempt to rebuild some of that material and during the project period, we will run 7 days per week from July 1 through September 2, followed by two weeks of Thurs-Sun shows until the season is over.
Although we are a family friendly show, we also have a reputation for encouraging new directions and trends in our field: this year’s cast will consist of 10 performers, several of which are new to our stage and several visiting artists. In the past, the world's foremost sword swallowers and fire eaters have worked in our cast, and we’re excited to welcome group of assertive young "born different" performers this summer who think the talented and handicapped have as much right to be rock stars on stage as doctors and lawyers. As such, we will be hosting a number of guest performers: Lil’ Miss Firefly, “the Midget of Mischief”, who stands 27” tall but has a big list of credits to her name, including touring with Ozzy Osbourne, Marilyn Manson, Justin Timberlake and others; and Mat Fraser, the worlds foremost international spokesman for the disability rights community, MC of London’s Special Olympics, and producer of “Thalidomide! The Musical”. In addition to guests, our core cast will include several new and emerging performers of note, including The Original Gumby (contortionist), Ray Valenz (MC and human blockhead), Betty Bloomerz (Sword Swallower), Rush (stretchable-skinned boy), Angelica (fire eater), and Serpentina (Snake Charmer).
The 2013 sideshow will remain at an affordable price, in keeping with our mission, although, because of the extraordinary costs of rebuilding after Sandy, we are hoping to find alternative ways of subsidizing this ticket price – through additional memberships, a donation drive at the ticket box, and new ways of communicating who we are to visitors who think we’re just “a part of the amusement park”.
YOU ARE GOING TO SEE 10 LIVE ACTS & ATTRACTIONS!
Current sideshow cast members are:
- Scott Baker
- Ray Valenz
- Betty Bloomerz
- Princess Pat
- Rush Aaron Hicks
- Alejandro Dubois
- Leo The Human Gumby
*Please Note: Not all performers perform on the same days
Performers you can book through us:
- Scott Baker
- Bambi the Mermaid
- The Great Fredini
- Dick D. Zigun
- Kryssy Kocktail
- Adam Realman
- Princess Pat
- Gary Dreifus
- Lee Alan Barrett
SCHEDULE FOR 2013
CONEY ISLAND CIRCUS SIDESHOW
May 25, 26, 27, 1pm - 8pm (last ticket sold at 7pm).
June 1, 2, 8, 9, 1pm - 8pm (last ticket sold at 7pm).
June 12th through September 2nd, Daily, 1pm - 8pm (last ticket sold at 7pm)
September 7, 8, 14, 15, 1pm - 8pm (last ticket sold at 7pm).
All hours are subject to weather conditions and the size of the crowd at the amusement park on that particular day; hours of specific performers are also subject to change.
Jennifer Miller - June 12 - 15, June 19 - 23, June 26
Mat Fraser - July 12 - 13
Lil' Miss Firefly - August 6 - September 2
Tickets can be purchased at the door only on the day of performance. We do not take reservations for the sideshow. The price is $10 for Adults and $5 for children under 12 years old. We reserve the right to discount our prices and run periodic specials if you can catch one. The show may also stop selling tickets during inclement weather. Please note: Mermaid Parade and 4th of July, all tickets are $10. A complete show takes approximately 45 minutes from the time you enter the show. We do not allow photography, videotaping or sound recording of the show.
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.