Ringling Brothers Announces Return of Greatest Show on Earth
An iconic emblem of an America that once was is returning. It was announced yesterday that the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus was planning a comeback. Feld Entertainment's Chief Operating Officer Juliette Feld Grossman made that announcement yesterday.
While the performances will still be billed as "The Greatest Show on Earth" this will not be the same Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus that many of us grew up on as children. There will be some modifications to the show, in fact, one of the largest modifications involves the reason a good many of us bought a ticket to the circus.
Feld announced yesterday that the 2023 relaunch would not include animals. The decision to not include animals as part of the relaunch of the circus brand was made in response to allegations by animal rights groups over the treatment of some of the animals that performed in the show. The relaunch of the circus will focus on human performers. But, Feld did suggest that certain aspects of technology would also be used in bringing the thrill of the circus to guests who attend its performances.
The coronavirus pandemic also played a huge part in the relaunch and revamping of this iconic piece of Americana. In March of 2020 as the pandemic was beginning to take hold Ringling Brothers had to recall some 3,000 performers and crew members scattered across the globe among 28 active tours.
It was during this pandemic downtime that Feld Entertainment which also tours Disney on Ice, Monster Jam, and Supercross, made the decision to reevaluate their business model and revamp their shows.
I for one hope that the relaunch and restructure of The Greatest Show on Earth will be a hit. We need different kinds of family entertainment. While I love sports, sometimes it's nice to go to an event where it's not about winning or losing but about being simply amazed at the talent and skill of your fellow human beings.
The Feld Organization says they hope to be operating the company at full strength by the end of this year with the first shows heading out in 2023. I can only hope that one of the tour stops will be close to me because animals or not, the circus still evokes images of wonder, imagination, and awe and I can't wait to share that with my family again.