SARASOTA, Fla. — Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey will return in a little more than a year with a new variation of its traditional “Greatest Show on Earth.”
Feld Entertainment announced Wednesday that a new edition of its traditional show will debut in the fall of 2023 as a “multi-platform entertainment franchise” and that its creative team is now searching for acts around the world. Last fall, the company said it would relaunch its touring shows after a six-year break but without animals.
There is no reference to the word “circus” in the company’s announcement.
“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,” Chairman and CEO Kenneth Feld said in a statement. “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 for another 150 years.”
Feld shut down the three-ring circus in 2017 after a 146-year run. Observers suggested at the time that years of animal rights protests against Ringling Bros. had led to a decline in ticket sales and the closing of the touring circus. Ringling was long known for its popular lions, tigers, elephants and other animal acts. Elephants were dropped from its shows in 2016.
The company said it will expand its operations to include a variety of consumer products and a licensing program with toys, games, packaged goods, collectibles and more. It also will seek to extend its brand through theme park attractions and touring exhibitions. Ringling also is producing a documentary backstage in the making of a circus show.
It also introduced a new logo, which now features an exclamation point in the R and drops the central blue globe and the words “The Greatest Show on Earth.” It is “designed to flex and adapt across any brand communication,” said Juliette Feld Grossman, the company’s chief operating officer and the producer of the circus.
Officials said the new production of "The Greatest Show on Earth" will feature new technologies and a 360-degree experience designed to break the barriers between the audience and performers. Each show will incorporate interactive elements that engage the audience, they said.
Rehearsals are expected to begin in June 2023, with a national tour of the United States beginning in September and visiting more than 50 cities.
“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,” Grossman said.
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This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Ringling Brothers to launch new variation of ‘Greatest Show on Earth’