Seth Bloom, who performs with his wife Christina Gelsone in the Big Apple Circus, dons a half-mask and wig as “Monsieur” of the Acrobuffos.
Photo by Florence Montmare
by Elaine Durbach, NJJN Staff Writer
March 13, 2013
Could “my son, the clown” become the new refrain of proud Jewish mothers? A Jewish boy from the Jersey Shore, Barry Lubin, won acclaim as Grandma, the beloved mainstay of The Big Apple Circus. He retired last year and has been replaced by Seth Bloom, who also happens to be Jewish.
The two met on the circus circuit in Europe and became friends. In an interview from his home in New York, Bloom said he had wanted to be part of the show “since I first saw the Big Apple when I was 19. I’m 38 now, and I’m delighted that it’s worked out.”
It was Lubin who first urged Bloom to apply to join the circus five years ago, and he did. But he and his partner — in the circus ring and in marriage — Christina Gelsone, have a particular style, using half-masks and period costumes. It wasn’t until this year’s old-style show, Legendarium, that the couple — known as Madame and Monsieur of the Acrobuffos — found their place in the Big Apple.
As a child Bloom had no intention of becoming an entertainer. But after he took a Ringling Brothers course in clowning as a teen, his fate was sealed. “The educational aspect got me hooked,” he said, “the idea that you could use comedy to inspire kids to read.”
He worked with groups around the country, doing things like stilt walking, juggling, riding a unicycle, and eating fire. “You’re not likely to get rich clowning, but you make a lot of people laugh, and that’s pretty great,” he said. Bloom went on to study at the London International School of Performing Arts and the Dell’Arte School of Physical Theatre at Wesleyan University.