An All-New Intergalactic Family Experience
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey invites their South Florida fans to engage in a new circus experience as they present Out Of This World, a cosmic voyage that takes everyone to space to witness incredible acrobatic performances on various planets introduced through lead characters and a good versus evil storyline. This all-new immersive experience is coming to the American Airlines Arena in Miami.
“As we unveil Out Of This World, a show unlike anything experienced before, we are launching our iconic brand into the future,” said Alana Feld, Executive Vice President of Feld Entertainment and Producer of Out Of This World. “Ringling Bros. is constantly changing, but this is more than that. In this production, we’re creating a new genre of circus that will shatter expectations, spark excitement and push the limits of what’s possible.”
In Out Of This World, audiences will be riveted by an interactive, action-packed storyline filled with space-age family fun and technology, which deepens their connection to the performers. Through the lens of a magic telescope capable of discovering the most spectacular circus stars in the galaxy, they will join the Circus Space Fleet on a heroic mission of good versus evil to bring performers back to Earth, traveling to interstellar worlds of sand, water, fire and ice.
For the first time, the show features thrill skaters in addition to unbelievable performances by gravity-defying acrobats, majestic animals and hilarious clowns. Imaginations will run wild throughout the nonstop display of artistic athleticism, with acts seamlessly transitioning from floor to air to ice, a feat never before done in Ringling Bros.
Back for his seventh tour as Ringmaster with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, it was a pleasure to sit down with Johnathan Lee Iverson, just a couple weeks before they come to South Florida.
Were you a ham/performer as a kid?
Sure, when I needed to be.
You were very young, 11 years old, when you started with the Boys Choir of Harlem. How did that come about and tell me about the experience?
My mother recommended it. I’d seen a news segment on the choir and found it appealing. Their extensive traveling schedule is what intrigued me most. I always desired to travel. The audition was simple, at the time seemed like the greatest event of my life. However, when I got accepted I had no idea I had to actually work for a shot at performing. I thought I’d just get on with it. You know how we’re told in this reality TV talent show age. It was the hardest 18 months of my young life. I attempted to quit every week. However, the work eventually paid off and the result was an enchanting life experience during my teen years: traveling the globe, performing with the likes of Stevie Wonder on the world’s most coveted stages, including the White House, for Presidents and dignitaries such as Nelson Mandela.
What was your first professional (paid) gig?
I believe the soundtrack for the motion picture Glory.
You have been with Ringling Bros on and off since 1998. Does it ever get boring?
Are you kidding? My coworkers fly and talk to animals, among other extraordinary things. I wouldn’t trust anyone bored by that.
Barbara Walters named you one of the 10 most fascinating people in 1999, can you remember how that felt? Did it help your career?
Initially being selected sounded great. I wasn’t pleased with how I was presented on that show. Certain segments of the press cling to this Boys in the ‘hood narrative when talking about black people. That wasn’t my reality at all. I grew up on Central Park West for goodness sake. So, no it did nothing for my career, because it wasn’t the truth.
You have performed off-Broadway, in commercials, have done voiceovers, and you write freelance. Is there one you enjoy more than the others, and if so why?
It’s a privilege to be capable and afforded a venue to work in various capacities of entertainment. Essentially I play for a living and for some reason people pay to see it. I never take that for granted. However, writing is most exhilarating, as it comes through me as a completely original thought or creation.
Other than in this new show, what has been your favorite act(s) in the circus over the years?
The Working men & women – our crew. Watch them at any show and it is a stellar performance all its own. Without them, there is no show.
What should the South Florida audiences expect from this version of Ringling Bros circus and how does it differ from the past?
As always it’s The Greatest Show On Earth, but this time in the universe. They’ll be intrigued by the intergalactic tale of good vs. evil, friendship lost and regained and all the high wattage adventure in between, even before the show during our Animal Open House and Star Seeker’s Early Access.
What made you come back and take over the Ringmaster hat one more time?
There’s nothing in the performance world that can compare to being the voice who initiates the most wondrous presentation on the planet, nothing. Hollywood awards season is upon us and every year, I think to myself: “they need 99 + takes and CGI to do what we do, but are hailed as demigods.” No, the miracle, the magic, the birth place of American pop culture still resides under the Big Top.
What’s ahead for Johnathan?
I’m finally going to begin working on my book. The demand is there and I believe I am mature enough to properly tell my story and even appreciate what it might mean to others. Know any good publishers?
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s Out Of This World Circus will be playing at the American Airlines Arena until January 15. Tickets for can be purchased by visiting Ringling.com.