Live Show Review: Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Over the Top!

(please note:  awesome discounted ticket information at bottom of page!)

Thanks to Mom Central, my family and I were able to attend Friday night’s show of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey:  Over the Top! at Houston’s Reliant Stadium.

No one in our family had ever been to the circus, and we were all set for a grand adventure!  We opted to leave our 22mo son with friends, and although I saw many brave souls at the circus with young, young children, I’m ultimately glad we did not bring him.  It was just so much easier to enjoy the massive spectacle without worrying over him. (fyi:  we had our four other children there, ages 15, 12, 11, and 8 )

We did not arrive early enough to meet the performers before the show, but make sure you check out the schedule for the Animal Open House or All Access Pre-Show (both free to all ticket holders), because it looks like a ton of fun!

When we did arrive, I was amazed at the carnival-like atmosphere at the Stadium.  There were games and picture booths and food stands and souvenirs.  Quick tip:  eat before you go, the food is *expensive.*  And stock up on dollar store glow necklaces – the lights go out several times during the show, and the kids will love to swirl their glow sticks around (but the ones they sell at the show are $20!).  Also, feel free to bring your camera.  They allow flash photography, but just ask that you do not SHARE pictures from the show, as it is copyrighted.

We settled into some GREAT seats (thanks again, Mom Central!) and the show started.  One thing I did not expect was that the show is written as a story – it’s not simply “here’s this act,” and then “here’s another act.”  It was tied together with a kind of plot, dialogue, and some amazing singing.  In fact, our Ringmaster was Chuck Wagner, who originated the role of Rapunzel’s Prince in Broadway’s Into the Woods (one of our favorites!!), as well as the Beast in Broadway’s Beauty and the Beast, and the dual role of Jekyll & Hyde on Broadway.  That is some SERIOUS talent!  We were so excited that someone we’ve listened to and loved from Broadway was there to perform!

Sprinkled throughout the show were some unbelievable acts.  The elephants, the horses and their trick riders, the acrobats, the trapeze artisits, and so much more!  I hardly knew where to look, so much was going on and I didn’t want to miss a thing!  Our absolute FAVORITE of the night was the Steel Ball with seven – seven! – motorcycles speeding around inside.  The riders are all from the incredible Torres Family, and they had us gasping and shrieking and covering our eyes!  I laugh to think what we must have looked like through most of the show; honestly, we were on the edge of our seats for much of the time.  There were a few slower moments where I think some of the plot got lost on the audience (maybe some humor that was just not as “funny” as intended), but overall we were totally engaged and loving it.

One final tip for your post-circus experience:  bring a snack, a drink, and some ibuprofin in your car.  It’s a long show, and we did find ourselves very hungry and a little overstimulated by all the sights and sounds.  That, and it’s likely to be a very busy parking lot you’re trying to get out of, so planning ahead doesn’t hurt.

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Over the Top! show continues in Houston through July 26, then moves on to other cities in Texas before moving out of state by late August.  CHECK HERE for the complete tour schedule.

To receive a significant discount on tickets for the remaining Houston shows, do the following:

Get 4 tickets for $44 by entering the code “MOM” in the MC promotion code box on Ticketmaster.  Minimum purchase of 4 tickets required; additional tickets above 4 can be purchased at $11 each.  Offer not valid on Circus Celebrity, Front Row, or VIP Seating.  Cannot be combined with other offers.  Service charges and handling fees WILL APPLY.