“Circus XTREME”: The Last Greatest Show of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey

“You must have always a great and progressive show and also one which is clean, pure, moral and instructive. Never cater to the baser instincts of humanity…and always remember that the children have ever been our best patrons…” –P.T. Barnum’s last letter before he died (1891), written to his “well-loved” James Bailey

“Circus XTREME”, which is making its very last appearance in Providence, Rhode Island this weekend, is Xtremely entertaining and there is no doubt that P.T. Barnum would have been proud of this very “Xpert” creation for having lived up to his life motto “Excelsior”, a Latin word meaning “ever upward” and “still higher.”

Barnum & Bailey circusProduced by Nicole and Alana Feld, a mother-daughter team, and members of the Feld family who have been “juggling” for the past five decades and three generations the Ringling Bros. circus through the ups and downs of the entertainment business, keeping this “national treasure” that is “tightly woven into the American fabric” from succumbing to the challenges of fast changing times.

In this last great show that beautifully fuses the traditional with the modern through “traditional circus arts with the present-day urban athletics”, the Felds’ hope was to celebrate “all of the extremes of modern-day family life” as expressed in the quote below, found in the booklet we bought at circus:

“As mothers we understand the chaotic nature of raising a family in these modern times. Be it racing around between work, school or even figuring out what’s for dinner, managing a family means being an expert at juggling the extremes of daily life. Thus, when we began discussing concepts for the 145th Edition of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, we channeled this energy of controlled pandemonium into a show, and Circus XTREME was born.”

From the powerfully “Xotic” Bengal tigers to the “Xuberant canine comedy” to the “high Xpectations” of the high wire performers, and female human cannonball (see videos below) “Xemplifying bravery”, and the Mongolian Marvels and their Xtraordinary athletic skills and so much more, Circus XTREME impressed, bedazzled and enchanted, leaving one in a magical state of childlike wonder that refreshed, revived, and rejuvenated us from the Xtreme challenges of everyday living.


Notable Quotes from P.T. Barnum:
“Let your motto then always be ‘Excelsior,’ for by living up to it there is no such word as fail.”
“Unless a man enters upon the vocation intended for him by nature, and best suited to his peculiar genius, he cannot succeed.”
“The plan of ‘counting the chickens before they are hatched’ is an error of ancient date, but it does not seem to improve by age.”
“Politeness and civility are the best capital ever invested in business.”
“Whatever you do, do it with all your might. Work at it, if necessary, early and late, in season and out of season, not leaving a stone unturned, and never deferring for a single hour that which can be done just as well now.”
“The great ambition should be to excel all others engaged in the same occupation.”
“Fortune always favors the brave, and never helps a man who does not help himself.”
Of Interest:

The New York Times once called P.T. Barnum “the connecting link between children…and the land of their storybooks.” In France, he was named “the charter of our century,” “the great Barnum,” whose fame was “as wide as the Universe.”

Barnum once said, “To me there is no picture so beautiful as smiling, bright-eyed, happy children; no music so sweet as their clear and ringing laughter. That I have had power to provide innocent amusement for the little ones, to create such pictures, to evoke such music, is my proudest reflection.”

Sneak a peak backstage with The New York Times‘ piece, “At Ringling Brothers Circus, Preparing for the Final Bows“.

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