SARASOTA — After five years, the circus is set to return.
Feld Entertainment made the rumored announcement official Wednesday morning out of its main Palmetto base.
The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus’ Greatest Show On Earth returns in the fall 2023.
“As passionate stewards of Ringling, we are committed to creating a lifestyle brand that connects with families and sparks real fun 365 days a year through live performances, digital content, consumer products, school curricula, youth circus arts programs and more,” Feld Entertainment CEO Kenneth Feld said in a news release. “We are innovating all aspects of the live show and modernizing the franchise to create an engaging property that is built for today’s families and will last another 150 years.”
For decades, the winter headquarters of the circus was in Venice, and those Venice residents who were involved with the circus said they are happy to hear the news.
“Whatever they do is first class,” Chuck Sidlow said.
Sidlow was a Clown College grad in 1977 and went on to be the youngest boss clown in the old Ringling show.
“Because they are the masters of promotion and publicity, maybe there is another surprise for the public coming,” he said.
Tito Gaona, another Venice resident who was a trapeze artist for the circus, said he, too, is overjoyed at the news.
“How beautiful to bring the Ringling back,” Gaona said. “It will be the biggest entertainment for the new generation.”
Auditions are underway throughout the world to identify acts for the circus, according to the news release.
“The creative team is not only looking for exceptional talent, but also larger-than-life personalities whose stories of commitment and dedication to their craft will create powerful connections with the audience,” the news release states. “Auditions for The Greatest Show On Earth are now taking place in countries including Ethiopia, France, Mongolia, Argentina and the United States.”
It notes it will also look at adding products, including collectibles, games, toys and other aspects of the circus.
“Brand extensions such as theme park attractions and touring exhibitions are currently in development,” it stated. “To immerse fans more thoroughly into the world of Ringling, a documentary is also being produced that will take the audience backstage to meet the cast and crew and learn what it takes to be part of The Greatest Show On Earth.”
There is also a new logo going with the Ringling name. Tickets will go on sale in April 2023 for the productions that go on tour that fall.
“The live production of The Greatest Show On Earth will celebrate amazing talent from around the world, displaying incredible feats that push the limits of human potential and create jaw-dropping moments,” the news release stated. “New technologies and a 360-degree experience will break down the barriers between the performers and attendees. Additionally, each show will incorporate interactive elements that engage the audience, ensuring that every performance is unique.”
Official rehearsals start in June 2023 with the U.S. tour starting in September 2023, with plans to visit more than 50 cities in North America, the news release states.
“We’ve spent countless hours conducting research, speaking with consumers and scouting for talent all over the globe to deliver an experience unlike any other,” Feld Entertainment Chief Operating Officer Juliette Feld Grossman said.
Feld Grossman is also producing The Greatest Show On Earth.
“The Greatest Show On Earth, with its combination of thrills, artistry, comedy and whimsy, will bring generations of families together, creating memories that will last a lifetime,” she said.