The Flight Fantastic presents the world of the Flying Trapeze through one of its most famous families from the golden age of the circus in America. It presents myth, legend, and legacy of a magical and fascinating world, with some of the greatest aerial athletes and artists in the history of the circus.
When I was a boy and the circus came to town, my cousin Frank and I managed to score free tickets by helping with the tent and even carrying water for the elephants.
Whatever the hours we worked that day, the reward was a wondrous trip into another world.
At that time the circus was still under the big top, and it was just what it advertised—the greatest show on earth.
Oh, I’m sure I looked forward to the three rings of fun and excitement, but what I was waiting for was that magical moment at the end of the show when the dazzling trapeze troupe spun into the center ring, climbed to the top of the tent—and flew!
A fantastic flight! I never got over it.
Amazingly, many years later, I rediscovered the flying trapeze and in a thrilling time of reinvention and renewal, I too learned to fly.
But the greatest thrill of all was being welcomed into a family and tradition from the golden age of trapeze.
The legendary family that introduced me to this magical world is one of the greatest flying acts of all time.
So, as the ringmaster at Ringling used to say: “Ladies and Gentlemen, and Children of all ages… with ‘The Flight Fantastic,’ I introduce to you… The Flying Gaonas!”
Director, Producer, Cinematograher
The Flight Fantastic: A Story of Legend and Legacy on the Flying Trapeze, is Tom Moore’s first documentary feature. Mr. Moore previously directed Night Mother, starring Sissy Spacek and Anne Bancroft. His short film Journey, made for the American Film Institute, won two international film awards.
On television, he directed Disney’s first original musical for television, “Geppetto”, starring Drew Carey and Julia Louis-Dreyfuss; “ER” (Emmy nomination), “Mad About You” (Emmy nomination), “L.A. Law” (Emmy nomination), “Huff,” “Mismatch,” “Gilmore Girls,” “Ally McBeal,” “Felicity,” “Lateline,” “Nothing Sacred,” “Dharma and Greg,” “Suddenly Susan,” “Something So Right,” Cybill,” “Pride & Joy,” “Thirtysomething,” “The Wonder Years” (the episode ‘Square Dance’ won the Humanitas Prize), “Almost Grown,” “Cheers,” “Picket Fences,” “Civil Wars,” “Northern Exposure,” “The Class Of ’96,” “Good Company,” “Boston Common,” “Maybe It’s Me,” “The Court,” “The Late Night Fridays,” and the pilots of “First Years,” “50-Minute Man,” and “The Flamingo Kid”. He also directed the television movies “Maybe Baby” and “Fine Things.” .
In the theatre, Mr. Moore is best known as the director of Night Mother (with Kathy Bates and Anne Pitoniak) which won the Pulitzer prize, and for which he received his second Tony nomination, and for the original Grease, which ran for eight years and is one of the longest running shows in the history of Broadway. (Over the years, this production introduced Barry Bostwick, John Travolta, Richard Gere, Peter Gallagher, Greg Evigan, Treat Williams, Patrick Swayzee, Marilu Henner, Adrienne Barbeau, and countless others who now work steadily in theatre, film, and television.) He most recent Broadway production was the Moon Over Buffalo with Carol Burnett. A documentary, Moon Over Broadway by Pennebaker-Hegedes, which followed the production from rehearsals to the Broadway opening, has been played in theatres, on television, and is now on video and DVD. His first Tony nomination was for the direction of the Big Band Musical Over Here, which brought the Andrews Sisters out of retirement. Other Broadway productions include the critically acclaimed revival of Once in a Lifetime (with John Lithgow, Deborah May, Treat Williams, and Jayne Meadows) at the Circle-in-the Square, Division Street, The Octette Bridge Club, A Little Hotel On The Side with Tony Randall and Lynn Redgrave, and the short-lived, but legendary Frankenstein at the Palace Theatre..
Mr. Moore has a long time association with the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles where he directed Feydeau’s A Flea In Her Ear, Division Street (premiere), A Month In The Country by Turgenev, Wild Oats (for the Olympic Arts Festival), Night Mother, and Ayckbourne’s Henceforward (with Jane Krakowski & John Glover). In Los Angeles, he also directed Hay Fever, at the Ahmanson Theatre (with Celeste Holm and Charles Kimbrough) and Once in a Lifetime in a special benefit for the Los Angeles Classic Theatre Works (with John Lithgow, Marsha Mason, Amy Irving, Helen Hunt, Ed Asner, and Robert Foxworth, where he also directed The Pentagon Papers. At the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, Mr. Moore directed Knock Knock, Hotel Paradiso, The Little Foxes, and Chekhov’s The Three Sisters.
