Fully Charged: Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus at Nassau Coliseum Through March 20, 2011

The Greatest Show on Earth, Ringling Brothers

Spectacle, Showmanship and Sequins – The Circus is in Town!   Last night, Fully Charged, the 141st over the big top production from the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey, opened at the Nassau Coliseum.  Side splitting clowns, awe inspiring acrobatics and amazing animals are just part of the fun that awaits your family. Plus, included in your ticket price are two before the show open houses that completely enrich your experience, so this year families can see the circus in a whole new way.  It really is the Greatest Show on Earth.  Read on to find out why (and save a little green on your tickets.)

From the second you hit your seat the fun begins with Clown Alley, scores of brightly costumed clowns hit the rings showing off their acrobatic skills and silly antics.  The music is hip and contemporary and so is the action.  To kick off the show, ringmaster, Brian Crawford Scott, leads us all in the national anthem while a star spangled pachyderm circles the arena.  Followed by the well known clowning duo, Vas & Stas, that stick an enormous plug into an equally enormous outlet, when the circuit is made, we are off and Fully Charged.

From the awesome opening act to the high flying finale, there is superb showmanship at every turn, along with smoke, fire, pyrotechnics, drama and laughs.  In between we were treated to amazing tightrope walkers, the death defying Fernandez Brothers and their Twin Turbines of Steel, the hysterical Alimgulov Troupe and their big bouncy bicycle (my son’s favorite part of the entire show) and dangling aerialists with moves most people couldn’t handle on the ground.  The highlight of the entire show was the Human Fuse, Brian Miser, who was shot from an enormous crossbow and flew across the ring ---on fire!

Plus, there are amazing animals.  Dozens of elephants, horses, zebras and of course trained tigers. The animal presenter Tabayara had such a big personality that he elevated the animal presentations from the standard circus fare to a drama-filled, exciting act -- even the elephants!

My personal beef with the three-ring style circus is that I never know where to look. There is always too much going on, but, apparently I am the only one who has this issue.  My son was riveted throughout the entire two hour show. I don’t know if he focused solely on one ring or moved his head around to catch them all, but, he was laughing and clapping along the entire time.

I was invited to Fully Charged as a “Circus Celebrity”, a special whole new way to see the circus. At our center ringside seats we were presented with a lanyard and a celebrity pass, it was dark and I didn’t really read the pass closely, so when the dancers came to get us a few minutes later, I got a little nervous.  I didn’t want to perform in the circus, plus I am hobbling around on a cane with a knee injury – no way!  I was thrilled to find out we were just going to watch the circus from inside the ring! For about 15 minutes, that felt like an eternity, we sat and watched the circus sitting among the clowns and other performers, high fiving them and kinda feeling like one of them for a little bit! This decadent experience doesn’t come cheap at $150 a ticket, but it really is a once in a lifetime thrill.  A great birthday gift idea if you have one coming up in your family!


                                                    Can You Tell How Close We Are??

Be sure to arrive early, there are two pre-show activities and doors open 90 minutes before the start of the show. I arrived at 6 pm on the dot and there was a huge line to get in.  We went to the Animal Open House, which was really cool.  First of all you get to go down to the bowels of the coliseum, which is an experience in itself. The halls are decorated with old circus banners; you can see the circus trailers and smell the animal poop -- then you get to this enormous space where they hold all the animal performers. My son is an animal geek so this was right up his alley; we saw the animals just hanging out, resting tigers, zebras playing and grazing elephants.  The trainers and handlers are on site too, some demonstrating how to train the animals and taking questions (lots of them from my son.) It was a zoo type experience, in more ways than one.  It was crowded but you could get really close to the animals – closer than the zoo lets you -- and the elephant section had a lot of educational materials.   

We spent too much time with the animals and missed the All Access Pre Show that takes place in the arena, where you get to walk out onto the ring and try your hand at some circus activities and meet the performers.  When the circus was at Coney Island two summers ago with their one ring circus we did manage to make it to the All Access show, and my son got to try on some costumes, meet the dogs and their trainer as well as hang from a trapeze.  I expect this is similar, with more to experience since this is a huge three ring production.  Try to manage your time better than we did so you can make it to both.

Going to the circus is a pricey undertaking for sure, you need to buy tickets ($15 – $150), then of course you must have cotton candy, and Nassau Coliseum has parking fees. But when you factor in the two pre-show activities and the two hour circus, you really do get a good bang for your buck.  You get three and a half hours of fun for price of your admission.  And what is more, we can get you 5 bucks off your ticket priceClick here to order your tickets and use the code BLOGGER (put it in the promotion ticket section).   You have to hurry though – the show is only here through Sunday.

Fully Charged

Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus
Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Through Sunday, March 20, 2011
Show Times at 10:30 am and 7:30 pm daily and extra weekend shows at 3:00 pm

Looking for more circus fun?  Read our post on Circuses in New York City.