America’s most celebrated circus Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey Circus has staged its final performance in New York, as emotional performers, and wistful crowd-goers bid farewell to an institution in US live entertainment.
The circus gave the final performance titled “The Greatest Show on Earth” to a sold-out crowd at Nassau Coliseum on Sunday night, showing off its death-defying stunts and exotic animals for the last time after 146 years, NBC News reported.
“Let’s go home and show everyone we are forever more the Greatest Show on Earth,” Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson said to close out the show, leading to a standing ovation.
Iverson then led the audience through a one last rendition of “Auld Lang Syne”, a tradition at the end of circuses, as performers sang along and hugged one another.
“It has been the honour of my life to be the voice of these tremendous artists,” Iverson said.
Feld Entertainment, the circus’ parent company, announced in January that the show would be coming to an end, citing changing public tastes and declining ticket sales after the company retired its elephants in May 2016 following a decades-long battle with animal rights groups, reports NBC News.
Ringling Bros was the last American circus that travelled by rail.
Until Sunday, the company’s train was the primary residence for most of the performers, who hail from 13 different countries.