Thursday, September 11, 2014

"Ringling Magic," At Last, Under Kelly Miller Canvas

Tonight, just now, seconds ago, I re-watched the Kelly Miller DVD that John Ringling North II had sent me a while back, wanting to take a second look at the sensationally captivating young ball bounce juggler from Ethiopia, Abrham Gebre, making a  "first time in America" appearance on the show.

I was even more impressed, thinking I might have slightly overreacted when first I saw him on the video, his presence lifting the show truly into Ringling territory, far beyond the normal fare of a pleasant JRN II circus program.   He is a fair sensation,  somersaulting into the ring (I hadn't noticed that the first time), grabbing the audience's attention with an ingratiating charm full of a sharing energy, and proceeding to dazzle with his routine, ending up atop a ladder on a table, to produce a neat payoff.  This is the stuff of Gold.

End of act, during moments when I heard a drum roll, and saw blue canvas, I felt almost as if I were back in De Mille's The Greatest Show on Earth under that gorgeous big top.

When North bought the show back in around  2007, he or Jim Royal issued a statement to a press person about wanting to bring a "little Ringling magic" to the show

Well, this is that magic.  Gebre is probably the best act  North & Royal have ever signed, the Poema family coming in a solid second.  There were some African tumblers, I believe, whom some thought were the high point of the edition, one of the first,  in which they appeared.

Perhaps Johnny Come Lately has a way of finding and signing newer talent on the rise, at good terms.  A flair for the foreign.

Here, in the charismatic attack of a great performer and  entertainer (like Brunn, Gebre's body is in constant motion, too, complimenting his diverse repertoire),  North II presents the genuine article.

I could almost hear  Merle Evans' men thundering through, "Sing Hallelujah!" ... the ringmaster shouting high and wide ... the Greaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat Sebastian!


Harry Kingston said...

I am real surprised in your story before this one you did not hear back from Jim Royal but they are busy getting ready for the CFA convention date.
Yes we all wish we could go back to the days Clyde Beatty, Unus, and many stellar acts but now days you got to make the nut.
Attendance is not what it used to be and many folks are just trying to live and keep there head above water now.
Let alone afford high price tickets for shows and the circuses got to make enough to keep the doors open.
John Ringling North II is trying to add to his circus little by little and make the nut.
Times have changed and those bills keep coming in with or with out a job.
What tents cost now day plus food and wages and extra expenses.
How about advertising when the circuses plastered the towns and out lying areas and what that would cost today,WOW.
Lets wish them all the best and hope for the future that the circuses are still around for us fans to enjoy them.
I wish John Ringling North II, Barbara and Geary Byrd and Johnny Pugh all the best for keeping the American tent circus going and bless then all.
And thanks for many great memories of the way it was.
Harry in Texas
Harry in Texas

Show Biz Books said...

I just caught the show earlier this week in Northern Illinois.

Really wish you could experience it in person instead of via DVD (in the comfort of home.) Live entertainment should always be just that - LIVE. An attempt to review a live performance based on a DVD simply falls short.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this season's show. All of the new acts (as you pointed out) are good and noteworthy. JRN II and his team are to be commended for bringing quality, affordable LIVE entertainment to the smaller towns of America.

That is what the American circus has always done. The Kelly Miller Circus is keeping up that tradition.

Paul Holley

Showbiz David said...


I generally agree with you that the best way to see a circus is live.
But, technology is changing that to a degree, certainly if you can see an entire show taped live, as opposed to editing, etc.

Even then, I did not present this as a formal starred review, but as a commentary on what I saw as a glaring disparity between the weak acts and the strong ones.

I am glad you enjoyed the show, and thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Just read your praises in melodramatic form to Abrham. With a grin he said quietly, "Thank you very much". He is as modest as he is talented.

John Moss

Showbiz David said...

Thank you, John.

Very gratifying to know.