Scarlett Sullivan performs in Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's "Legends." (Feld Media)
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus pulls into the greater L.A. area with their latest presentation, “Legends,” stopping at Staples Center in Downtown (July 9-15), Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario (July 18-22) and Honda Center in Anaheim (July 25-Aug. 3).
The show is currently on tour, something that clown Scarlett Sullivan feels “very good” about.
“As a clown, I engage the audience on hand and bring them through the show,” she adds. “Some people like clowns, some people like trapeze – it really just depends on who they are.”
This particular Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey show not only feature clowns, as usual, but many other entertainers, too.
“We do lots of things,” remarks Sullivan.
“Legends” consists of over 100 performers from 25 countries around the globe, in addition to the 85 animals who delight the crowd during the nearly two-hour performance. Some of the acts include the China National Acrobatic Troupe from Beijing, who put their many talents on display. These include the act of balancing 20 people on two bicycles, rapid hoop diving and Diabolo juggling skills.
“Legends” also sports the Double Trapeze show, a specialty of Ringling Bros. In it, there are four consecutive triple somersaults; it’s a must-see. Big Cats Trainer and Presenter Alexander Lacey, edge-of-your-seat Cossack Riders doing equestrian stunts and Globe of Steel motorcycle daredevils are all be part of the spectacle.
“We have new phenomenal acts, as well,” remarks Sullivan. “And during our pre-show, an hour before the performance, you can come and meet the performers, and also get to see a few extras you don’t get to see during the regular show.”
Sullivan also explains how much preparation goes into each show.
“Every day, we come in an hour early for the pre-show to do makeup and get into costumes, etc.,” she says. “Some take 20 minutes for makeup, some take a full hour. It also helps with the mental process; it clams you down, gets you into character.”
Sullivan, who has been with the company for over five years, has enjoyed her time as a clown in every Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey show over the span of her career. Sullivan is trained in improvisation and sketch comedy from places like Second City. When an audition came up for Ringling Bros., she thought, “That would be awesome.” So, here she is now and loving it.
“It’s wonderful. It falls into its own comedy genre,” she describes. “I think the interaction with the audience [the most],” she says. “Everything from working the angles to making sure at least one person in the audience is happy. Every day it’s a new thing. We’re all very close, it’s like a big family. It’s just a lot of fun. Every city brings something different.”
“Legends” also boasts many interactive elements before the show even begins. Fans can visit the Animal Open House (in Ontario and Anaheim only) to get up-close with the animals and the All Access Pre-Show (all venues), where families can step onto the arena floor and do cool things like meet performers and try on circus costumes. One new element that’s debuting is the exclusive and intimate fan experience within the Ringmaster Zone.
So why else should L.A. area residents attend these shows? Sullivan is short and sweet about it.
“This will be a completely different show than anyone has ever seen,” she says.
After all, a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey show is “the greatest show on earth.”
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s “Legends” stops at Staples Center July 9-15, Citizens Business Bank Arena July 18-22 and Honda Center July 25-Aug. 3. For more information, visit ringling.com.
Edison Millan contributed to this story.