We take them all with a grain of salt, we must, for too often hype parades as honest criticism ... But ... there is reason to believe that America’s big tops are at least sharpening their acts, adding some novelty, still fighting to bring the public the animals it says it wants, and maybe turning the tanbark excitement up a notch ... So, here — hype or honesty — from the field of dreams ...
Sarasota Central has already checked in on Ringling’s latest — the greatest show on earth, claims SC, is back on track, back from the abyss of that Ringless thing it offered last year that a lot of fans are still carping about ... Over on the New Cole Bros. lot, one circus fan is raving about John Pugh’s latest, complete with winning vocalist, a mini-aerial ballet, and a motorbike cage that breaks open! ... To John Ringling North II Presents Kelly-Miller next we go. Manager Jim Royal is high on what his patrons are telling him " We are getting very favorable feedback from our customers (our most important critics), which pleases us.
Ah, yes, if you can’t please the paying customer, you won’t last no matter what the critics say.
Speaking of mini-production, Royal broke a long ominously mum silence to send me a message from John Ringling North II, a man of few words. Kelly-Miller’s new House-of-Ringling owner has apparently followed or been apprised of my hyperventilating over the question: Did he actually deliver any of the "Ringling magic" he had promised the press. So, let’s press on. 30 — count ‘em, 30 – words from JRN II to Showbiz David:
"We have three small production numbers as promised. To judge the quality of our show, Jim and I cordially invite you to see for yourself. Best wishes, John Ringling North II."
So, there is production after all? The question mark extends my open-ended inquiry into Kelly-Miller’s actual performance. Onto my next attempted fact extraction: Just what are these production numbers? Any details, Jim? A hint? A break down of titles or themes?
When Royal e-mailed me yesterday, he was profusely apologetic about getting North’s message (composed before he flew back to Ireland) out to me in a more timely fashion. Bum weather and computer glitches stood in the way
Red wagon wheels keep on spinning, and so do the reports. Some are true ... some just spin. It’s only April ...