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Meet the Wannabe Ringmasters of The Big Apple Circus

Matt Roper

Age: 39

Home: Brooklyn, by way of Cheshire, England

Skill set: “I’m a comedian — I know how to keep the room alive at the Slipper Room, a burlesque lounge. That’s kind of a circus!”

What he’s wearing: “I think it’s a Queen’s Welsh Guard jacket that I got for [about $38]. I like vintage as long as nobody died in it.”

Why join the circus? “It’s family — you live together, set up [a] tent and take it down together, and create happiness. Then you get a check.”

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Victor WisehartAnnie Wermiel

Victor Wisehart

Age: 33

Home: Long Island City

Skill set: “In [the Broadway musicals] ‘An American in Paris’ and ‘Holiday Inn,’ I played a Russian choreographer and a Hollywood director. I figure ringmaster is next.”

Why join the circus? “Anything that brings social creativity to the masses is a special endeavor.”

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Ty McFarlanAnnie Wermiel

Ty McFarlan

Age: 47

Home: Blythewood, SC

Skill set: “I served as Ringmaster Ty at the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus for five years and over 3,000 shows.”

Secret weapons: “Being ringmaster is rigorous and requires discipline, and I served 13 years in the Army.”

Why join the circus? “The circus is 150 years old — older than Coca-Cola, older than baseball. Who wouldn’t want to be part of it?”

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Olivia SblendorioAnnie Wermiel

Olivia Sblendorio

Age: 37

Home: Santa Cruz, Calif.

Skill set: “I’ve been with circuses for 15 years. I started as an acrobat, got injured on the flying trapeze and became a clown. I’ve been clowning in hospitals and can bring joy, even on the worst days.”

Why join the circus? “Growing up in Brooklyn, I saw Grandma [the clown, star of the Big Apple Circus] and a lady on a trapeze and thought, ‘I can do that!’ That’s what the circus is about: inspiring people beyond what they think possible.”

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