Big Apple Circus Returning to National Harbor

The Big Apple Circus is back in the DC region for its second year. From February 14 through March 24, the Big Apple Circus will transform National Harbor into a big top with a modern twist for their 41st season.

Ringmaster Stephanie Monseu in the Big Apple Circus. Photo by Juliana Crawford.
Ringmaster Stephanie Monseu in the Big Apple Circus. Photo by Juliana Crawford.

A critically-acclaimed show, with award-winning choreographers, a Drama Desk Award-nominated director,  and intimate set design – this is not the Circus of yesteryear. The Big Apple Circus has updated itself for the modern age with the goal of creating a more inclusive, animal-friendly circus.

This year, with ringleader Stephanie Monseu at the helm, the Big Apple Circus promises a female-powered show. Along with Virginia Tuells, the “strongest mom in the world,” and third-generation circus animal trainer Jenny Vibel (the Big Apple Circus only uses rescue horses and dogs – no elephants, lions, or other animals), and many more, the roster of superhero talent is nothing short of awe-inspiring.

The goal is a more inclusive circus – one that not only puts female empowerment at the forefront but also welcomes in those with impairments. The Circus of the Senses (March 14th) offers special enhanced experiences for audiences who are blind, Deaf or low-vision while the sensory-friendly autism performances (February 22 and 23) feature lowered light and sound levels, and a “calming center.”

A $25 VIP package add-on that includes unlimited drinks and bites in the new Mirror Room leading to the Big Tent make the circus an option for young adults without children as well.

The Big Apple Circus is returning to the DMV thanks in part to Pikesville, MD-born surgeon Neil Kahanovitz, who always had dreams of joining the circus (he used to read books about how to build trapezes in his backyard) but turned in his clown nose to perform surgery on the likes of Supreme Court Justices. In 2017 he led a group of investors that bought the Big Apple Circus and last year was the first time the new company performed in the area, a signal of a new dawn for the circus and the opportunity for a seven-year-old’s dreams to finally come true.

The Big Apple Circus performs February 14 to March 24 at National Harbor – 238 Waterfront Street, Oxon Hill, MD. For tickets, go online

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