LOS ANGELES -- Unable to juggle the cost of production after a pratfall taken by the American economy, the Moscow Circus has canceled its U.S. tour this year.
After performances in Chicago and a few other smaller cities this year, the New York company that produces the circus decided to cancel the rest of the 10-city tour, said Bill Franzblau, vice president of Circus Production Inc.
"Based on the economic conditions of the country, we decided to tour next year instead," Franzblau said. A projected drop-off in ticket sales, and not the recent upheaval in Russia, was the reason for the cancellation, he added.
The news comes as a disappointment to school groups and senior citizens who had already purchased tickets, said Brad Nuccio, advertising and promotion director for the Forum in Los Angeles, where the circus was to play in March.
"We're extremely disappointed," Nuccio said. "There are lots of kids who come to the show. It also is a very well-attended senior citizen show."
The circus' trademark bears, trained to walk on rolling balls, and the flying Cranes acrobats, with their intricate moves, are crowd favorites, Nuccio said.
The troop that comes to the United States, chosen from among the best of about 100 circuses in Russia, is twice as large as the Moscow Circus tour in other countries, Franzblau said. Those other tours still are performing this year, he said.
"It's a lot more expensive to do it here," Franzblau said. "It's a lot bigger show here, 130 people, when overseas there are about 50 or 60 people. But we have every intention of coming back next year."
"All entertainment is affected by smaller turnouts," Nuccio said. "Not markedly, but enough so you can point a finger at the economy. Entertainment is a discretionary dollar. We sell enough tickets here our two matinees always sell out. But we can't support the whole tour."