Also in San Francisco, he directed The Boys In Autumn with Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas. He directed Loot at the Tyrone Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis; Once In A Lifetime at the Arena Stage in Washington D.C.; Our Town (with Geraldine Fitzgerald as the stage manager), Hay Fever (with Celeste Holm and John Glover), and The Manwoman Of Chaillot (with Kathryn Helman) at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Mass.; The Importance Of Being Earnest, Fallen Angels, and the world premiere of The Lady with All the Answers at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, and Traveler In The Dark (with Sam Waterston & Hume Cronyn) and Night Mother at the American Repertory Theatre in Boston.
Mr. Moore has directed two productions of Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard, one at the La Jolla Playhouse (with Lynn Redgrave), and the other, with Marsha Mason, was the premiere stage production at the LENSIC Center for Performing Arts for Santa Fe Stages. He also directed the Brian Friel adaptation of A Month in the Country for Antaeus Theatre Company, and When Something Wonderful Ends, for the Ojai Playwrights Conference, the Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville, and Interact Theatre in Philadelphia.
Mr. Moore taught and directed at the State University of New York at Buffalo, Brandeis University, and the University of London, England. He was artistic director of the Peterborough Players in New Hampshire, and he has lectured at the Seminar in American Studies in Salzburg, Austria. Moore also directed the National touring companies of Grease and Night Mother, and presented Night Mother at the Spoletto Festival in Italy. Mr. Moore recently ended a 12-year term on the Executive Board of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, where he was given the Presidents Award, and he presently serves on the Advisory Board of the Yale School of Drama.
Mr. Moore was a fellow at the American Film Institute, and he holds a B.A. from Purdue University and an M.F.A. from the Yale University School of Drama. He was also awarded the degree of Doctor of Fine Arts, honoris causa, by Purdue University.
As an avocation, Mr. Moore is also involved with the Circus Arts, and spends as much time as possible on the flying trapeze.
Jonathan Lucas has been in the film industry for over 25 years. He started as a production runner at Twickenham film studios in the U.K. before deciding to try his hand in the cutting rooms.
Working his way through the ranks he was a first assistant on many studio films including, The Fast and the Furious, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and Troy. He also was a visual FX editor on both 101 and 102 Dalmatians and an associate editor on Waterworld and The Postman. He moved to Los Angeles when he got his break as an editor on Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride before returning to edit live action films that include the Weinstein’s movie Dirty Girl and Hideaway starring Josh Lucas and James Cromwell. After completing editing on the The Flight Fantastic, he returned to live in the U.K.
John Harrison is a cinematographer based in Seattle. In 2002 he saw James Longley’s documentary Gaza Strip and was moved by its remarkable combination of beautiful images and deeply human moments. Since then, his work has been strongly influenced by other great vérité filmmakers, especially the Maysles Brothers, Frederick Wiseman, and Haskell Wexler’s work in MEDIUM COOL. Films by Malick, Lubezki, Elswit, Van Sant, and Savides have also been inspirational.
John’s films have screened in the world’s most prestigious film festivals and won numerous awards, including an Oscar Nomination for the film Kavi (Best Live-Action Short Film Nominee, 2010) and the Student Academy Award for Viola (2008). He is a graduate of the University of Southern California’s film production program (MFA, 2008), the University of Washington’s department of Spanish (BA, 2003), and is (still) proud to say he made the All-League Honorable Mention Team for soccer as a senior in high school.
Masha Nordbye is an award-winning Television/Documentary producer & writer who has traveled through more than 100 countries and has worked on hundreds of documentary projects around the world. She has been involved in circus productions for more than 25 years, when she first produced a National Geographic Special on the Russian Circus, filmed across the former Soviet Union, and helped organize the U.S. Tours of the Moscow Circus. Masha has been an avid trapeze flyer for many years on rigs from Moscow to Macau, and continues to take lessons with Ritchie Gaona in California.