Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ringling Singing Coney Return, But Deal Far From Done

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey wants to return to Coney Island next summer, and, what's better, they'd like to make it an annual event, according to a story in today's New York Post. Felds are said to be in active communications with the owner of the land they played on for a 2010 return.

"It makes sense for many reasons to come back to Coney Island," said Ringling Northeast Regional Public Relations Manager Paulina Pickarski.

Hold your horses! The elephants are not coming back just yet. The Post story outlines a more difficult and uncertain road ahead, reporting that the Bloomberg administration "will have to work its magic with developer Taconic Investment Partners," owners of the land that hosted Boom A Ring's three month stay this past summer. A possible roadblock are plans by developers to "someday" build condominiums on the vacant site.

Pickarski is doing most of the up-talking at the moment. "We see the value of being an annual event on Coney Island for reasons beyond ticket sales." She pointed out the 200 locals hired by the show to work the date.

New York City Economic Development Corporation spokesperson Libby Langsdorf expressed support for another Ringling visit, but "played the details close to the vest."

Pickarski termed the date "wonderful," and added that ticket sales "exceeded expectations."

So the Felds, it seems clear, are high on Coney. That's good news. Now, it's up to the land owners and local politicians.

Restart the negotiations. This is not a done deal.



Anonymous said...

Apparently,Ringling was more fortunate in Coney than they currently are in Europe.
Torino,Italy has been canceled, along with Germany,Belgium and France.
Why bring a European style circus to Europe,especially when all the acts, but two, are European.

Showbiz David said...

quite stunning news, assuming you are accurate. I'm not really sure how well they did at Coney. Somewhere between fair and very good, I'd guess. The Post article lent an air of ambivalence on the part of some of the local players. This latest European floporama may trump John Ringling North's ill-fated circus visit to Europe in 1964.

Anonymous said...

Ringling Gold has five towns in Spain following Italy and concluding December 13th. However,I hear advance ticket sales in Spain are lousy.

Anonymous said...

Google "Ringling Bros.circus European schedule" and you will see what is left of their route,tentatively.

Barry said...

I was kind of surprised to see the dates in Germany that were originally advertised as they took the schedule well into December and January...traditionally a time when one of the ice shows tours Europe. I had noticed that there were no German dates scheduled for the ice shows this year and that the "Mickey and Minnie's Magical Journey" show had engagements scheduled in the Czech Republic and Serbia instead with a second ice show (Princess Wishes) playing all of December and January in France. It had always been my understanding that the European engagement would end in early December and Gold 4 would rehearse for a Florida opening near the end of December and maybe that's still the plan.

Showbiz David said...

Thanks, Barry. I am more confused than ever.

Anonymous said...

The original plan was for the OLD Gold show to tour Europe until the Spring while the NEW Gold show was rehearsing,in December,in Florida.
Now,the OLD Gold show will close the European tour on December 13th,while the NEW Gold show proceeds as originally planned.

Barry said...

I thought that was the case after I saw the original schedule. The routing of the shows always interests me since touring has always been a big part of how I make my living.

Showbiz David said...

Barry, I am irresistibly interested in this issue. Am I correct in the following assumption: Usually, Feld books ice shows into those venues, and decided this time for offer his ice show audiences circus instead? And the advance response-buzz has been pallid?

Barry said...

The Felds have been touring an ice show in Europe from September through March for several years now. This year there are 2 different ice shows touring Europe at the same time. I don't know if this is the first time they've done that since I didn't pay much attention to the ice shows over the last couple of years. When you play 54 cities in 10 weeks a couple of times a year you tend not to think about where other shows are going...it's hard enough to remember where YOU are from day to day!

As for your second question, I really can't speculate on the exact reason the German dates were cancelled. Poor ticket sales is a common cause of shows being cancelled here in the states but certainly not the only one. In the case of a circus, there could be any number of factors to consider: transportation issues, government red tape, problems with local promoters, logistical problems with the venue...the list goes on and on. It's difficult enough to get a group of musicians and their gear across international borders. Imagine the headaches that come with trying to take performers of different nationalities, animals, tons of equipment and vehicles from country to country. So, while it's pure speculation on my part, I would be inclined to think that there were a number of factors that went into the decision to cancel.

Wade G. Burck said...

I should think "performers of different nationalities, animals, tons of equipment and vehicles from country to country" while indeed being a nightmare, were worked out well in advance. Looking at the Rome ticket sales, it is hard not to draw a conclusion.
Wade Burck

Anonymous said...

when the acts of such a quality, does it matter their origin?
And as far as I've ever known, Belgium and France were never in the cards.....

Showbiz David said...

Barry, from one of my best, most consistently reliable sources came this: "I did hear from one of my European contacts that Feld had backed out of plans to play Germany, France and England."

Barry said...


I agree with you. To my mind, poor ticket sales is the most likely culprit…although the animal rights people are claiming that it was their phone calls and protests that caused the dates to be cancelled.

I never thought that a one-ring European style circus from America was a unique enough offering to succeed in Europe. There are so many things competing for the entertainment dollar that you’ve got to offer something that really makes you stand out. You know the overhead that comes with touring a circus. Sales would have to be off the charts just to break even and it doesn’t seem like that was happening.


Barb D said...

Dear Anonymous,
Belgium and France were never in the cards. Milano was decent....the house held approx 2000 and most shows were three quarters. Great reviews in paper Il Giorno