Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey announced the comeback of The Greatest Show on Earth with interactive live shows featuring extraordinary talented performers from around the world and no animal acts this time, according to Associated Press. The final performance of the Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Circus was held in Uniondale, NY five years ago as ticket sales dropped following intense criticism over its use of circus animals. Chief operating officer, Juliette Feld Grossman says the company has considered their fans’ comments while re-imagining how to “keep the franchise fresh and alive”.

The new version of the show is set to launch in September 2023 with a big North American tour that is going to visit 50 cities and include more than 1,000 performers. The auditions have already been conducted in Argentina, Mongolia, Ethiopia, and France besides the United States, as Feld Entertainment, the owner of the circus states. Rehearsals begin in June 2023, and the tickets go on sale in April 2023.

Defined by the company as “displaying incredible feats that push the limits of human potential”, the performers will be encouraged to tell their personal stories and become ‘co-collaborators’ with the audience, bringing them closer to the action and creating a different experience with every show. “Our performers dedicate their lives to doing oftentimes risky, very technically challenging and athletic performances, and they do it because they are passionate about it,” Juliette Feld Grossman says, “And we want our audience to know more about them to understand how they trained, where they came from, what inspired them to create and develop this particular skill.”

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Chairman and CEO Kenneth Feld says the company has had five years to reconsider what its shows would be and what audiences want in age of more digital entertainment. The company aims to create a lifestyle brand “that connects with families and sparks real fun 365 days a year through live performances, digital content, consumer products, school curricula, youth circus arts programs and more.” It also will seek to extend its brand through theme park attractions and touring exhibitions.

The new production of The Greatest Show on Earth which excludes the animal acts was praised by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) as follows: “Feld’s forward-thinking revolution proves that circuses can dazzle audiences with willing human performers and that no animal need ever be exploited in the process.” Having been principal among those pressuring the removal of animal acts from the circus, PETA previously lauded the decision to return to the stage without the animals when the company first announced their returning plans in October 2021: “The exciting announcement sends a powerful message to the entire industry, something that PETA’s been saying for decades: Cruelty doesn’t belong in the circus or in any other form of entertainment.”

Ringling Bros used to be known for its staple of lions, tigers, and elephants, and other animal acts, and it closed its doors after a 146-year-run in 2017 because of the reaction of the audience against the company’s treatment of circus animals and its reflection on ticket sales.

Operating a variety of other entertainment brands, such as Monster Jam, Disney On Ice, and Sesame Street Live, the Floridan Company claims that they were entertainment for everyone and it was important that everyone who came to the show found something and someone they could really connect and relate to, in Grossman’s words.

International dates of the tour will be announced soon.