ALBANY — Brian Wright has been enamoured with clowns since he first attended a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus show at Madison Square Garden on his fourth birthday.
Now, the 24-year-old, is one of them.
“I consider myself quite lucky to be a clown with The Greatest Show on Earth,” said Wright.
The Brooklyn native attended Philippa Schuyler School for the Gifted and Talented and Brooklyn High School of the Arts, where he ultimately met his wife. Wright admits that he spent his teenaged years focused on wrestling and video games. The life of a circus clown was far from his mind, until his now wife convinced him to take her to the circus. “I was too old for the circus,” he said. But, when the show was over, “I nearly cried because I felt like I was back home.”
After that date, the then-17-year-old picked up as many videos of clowns he could find. He developed a fandom for the clowning talents of performers Tom and Tammy Parish, David Solove, Dean Kelley and Jeff Schott. Today, Wright cites Robin Eurich (Rusty the Handyman) of The Bozo Super Sunday Show as his friend and mentor throughout his career.
“A lot of people want to get a scoop with the ringleader because he’s a high profile guy. He’s the leader of the show. But, the clowns, they are in so much of the show. They are kind of the unsung heroes of the show. We are out there performing, from one hour before the show starts… and it ends with the clowns. We’re all over the place.”
Now touring with his wife of two years, Wright feels like he’s “living the dream” every time he walks through the curtain. In Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey presents “Circus XTREME,” Wright plays the part of a bumbling inventor who tries to come up with ingenious (but comically inept) ways to help his team find extremecircus artists.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents Circus XTREME features artists who redefine the word extreme in everything they do, magnifying traditional elements of the circus and combining them with never-before-seen spectacles, original fast-paced performances and incredibly hilarious moments. The multi-year tour offers extreme thrills, exotic animals and extraordinary performers that add up to the ultimate family entertainment experience.
High-wire wizards, powerful strongmen, BMX trick riders, trampoline daredevils, inconceivable contortionists, a high-flying human cannonball, a bungee aerial skydiving display and an international assembly of more than 100 world-renowned artists provide more than two hours of thrilling entertainment.
“Circus XTREME” also features a full menagerie of amazing animals; beautiful Bengal tigers and two-humped camels ridden by brave Mongolian women who are also champion horseback archers.
“We pulled from the realm of extreme sports and competitive acrobatics and brought them into the world of the circus, making this the most contemporary show we’ve ever created,” said co-producer Alana Feld. “We’ve also pushed the limits of all of our amazing artists and performers to create new and different exhilarating elements, providing audiences with extreme family fun.”
The party starts an hour before the show at the All Access Pre-show, which is free with your ticket purchase. You and your family can meet its international cast of performers and get up close to its menagerie of animals. Try on custom costumes, learn circus skills — like juggling and walking the low wire — from the famous Ringling Bros.’ “Clown Alley.”
“We wanted to create a show that keeps pace with modern families and caters to the ‘edge-of-the-seat’ thrill that parents and kids are seeking in live entertainment,” said co-producer Nicole Feld. “The experience is enhanced by the interactivity of our All Access Pre-Show, and as a mom, I know that’s my daughter’s favorite part.”
Wright said the All Access Pre-Show is particularly special for him, as it allows him to set a positive, first experience for kids, much in the way he had as a 4-year-old.
“Even if you are a little wary, please come down,” said Wright. “We are some of the coolest clowns on the planet.”
Ticketholders can purchase an upgrade and go backstage with a VIP Behind the Scenes Tour of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. The backstage experience includes an insider look at props and wardrobe, an up close and personal encounter with the animals and a chance to meet stars from the show. Fans will also have an opportunity to take pictures and learn educational fun facts. To take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime experience, just log on to ringlingbros.expapp.com from your iPhone or Android smartphone and provide your name, e-mail and phone number to become a VIP circus insider.