Even Ringmaster David Shipman is amazed at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus’ new show, “Fully Charged: Gold Edition.”
“We’ve never done anything like this before,” he said in a phone interview with the Daily Journal. “It’s high-energy from beginning to end. You see all the things you expect to see: juggling, high-wire acts, the classic elephants – but we’re upping our game a little bit this year. In the knife-throwing act, they light the knives on fire. We have aerial acts falling 30 feet in the air without any kind of support, which is amazing. Our strong-arm man is a descendant of Genghis Khan.”
Shipman has a front row seat to all of the acts as Ringmaster, but his favorite is the one act that makes him the most nervous.
“The Globe of Steel: you’ve got three motorcycles riding around in steel. It makes my palms sweat every single time. It’s great,” he said.
The circus keeps its Ringmaster on his toes throughout the performance.
“I sing, I dance, I announce the circus acts. But I constantly have to be on my game because these are live acts. You can see the sweat. You can see the strain. Everything you see is real, and things can go wrong. You have to be prepared for everything,” Shipman said.
For the Pensacola, Fla., native, it’s a dream job.
“I get the audience amped up from beginning to end, and I continue that till the last possible second. It’s a challenge, but it’s the greatest challenge you’ve ever had. It’s such a dream come true,” he said.
He invites kids of all ages to make memories with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
“The circus is tradition,” he said. “We engage the entire family the entire time. Kids will remember this for years to come.”
Under the Big Top
WHAT: Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus presents “Fully Charged: Gold Edition”
WHEN: 7 p.m. April 11, 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. April 12, 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. April 13 and 2 p.m. April 14
WHERE: BancorpSouth Arena
COST: $38/VIP gold circle, $26/VIP premium, $21 and $16
INFO: bcsarena.com, (662) 841-6528
Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal