Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Returns to Phoenix After a Seven-Year Absence

The story of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey began in the late 19th century, when two separate circus ventures, owned by the Ringling brothers and P.T. Barnum respectively, began to gain popularity. In 1919, the two entities merged to form what would become the “Greatest Show on Earth.” The newly formed circus traveled across the country, captivating audiences with its extravagant performances and larger-than-life attractions.

Under the leadership of the Ringling family, the circus continued to grow and evolve. They introduced innovations such as the “three-ring” format, which allowed for multiple performances to take place simultaneously, and the inclusion of exotic animals from around the world. These innovations set Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey apart from other circuses of the time and solidified its reputation as the premier circus in the world.

For nearly a century, the circus brought joy and wonder to millions of people around the world. It provided an escape from the realities of everyday life and transported audiences into a world of fantasy and imagination.

But the legacy of the Greatest Show on Earth extends beyond mere entertainment. The circus also played a significant role in shaping popular culture. It introduced new acts and performers that would go on to inspire generations of entertainers. From the death-defying stunts of the trapeze artists to the comedic antics of the clowns, the impact of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey can be seen in all forms of entertainment today.

The decline and closure of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey

Despite its enduring popularity and cultural significance, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey faced numerous challenges in the later years of its existence. Changing public attitudes towards the use of animals in entertainment, coupled with rising operating costs and competition from other forms of entertainment, led to a decline in attendance and financial difficulties.

In 2016, after 146 years of operation, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey announced that it would be closing its doors for the final time. The news sent shockwaves through the entertainment industry and marked the end of an era. Many mourned the loss of the circus and lamented the passing of a beloved institution.

The Return of the Greatest Show On Earth

Despite a seven-year hiatus, the dazzling entertainment made a comeback in September 2023 with a grand reopening in Bossier City, Louisiana.

And the show is coming back to Arizona. The Footprint Center in Phoenix will be hosting the thrilling performance of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s circus, known for its high-flying stunts.

While Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey may no longer exist in its original form, its influence can still be felt in the world of entertainment today. Circuses and circus-inspired acts continue to captivate audiences, albeit in different forms and formats.

Cirque du Soleil, for example, has taken the concept of the circus and transformed it into a mesmerizing blend of acrobatics, theater, and music. Other circus troupes and performers have also found success by reimagining traditional circus acts for modern audiences.

Known as “The Greatest Show on Earth,” the event boasts a variety of attractions such as triangular highwire acts, comedic performances, trapeze acts, musical numbers, and an acrobatic aerial show. These are some of the main draws in the welcoming and family-oriented environment.

The performance features Lauren Irving, Alex Stickels, Jan Damm, Aria, Stix, and Nick Nack as they guide the audience through the mesmerizing journey of the circus.

Ringling is set to make its comeback to Phoenix after a long absence since June 2016, with performances scheduled at Footprint Center from July 5-7.

The hope is that the legacy of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey is one that will continue to inspire and captivate for generations to come. Its impact on popular culture, its roster of talented performers, and its ability to transport audiences into a world of fantasy and wonder have left an indelible mark on our collective imagination.

Click here for more information on the Phoenix show and ticket details.