After a five-year hiatus, ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ brings family fun back to Boardwalk Hall with the all-new Barnum Bash.
Children of all ages — meaning toddlers to octogenarians and beyond — will welcome “The Greatest Show on Earth” back to Atlantic City for a four-day, five-show stay at Boardwalk Hall this Thursday through Sunday, April 19-22.
Some on the lower side of the age scale may not have been born when Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey was last in town five years ago, and no one of any age has seen exactly what the circus kings will bring to A.C. this week.
Dubbed the “Barnum Bash,” the show is significantly different from anything that’s been on tour before in the U.S. or internationally. It still features many of the crowd favorites like death-defying acrobatics, animal acts and hilarious hi-jinks, but much of the show has been modified and modernized to give the A.C. audience a fresh, never-before-seen perspective.
“This is a brand new show,” says Elizabeth Marmo, marketing manager for Boardwalk Hall and the A.C. Convention Center. “It’s got a very up-close and personal feel. They’ll have close-floor seating, which they haven’t had here before, and one hour before the main show there’s an all-access pre show that ticket holders can attend and kind of mingle with the performers, see the show animals, and get a kind of personalized VIP experience. The show also has a more hip feel that’s set to the latest pop music and features more contemporary costumes.”
The pre-show party, called “One Ring. A Thousand Memorable Moments,” allows ticket holders to get autographs and have pictures taken with performers, try on costumes, and go behind the scenes at the Animal Open House to learn how the circus animals live, eat and play. The pre-show party will take place on the arena floor and will be hosted by the Ringlettes showgirls and clown DJ Dean — called the “Swiss Army Knife of Clowns” due to his multifaceted circus skills, including juggling, stilt walking, unicycle riding, balancing and spinning objects, and making sound effects.
“I’ve been with Ringling Brothers over 15 years and we keep on raising the bar and making things better because our audience demands it,” says Jason Gibson, the show’s production manager. “The second they come into the building their eyes light up — it’s such a pleasure to come to work each day knowing we’re building lifelong memories and putting smiles on people’s faces. What a fantastic job. We’re extremely busy, traveling to 45 different cities and between 25 and 30 thousand miles a year, but it’s an amazing life. ”
Ringling Bros. has roots back to 1875. In 1967 Irvin Feld purchased the circus and helped it gain international prominence with (then) innovations that included television specials, national ad campaigns and unique public relations. Upon his death in 1984, his son Kenneth Feld upheld the entrepreneurial legacy of his father by expanding it and bringing the best in international showmanship. The Barnum Bash will include the Mighty Dmytrio, Motorcycle Mania, the Double Wheel of Steel, the Hand Balancers and much more.
The Mighty Dmytrio is Dmytrio Khaladzhy of Moscow, Russia, who learned at age 10 that he could bend a metal fire poker, and at age 13 that he could crush bricks with his bare hands. By age 14 he was able to hammer nails into wood boards using just his bare hands, and as a 16-year-old he allowed his friend to drive over him with a motorcycle. By age 17, he could withstand the weight of a 3,850-pound car, and by 20 years old he could withstand a truck weighing 8,800 pounds driving over him.
Motorcycle Mania is Erwin and Melvin Urias — fourth generation daredevils riding customized 125cc motorcycles at speeds up to 60mph in a steel globe that is only 16 feet in diameter. The high-speed act is a modern version of one first created by their great-grandfather Joaquin Urias in 1912. The steel orb has been a fan favorite for years at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey.
The Double Wheel of Steel is a stunt performed by the Flying Cruzados, which is a troupe of first-generation circus performers including William Cruzado, his wife Flavia Costa, and acrobats Christian Villaquiran and Carlos Pinto. The troupe defies the forces of gravity with fast-moving maneuvers, extreme jumps, and a never-before-seen two-man-high pyramid walk. Performers rotate the 46-foot apparatus to speeds of more than 15 mph by walking inside and outside of the wheel.
The Hand Balancers are the husband-and-wife team of Ihosvanys (pronounced Giovani) Perez and Virginia Tuells, who call themselves “Duo Fusion.” Both are former standout gymnasts-turned-circus performers who have created a unique hand-balancing act, including one in which Tuells does most of the lifting. It took the pair three years of practice to perfect their act, also incorporating a Tango and a Salsa dance into the routine. Perez says that the Barnum Bash in Atlantic City is more intimately structured than other Ringling Bros. formats and, with spectators mere feet away, one that best suits their act.
“Most families can’t remember going to see a movie that they all really wanted to see,” says Gibson. “When you come to Ringling Brothers circus, there’s something for everybody to like. ”
Enlightening Local Youth
In tandem with the return of Ringling Bros. to A.C. after five years, talent from the Barnum Bash will be visiting local school children for a special presentation on Thursday, April 19, at 10:30am. Performers will introduce a program called CircusFit — a national program co-developed by Ringling Bros. and the President’s Council on Physical Fitness — to students at Richmond Avenue School in Atlantic City. A study by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified childhood obesity as having reached epidemic proportions. According to the CDC, the percentage of children and adolescents who are defined as overweight has more than doubled in the past 20 years, making them more prone to a host of weight-related illnesses in adulthood. Since the vast majority of circus acrobats, clowns and trapeze artists are accomplished athletes in peak physical condition, they are well suited to serve as as real-life role models who can encourage young people to be active and stay fit. The CircusFit program intends to show youth — through an awe-inspiring and action-packed approach to health and fitness — how to get up and move with games and activities that are more play than work. — RS
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s Barnum Bash
Where: Boardwalk Hall, Georgia Ave. and the Boardwalk, A.C.
When: April 19-22. Thurs. and Fri., 7pm; Sat. 1pm and 5pm; Sun. 1pm. There will be a pre-show party available to all ticket holders one hour before regular show times on the arena floor.
How Much: Tickets are $20-$80 for adults, $10 for children ages 2-12. A special $12 ticket is available opening night, April 19. Get tickets at ticketmaster.com, by calling 800-736-1420, or at the Boardwalk Hall box office. For group rates, call 609-348-7032.
The event that’s truly capable of turning a septagenarian into a wide-eyed toddler, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, starts a five-show performance at Boardwalk Hall tonight — Thursday, April 18 — and remains in town through Sunday afternoon, April 21
With the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus returning to Boardwalk Hall on April 18-21, the official greeters for the show, Ambassadors of Laughter, Dave and Cherie Gregg, will be “clowning around” with area youth at various stops in the area Thursday, March 7 and Friday, March 8.
The circus will be at the Atlantic City Race Course Aug. 3-5 and in Rio Grande at the Robert Wisting Recreation Complex (Cape May County) Aug. 10-11.
Resorts has provided AC Weekly with terrific time-lapse video showing the raising of the new Resorts Event Pavilion, where the circuses will be performed through Sept. 11, 2011.
It is pretty amazing to see people balancing on a standard-size bicycle, each jumping on in turn until there are nine acrobats on the bike. The show also features strong men and a strap acrobat.
Generally speaking, rock stars don't enjoy giving interviews. Most consider them a necessary inconvenience that helps sell CDs and concert tickets. There are exceptions, however. Case in point --...
Back in 1928, John Ringling hired the innovative wire-walker Karl Wallenda and his family troupe, the Great Wallendas, for his circus. Later known as the Flying Wallendas, they became the best-known ...
IL CIRCO is a production that is as unique as the spelling of the show's name. Part of it is reminiscent of a traditional old-fashioned circus with acrobats, clowns, aerialists and the comforting, up...
Laughing with George Lopez
Fight Night at Boardwalk Hall
Rush to the Taj