Joined the Ringling Bros. for an Out of This World day!

R146_INT_WEBSITE_LOGO_1200x693_R1_NB-1024x591Ringling Bros the family that has given us family entertainment for generations offers the next generation of Circus.  #OUTOFTHISWORLD is art, experience, theatre, story, pathos, exhilaration and more.  Travel through the universe, bend time, and beyond entertainment, your senses will be awakened with performances in music, light, ice, and smoke and mirrors.

The theater goes dark, you sense a beat, streams of light, music begins, a spot finds a spacewalker floating and the planets, and it gets busier and more light and the spotlight finds moonwalkers, and they bow, the music builds as the telescopic light finds the stars, let the games begin.

We all go to the circus as a child or to watch the awe in our child.

Now it’s the awe in the child in Pops  that revels in the chills of the magic.

IMG_8462 The circus still has its lions and tigers who we met up front and personal with their lifetime companion, Alexander Lacey, who took over the role of big cat trainer from his father.  He speaks to us as he grooms one of the 1,000 lb. lions, who paws at him, the same way my 15 lb. dog paws at me, playfully, with love, with requests for me to play with him.  Watching them hang together, I saw the comparison, but then I saw the mouth open and those big teeth and I realized the difference.  But the love and companionship are the same.  They’ve known each other since the lion was born and they’ve worked together since the lion agreed to take on responsibilities at the circus.

Alexander then puts the lion back in his spacious cage and gets 4 tigers to come play with him.  It’s a beastly hot day on the west coast of Florida and when the tigers come out they are ready to play, but not necessarily with their trainer.  They play with each other, and frolic in the pool much as dogs in a water pool at the dog parks of New York City.  A big rubber ball floats in the pool and the tigers play with the ball, and the wakes they make and they splash themselves and each other, and they play, like six year olds in a kiddie pool.  Alexander and a couple of the tigers play with each other and he shows how he commands them with a stick that touches them like I might tickle my dog.  And the tiger sits, stands, lies down, and looks left and right as Alexander requests.  Alexander doesn’t push his friend and he lets him go play in the pool after just a moment, explaining to the audience of 10 or so, that “I only want to do with one of my friends what they want to do with me. “  If one of them is not ready for a show or a rehearsal he sits out.  There will be other days when she’ll be raring to go, but I only do what they want, it is never them doing what I want.  That’s the secret to being a big cat trainer.

We go into the thousands of square feet of rehearsal halls, and watch the unicyclists warming up with their Harlem Globetrotter routine.  Not all the players are performers some are just joining the troupe to acquire the skills to the level needed.  We learn that they will be unicycling on ice, a skill they have all just been learning since March, 2016, but they are ready to take this show on the road.

We meet the aerialists and the contortionists, and watch them warm up for the big performance.  It is explained in the former circus different performers had differing roles as controtionists and as aerialists, now each specialist has learned to do the other, so look in the sky when you get to the next circus, watch the ladies in glass spheres dance, spin and seemingly fall out of the high wire act, in unison with each other, hanging high above the stage.

IMG_8463Then the highlight.  We are shepherded into the big top rehearsal stage.  As big as any arena in the country, the stage is set and the lights go down and the musicians start the drama.  The actors present themselves and the audience is introduced to the plot of the circus.  It is not just performance for the sake of the act, it is now theater, produced with circus flair but with broadway music and characters who engage us with concern for their plight and overcoming their obstacles.  We weren’t able to watch the entire performance, so when the circus comes to an arena near you, which it will starting in California in July, 2016, maybe you’ll tell me how it ends.

We thought that was the best but as in every child’s mind when attending the circus, the best is yet to come.  We visit their monster truck factory.  Trucks as big as buildings line the immaculately clean workplace.  All phases of trucks from frames to almost perfect, they explain the life of trucks.  Cared for just as the animals and performers only doing what they want when they want.  A couple of the circuit drivers are working on their cars and stop to talk to us.  The winner of the last tournament has taken his car apart and is rewiring it to make it even better.  He works with his big truck as genteelly and friendly as Alexander Lacey worked with his big cats.

Super heroes are now performers as the Feld Organization has mixed the big truck show with theater to tell the story of heroes and out to protect the innocents that we all are.  I stand among them and feel my magical powers over take me as I become one of them.

IMG_8461But that is not the end of this tour.  I become one of them when I am taken to the costume shop, or should I call it the costume museum.  Any and every costume ever made resides in this many thousands of square feet of costumes hanging, classics and new.  Want to do a school production of Cinderella well the costumes of Disney on stand there, ready for the community to borrow for free or negligible fees as just another outreach by the generations of the Feld family, the family that brings family entertainment to America, and now the world.

IMG_8465So Ladies and Gentlemen and Children of all ages, the elephants may have retired and there is no more midway, but the show goes on with a new twist and new costumes and new props and mostly new technology adding speed and song and dance to the performances, but the thrill is still there.  This is Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, where all three rings are combined into one magnificent story with the cast of thousands all doing their circus thing while the good guys save the day and the evil queen is thwarted.  Ladies and Gentlemen and Children of all ages, the circus is in town and it’ll be in your town at some point in the next 18 months.  And while that show is on the road at the Feld Headquarters in Ellenton Florida the next show will be created and sent on the road.  And the next Disney on Ice and the next Hulk and Ironman show and the next Monster Truck winner and the next generation of circus performers and circus productions will all be created under one massive roof for the pleasure of the generations so parents take your kids and grandparents take your parents, this is entertainment for one and all.

Find tickets to the show when it rolls into your area here on the tour schedule page.

Author: Stan Cohen

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