I will never forget my very first visit to the circus. It was Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, of course, and I was five years old. I was so excited to see the animals, acrobats and clowns, but I had no idea that a much greater memory stood to be made that day. Just before the show, I was selected from the audience by a clown. I was whisked away behind the big red curtain and placed into a seat in a miniature train backstage. As I looked around, I saw horses in front of me, elephants behind me and a bevy of colorful clowns and beautiful acrobats bustling all around me. I was in the circus parade, and I was about to ride out into the giant arena with all eyes aimed my way. This was the coolest seat in the house, and it was mine! I suppose I technically joined the circus – if only for a few fleeting minutes. I don’t remember much about being five years old, but I vividly remember that ride.
Ringling Bros. was always a big deal in my family. My dad had a tendency to be first in line when tickets went on sale for the circus, and I don’t recall ever missing it. When I had kids of my own, dad started taking them, and I somehow found myself edged out of it. I didn’t want to rob him of his “thing” with his grandchildren, but I’ll admit – I’ve been missing the “Greatest Show on Earth” for quite some time now. I was more than a little bit giddy to review Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents LEGENDSSM by invitation from Feld Entertainment at Amway Center, and I am happy to report that the greatest show has only gotten greater with age.
One of the key aspects that sets Ringling Bros apart from the rest is the level of talent in the show’s performers. The franchise has a history for showcasing the biggest personalities ever to appear under a big top, and LEGENDS maintains this tradition. It was a genuine honor to meet a few of the show’s stars prior to the event. Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson is a charismatic, endearing person. As cliche as it sounds, you can feel his presence as he enters the room. He is larger-than-life, figuratively and literally