Ringling Bros Fail to Amaze in Tampa Opening of Tour


[Editor’s note: This review is from the Tampa opening date – January 2, 2013 – of the entire tour, which was attended by our family blogger Carol, with her family. You can read a review of the Orlando show here.]

I grew up in Baraboo, WI, the original home to the Ringling Brothers Circus.  My family knew a couple of the siblings.  So when a show comes out with the Ringling name on it, my expectations are high.

We were blessed to be given tickets to the opening show of this current production, Built to Amaze!, over in Tampa, FL.  When the doors open for the show, there is a preshow on the arena floor that is interesting and fun usually, without it costing any additional money. This year, however, they decided to add a bounce house for $6 additional for 2 runs through it. It was big and looked like a ton of fun! And of course, I was persuaded by 2 little people to spend the money so they could go bounce off some energy before the show.  The kids liked it, but $12 on top of ticket prices is just ridiculously high priced for only 2 trips through the maze. Otherwise, the lines are long as more and more people make their way into the arena for the show. This really limits what you can do and we just gave up and headed for our seats.

I missed the first couple minutes of the show getting food, but it seemed as it was just a little segment for the people already in their seats, while still giving time for the rest of us to get back in to our seats.  The Ring Master is introduced with great hype and the show begins.


It begins with what is essentially a song and dance number, introducing some of the acts.  After what is way too long, the clowns that are the main headlining act (as far as I can tell) begin their schtick. Funny, but not hilarious.  The Ring Master comes out and begins yet another song and dance number and then seems to mention the next act in passing almost, as opposed to the hype and build up that would normally be the introduction to the next act, whatever it may be.

This seems to be the format of the show.  There was more time spent in song and dance numbers than in circus acts.  And the tickets do say Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey CIRCUS, not Dance review.  There was no flow between acts and the entire show was very choppy. The clowns spent much time performing but did not impress me. The kids behind us fell asleep and the people next to us left after the first 25 minutes.

This show was awful and poorly produced.  There was no continuity in acts and the script for the Ring Master was very poorly written and did not include any build up or hype for any acts other than the clowns.  His singing voice is average, and yet he was the primary singer of the show.  It was mentioned that this was his first show as Ring Master, so maybe he’ll get better. But I doubt it.

The first 90 minutes of the show drags by before the intermission.  A 20 minute intermission and then the last half of the show begins.  It ends 30 minutes later.  It is clear to me that the producers of this show are only interested in money and not in putting out a quality product.  In my opinion, this show is a waste of money and time.  In this economy, don’t waste your money on this show.  The merchandise is the same old merch from past shows and yes, as much as I hated to, we spent the money on toys that the kids don’t need.  It also seems to be more expensive than last year.

Again, don’t waste your money or time on this show. It is poorly produced and has minimal entertainment value.  That said, the dancing elephants are always fun, and the tiger act is always intriguing and amusing.  Ringling does care deeply for its animals and participates in breeding and conservation programs around the world.


[Photos by Carol Garreans]

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