A well known circus creator has reportedly inked a deal to take over Club Fugazi in North Beach, the longtime home of Beach Blanket Babylon before its New Year's Eve 2019 closure.
"Danny Macchiarini, on behalf of the North Beach Business Association, has just announced that 'NORTH BEACH CLUB FUGAZI WILL BE THE HOME OF A NEW WORLD CLASS CIRCUS HERE IN SAN FRANCISCO!'" the newsletter says.
The nameless show is the work of Gypsy Snider and David Dower, and it's being billed as "a new circus-themed entertainment venture designed to draw audiences to North Beach from the moment performance returns in the city." As WBUR reported last fall, Dower just stepped down from his role as artistic director of Boston's ArtsEmerson. He said he was relocating to San Francisco to be closer to family and serve as executive producer of the U.S. operation of The 7 Fingers, the Canadian troupe founded by Snider.
With theaters like ACT planning for live shows by the summer or fall, this could mean the show is already taking shape.
Snider is most recently famous for serving as the resident circus creator for the 2013 Broadway revival of Pippin, directed by Diane Paulus. (See SFist's review of the touring production here.) But she's a daughter of SF circus royalty, having grown up in the famed Pickle Family Circus — the daughter of co-founder Peggy Snider and stepdaughter of co-founder Larry Pisoni. Thanks in part to the work of Pisoni and fellow clowns Bill Irwin and Geoff Hoyle, the circus went on to influence Cirque du Soleil and a modern renaissance in the circus arts — which includes the SF-based Circus Center, where Gypsy Snider trained with Lu Yi.
Speaking to Broadway SF Magazine in 2014, Snider credited Lu Yi with some of what she brought to the acrobatics in Pippin.
"All of the pole work you see in Pippin is based on traditional Chinese pole work that Lu Yi brought to San Francisco, as is the hoop diving in the show. And one of my favorite tricks in 'Extraordinary' comes from Lu Yi – a guy does a hand stand on six blocks and from the hand stand, pushes the blocks away and lands back on his hand."
Based out of Montreal in recent years, Snider is apparently returning home to San Francisco for this new show. Her most recent work with The 7 Fingers were two shows they created for Virgin Voyages, the Virgin cruise ship line — as reported in February 2020, just before the pandemic shut down the industry. The shows were titled Duel Reality and Ships in the Night, and were described by Circus Talk as "an acrobatic reimagining of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, staged as a sporting event for 12 circus performers" and "a multimedia cabaret for ten dancers and a singer, into which director Gypsy Snider places two young protagonists in search of their identity."
Below you can hear Snider talking about a show she created with The 7 Fingers in 2018 called Reversible.
Club Fugazi went dark last January for the first time in 45 years when Beach Blanket Babylon ended its record-setting run.
Here's hoping another show can be even half as successful in the space.