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Long Live Ringling Bros. with On-Fire Mary Reichel!

With the announcement of The Greatest Show on Earth, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, closing its doors in May 2017, we thought it would be a good time to celebrate the immense amount of enjoyment it has brought the world! In the next couple of weeks, we will be interviewing performers who have worked for the Ringling Bros Circus. They will reflect on the good it has brought them and what the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has contributed to the future of Circus Arts!

Long live the circus!


Next up in our series of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus performers is Mary Reichel! Mary is an extremely talented and humble performer (two things hard to find together in this industry)! If there is anyone who you want to handle your fire show...Mary is the BEST way to go!

Hmmm...I'm seeing a trend here. It looks like RBBB was not only a talented producer of shows, but also a wonderful producer of world-class performers!

Mary Reichel - RBBB Clown

Q: What is your name?

A: Mary Reichel

Q: When were you with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus?

A: 1999-2001

Q: What did you do with Ringling?

A: Clown

Q: If you are not with Ringling anymore, what are you doing now?

A: I have a Fire Act that I do seasonally and for corporate work, and I also have a steady gig at Café Tutu Tango [in Orlando, FL].

Q: What was your most memorable moment with Ringling?

A: The moment we got the call to join the show! My husband and I were tent show clowns for many years and never in our wildest dreams did we ever think we could join The Greatest Show on Earth (they only hired Clown College graduates at that time). It truly was a dream come true! After we joined the show, there were too many memorable moments to count. One day that was extra special for me, though, was when the owner of the show, Kenneth Feld, handpicked me to perform in a few of the featured clown roles in the show. What an honor!

Q: Is there anything special that you carry on with you from Ringling?

A: Gratitude. Every day that I walked into that arena, I felt gratitude. I felt blessed. I never take anything for granted. I cherish every gig, every contract, big or small. It is pretty humbling that we as entertainers were put on this earth to make the world smile!

Q: When you watch the show, what is your favorite part?

A: There’s really no favorite part for me. I love every minute of it! I do look forward to the production numbers. I love seeing the whole cast together in the ring. That was my favorite part of the show when I was on it. So...I guess that’s why it’s my favorite part watching it!

Q: Is there anything else you would like to say about Ringling?

A: It is a really heartbreaking time for me right now. Growing up in NYC. Seeing them in Madison Square Garden as a child and then being a part of it! Meeting Gunther Gebel Williams for the 1st time! All the lifelong circus family Ringling has given me. RBBBC was more than a traveling show. It is something you would have had to live through to understand. It feels like a living, breathing thing. I really cannot believe they will cease to exist. It feels like a part of your heart is gone.

Thank you very much, Mary. Our heart goes out to you and all of the RBBB performers that have so much history with the show. We will never forget the never-ending impact you have had on the circus world!

If you want to see more of Mary, visit her at


Is there something you want former performers from Ringling Bros. to answer?! Leave a comment below!

Get your tickets for the remaining Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey shows here!


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