Ringling Bros Closes ‘Greatest Show on Earth’ after 146 Years

After 146 years, Ringling Bros will close the iconic “Greatest Show on Earth.”
Employees were told the sad news a few days ago in Orlando. Its last performance is scheduled for May 21 at the Nassau Coliseum. The circus will have 30 more performances. Some of them will be in Atlanta, Washington, Boston, and Philadelphia. Other stops on the show’s last tour include Long Island and Brooklyn.
The owners said the main reasons included high operating costs, decreasing tickets sales and changing public tastes.
The news that the curtain is coming down forever on the most celebrated circus in the US after so many years in the business, was welcomed by the activists who campaigned for decades against the traveling animals.
After much evaluation, the difficult business decision was made and Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey would hold its final performances in May, said in a statement Kenneth Feld, CEO of Feld Entertainment.
When the Feld family bought the circus in 1967, the show was just under 3 hours and today, the show lasts more than 2 hours. Kenneth says the longest segment is a tiger act which is12 minutes. He adds that getting a 3-year-old kid today to sit for 12 minutes is difficult.
His daughter, Juliette Feld, who is the company’s chief operating officer, added another reason that led to the closing, the only one that initially drew millions to the show- the animals.
During long years, the company has been leading a long and costly legal battle with animal rights advocates, who say forcing animals to perform is cruel and unnecessary. In May 2016, the circus was forced to stop its elephant shows and send them to live in a conservation center in Florida.
Juliette Feld says the other animals- lions, tigers, donkeys, camels, kangaroos, llamas, and alpacas- will go to suitable homes and the company will continue operating the Center for Elephant Conservation.
The Fields say the company will help employees with job placement and resumes. Some of 500 people performing and working on the show will be placed in positions with the company’s other profitable shows, like Disney on Ice, Monster Jam, and Marvel Live.
The circus, well-known for its slogan, inspired an Oscar-winning film and its troupe appeared in the film “The Greatest Show on Earth” in 1952.