James Bailey and wife who lived in Harlem, little did he know 146 years later that “The Greatest Show on Earth” will come to an end in May 2017.
With a week of shows at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, the owners of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus have announced.
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Kenneth Feld, the chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, posted a statement on the Ringling Bros. website Saturday night.
“After much evaluation and deliberation, my family and I have made the difficult business decision that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey will hold its final performances in May of this year,” said Feld, whose family has owned the circus since 1967. “Ringling Bros. ticket sales have been declining, but following the transition of the elephants off the road, we saw an even more dramatic drop. This, coupled with high operating costs, made the circus an unsustainable business for the company.”
Ringling Bros. stopped using elephants in its shows in May 2016.
Most of the 500 or so employees at Ringling Bros. will lose their jobs when the circus closes, the AP reported. Homes will be found for the animals used in the circus, the Feld family said.
The new Nassau Coliseum, fresh off a $130 million renovation, will be the place to catch the final shows. Ringling Bros. “Out of This World’ tour ends at the coliseum, with daily shows from May 12-21, 2017. Tickets can be purchased here.