After 146 years, Ringling Brothers folds its tent

After 146 years, Ringling Brothers folds its tent


Deacon Greg Kandra
JANUARY 15, 2017

Wow. From The New York Times:

In a statement on the company’s website, Kenneth Feld, the chief executive of Feld Entertainment, the producer of Ringling, said the circus would hold its final performances in May. He cited declining ticket sales, which dropped even more drastically after elephants were phased out from the shows last year.

“This, coupled with high operating costs, made the circus an unsustainable business for the company,” the statement said. “The circus and its people have continually been a source of inspiration and joy to my family and me.”

Stephen Payne, a spokesman for Feld Entertainment, said in an interview on Saturday night that the closing would affect about 400 cast and crew members.

“We looked at the performance in 2016 and advance tickets sales in 2017, and we decided it was not a viable business model,” he said.

For those of us with so many happy memories of the circus from our youth, this is a sad loss.

Meantime, here’s something from the vault: a terrific video from a couple years ago on Catholic circus performers practicing their faith, from CNS:

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6 comments on “After 146 years, Ringling Brothers folds its tent

  1. [BREAKING: Why the above post?]

    Ringling Bros. Circus And Its Subsidiary The Vatican To Shut Down In May


    After more than 140 years, the curtain is coming down on “The Greatest Show on Earth,” Roman Curia and Ringling Bros. Circus and Barnum & Bailey Circus board member Bishop Antonio Scarlatti said early Monday morning.
    The iconic Roman spectacle and its principle Ringling Bros. Circus explained that declining attendance combined with high payroll for most members of the clergy in the curia contributed to its fall.
    “There isn’t any one thing,” said chairman and CEO Ken Fields. “Actually, yes there is. The amount we pay for the curia is outrageous. But there is nothing we could do about it because they truly are the greatest show on earth.”
    Ringling Bros. has two touring circuses this season and will perform 30 shows between now and May, while the Vatican has one stationary circus performing every day through May.
    The Vatican, with its exotic bishops, less-than-flashy vestments, and death-defying theology, has been a staple of entertainment in the Catholic Church for decades, wowing parishioners with its sheer scale of entertainment. But several lawsuits over its treatment of traditionalists led to public scrutiny of the Curia in the past few years.
    After a long and costly legal battle in 2016, the Vatican removed liturgical traditionalists from its shows and sent them to Malta to live on a conservation farm.
    “We know now that one of the major reasons people came to the Vatican was getting to see traditionalists,” board director Denise Lempke said. “We stand by the decision to get rid of them. But it hurt us, and we admit that.”
    Lempke says their existing traditionalists will go to suitable homes and that the Vatican will continue operating the Center for Traditionalist Conservation.

  2. Did they check out Vegas? They might want to scout out some of the resort hotels in Las Vegas.

  3. The NO priests fit in very well with the circus. Even part of their vestments have circus symbols on them. My only problem is distinguishing the clowns from the priests.

  4. We have the 2 alternative circuses at Vatican City and the Obama crowd , they are more animalistic than the performing animals Ringling Bros. had

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