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Friday, July 30, 2021

136th Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus

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Same circus, new experience

By ERICKA P. THOMPSON

In its 136-year history, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has continued to amaze audiences all over the U.S. This year the circus has changed so dramatically it has even amazed itself.

Packed full of surprises, this year’s show will introduce the biggest changes “The Greatest Show on Earth” has seen in 50 years.

What’s new

  • An award-winning creative team was assembled – including Emmy Award-winning director Shanda Sawyer, Academy Award-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood and Tony Award-nominated set designer Robert Brill – will present the circus in an entirely new format.
  • To maximize the arena setting and create a more up close and intimate experience, Ringling Bros. will not feature the iconic three rings.
  • For the first time ever, the circus introduces a story line that will take audiences on a magical journey.
  • Jennifer Fuentest, former American Idol finalist will take on the roles as ringmaster and circus songstress.
  • A 24-foot diameter LED video screen allows audiences to get closer to the action, transforms the arena atmosphere and gives everyone a chance to be a part of the show.
  • One hour before showtime, audiences can join the athletic Ringling Bros. performers in getting CircusFit – a newly launched national youth fitness program created by Ringling Bros. – at the free All Access pre show.

Performer spotlight

Jesse Highley – Having already established a tradition with Ringling Bros. attending every year with his father, Highley is a first generation performer. He joined the circus during the second year of the 133rd edition and is one of a few clowns who have performed with both the red and blue units.

Jamarr Woodruff – A first year clown, Woodruff is a devout Baptist from Atlanta. Having graduated cum laude from Alabama State University with a degree in theater arts, Woodruff also completed training at the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre and the San Francisco Clown Conservatory.

Chuck Wagner – A proud father, Wagner is this year’s ringmaster. His big break in entertaining came on Broadway in 1984’s “The Three Musketeers.” He’s also appeared on soap operas “General Hospital,” “All My Children” and “One Life to Live.”

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