Circus Flora has been forced to delay its latest production, “The Trial of the Century” — which was to run Thursday through June 28 — until June 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic. That’s bad news for the crowds that usually gasp in amazement at the goings-on under the Big Top in Grand Center and who have made the circus a St. Louis institution.
The good news: Circus Flora will sprinkle some magic online with a “Virtual Circus Showcase” on Thursday that promises to be a fun alternative to sheltering in place with the umpteenth rerun of “Law & Order.”
Among the acts scheduled to appear are horseman Caleb Asch, acrobat Melvin Diggs, clown and comic Adam Kuchler and the animal act Savitsky Cats, along with special guests.
Recently, Karen Shoulders, managing director of Circus Flora, spoke with Go! Magazine about the online presentation. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Q • At what point was it decided that it wouldn’t be possible to go forward with the season this summer?
A • In April. We were waiting and watching. Obviously, it was a difficult decision to make; we certainly didn’t want to have to postpone. But we’ll be back with the same show, “The Trial of the Century,” honoring the tickets and hoping that people will join us then.
Q • The online event sounds intriguing. Is this Circus Flora’s first venture into the virtual realm?
A • We’ve never done anything like this before. It’s going to be made available on the night we would have started our Big Top show this year. And it’s going to have some of our performers and a couple of behind-the-scenes glimpses at some of what some of our artists are doing during the pandemic, while they’re hanging out at home.
Q • Will the program have the circus vibe that fans have come to expect?
A • It’s not going to really look like our traditional production, but it will be an opportunity to see a handful of our performers. People can bring the Big Top into their living rooms and the show into their computers. And, hopefully, we’ll raise a little money to get us through this time as well.
Q • So the “Virtual Circus Showcase” will be available to watch for free, but donations will also be accepted?
A • Yes. This pandemic has affected us pretty strongly. As a nonprofit organization in St. Louis, we’re going to need the support of the community to get through this — and get to next year. And the event will stay live on our website. We might keep it up through the month of June, just so that people can get their circus fix.
Q • Circus Flora is hugely popular in this town. To what do you attribute its success?
A • We’re a summertime tradition for families, we’re a date night, we’re something that people can come to with friends. It’s an amazing thing.
What “Virtual Circus Showcase” • When 7 p.m. Thursday • Where circusflora.org • How much Free
"It’s not going to really look like our traditional production, but it will be an opportunity to see a handful of our performers. People can bring the Big Top into their living rooms and the show into their computers. And, hopefully, we’ll raise a little money to get us through this time as well."