Neil Kahanovitz fell in love with the circus as a boy, and became a trapeze artist before qualifying as a surgeon. Now he’s running away to the circus again, this time to save it.
“Part of me really wants to do it, really wants to do it,” Kahanovitz told me in his mobile office, next to the big top itself in Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Square. “The mind says, ‘Do it.’ The body says, ‘You can’t.’ I suspect at some time before the season is over, I’ll probably get up there and swing.” His eyes are twinkling with the prospect.
His wife, Suzanne, has told him succinctly, and sensibly: “Don’t do anything stupid.”
Kahanovitz, the chairman of the Big Apple Circus, is both a former trapeze performer himself and one of America’s leading spinal surgeons—who has operated on three Supreme Court justices. He is also a partner in Big Top Works, the new owners of the Big Apple Circus who bought it in February after its nonprofit incarnation went bust. This is, Kahanovitz has said, the second time he has run away to join the circus.
The pressing question facing Kahanovitz, as the Big Apple Circus returns after being forced to cancel its 2016-17 season is, can he—and Big Top partners Richard Perlman, Jim Price, and Barry Salzman of the Compass Partners investment firm—save it from extinction in its 40th anniversary year.
Link to Tim Teeman’s Full Article at the Daily Beast.