Ringling's final show commences after 146 years

Tina Ray
May 23, 2017

As Ringling Bros. prepares to take its final bow before a sold-out crowd at Nassau Coliseum in the suburbs of New York City, circus performers and enthusiasts lamented the shutting down of "The Greatest Show on Earth".

The circus' last show, which was attended by former employees and other people connected with the company over the years, took place at Nassau Colosseum in NY.

As for the circus animals, a spokesperson said they will have new homes- almost 80 of them have been placed in different homes around the country.

The finale, announced by parent Feld Entertainment Inc in January, comes a year after the company bowed to pressure from animal rights activists and agreed to stop using elephants in its performances. The final show Sunday night at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale was streamed on Facebook Live and on the circus's website. The company removed its famous elephants from its shows in May 2016, but ticket sales continued to decline.

Outside the final show, a small group of protestors on hand, happy show will no longer go on.

The show ended with a standing ovation as ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson brought virtually the entire Ringling troupe onto the floor.


Ringling Bros continued to showcase tigers, lions, horses, dogs and camels until the end, despite fierce criticism from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

The Greatest Show on Earth begins its final show in just about 15 minutes.

But it was those animal shows that led to the circus' eventual demise. [Image by Theo Wargo/Getty Images] "After much evaluation and deliberation, my family and I have made the hard business decision", Kenneth Feld, chairman, and CEO of Feld Entertainment, the company that produces the Ringling Bros. And Barnum & Bailey Circus shows has decreased sharply since the company chose to stop using elephants. There are still circus performers.

Feld Entertainment spokesman Stephen Payne told NBC News the company "wanted to give fans one last chance to experience" the circus with its final tours. The other one ended its run earlier this month in Providence.

"People aren't really concerned with wildlife until they see it, feel it and love it as much as I do", Lacey said.

O'Donnell, the museum director, said he hoped the Ringling Bros. circus would be remembered for its special place in history, but looked forward to seeing the future of the industry. That show was the more traditional, three-ring circus, while the one performing this weekend has a narrative storyline.

Other reports by TheDigitalNewspaper

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