From your Massive Top rated In the Significant Planet: A Ringling Ringmaster’s Ultimate Bow

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Enlarge this imageRingmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson enters the ring in Fairfax, Va., at one of many closing performances of your Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.Marian Carrasquero/NPRhide captiontoggle captionMarian Carrasquero/NPRRingmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson enters the ring in Fairfax, Va., at on the list of ultimate performances from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.Marian Carrasquero/NPRThe Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has been entertaining audiences for a long time. Its history goes back 146 years to about the time when profe sional baseball emerged and before Coca-Cola was invented. But this substantial chapter in American history comes to a close on Sunday. After years of declining ticket sales and seemingly endle s conflicts with animal rights groups, Ringling Bros. will stage its closing show in Uniondale, N.Y. Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson is a person of hundreds of Ringling performers and crew members with extraordinary talents who will be out of a job come Monday. Recruited fresh out of college, where he'd been studying voice performance and training to be a profe sional opera singer, he became Ringling's first African-American ringmaster in 1998. "Ironically enough, I will be the very last voice in the 146-year history of this show, so I will be the last person you hear to speak of 'The Greatest Show on Earth' which is a wild little paradox, to be a first and a last at the same time. I don't know too many people who can say that, in any industry," he says.In his nearly 20-year career with the circus, Iverson married a fellow performer a Brazilian dancer turned production manager and raised two children while traveling from city to city on the circus train. Now 8 and 12 years old, his children also perform with Ringling. During the circus' recent slate of shows in Virginia, Iverson https://www.padresside.com/san-diego-padres/wil-myers-jersey let NPR into his earth. Between performances, he navigates what comes next. On a trip to FedEx to ship out profe sional portfolios to prospective agents, he reflects on the absurdity of job-hunting for circus folks recalling the time consultants came to help them with their resumes. "How do you do that with circus people? How do you help them write that out? How do you write a resume for superman?" Iverson asks. "It's like, he flies, you know?" Iverson and his family of four have lived year-round in a three-room compartment on the mile-long Ringling circus train. As they travel from city to city, they collect magnets from the different places they visit.Marian Carrasquero/NPRhide captiontoggle captionMarian Carrasquero/NPREnlarge this imageIverson talks with his daughter, 8-year-old Lila https://www.padresside.com/san-diego-padres/tony-gwynn-jersey Simone, in their home on the circus train. She and her brother, 12-year-old Matthew Felipe, have grown up in the circus and both now perform in the ring.Marian Carrasquero/NPRhide captiontoggle captionMarian Carrasquero/NPRIverson talks with his daughter, 8-year-old Lila Simone, in their home on the circus train. She and her brother, 12-year-old Matthew Felipe, have grown up in the circus and both now perform in the ring.Marian Carrasquero/NPR About 120 performers and crew members from Ringling's "Blue Unit" have lived year-round on the mile-long circus train. A separate "Red Unit," which simultaneously traveled the country, had its own train with a comparable number of full-time residents.Marian Carrasquero/NPRhide captiontoggle captionMarian Carrasquero/NPRIverson's son Matthew Felipe gets ready backstage; Iverson applies makeup. Matthew Felipe plays a younger version of his father during the show.Marian Carresquero/NPRhide captiontoggle captionMarian Carresquero/NPREnlarge this imageIverson waits in the wings of the EagleBank Arena at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., before one of many final matinee performances. Recruited by Ringling fresh out of college, Iverson has been with the circus almost half his life.Marian Carrasquero/NPRhide captiontoggle captionMarian Carrasquero/NPRIverson waits in the wings from the EagleBank Arena at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., before among the list of last matinee performances. Recruited by Ringling fresh out of college, Iverson has been with the circus almost half his life.Marian Carrasquero/NPR Ringling performers and animals enter the arena in Fairfax, Va.Marian Carrasquero/NPRhide captiontoggle captionMarian Carrasquero/NPRIverson greets the crowd at EagleBank Arena on a spaceship. The ultimate theme for the Blue Unit's performance is "Out of this Globe."Marian Carrasquero/NPRhide captiontoggle captionMarian Carrasquero/NPRBig cat trainer Alexander Lacey commands lions and tigers during the performance. In Ringling's last year, these animals, along with horses, were the show's largest. Elephants were retired with the circus in 2016.Marian Carrasquero/NPRhide captiontoggle captionMarian Carrasquero/NPREnlarge this imageA performer soars through the air. The show features cla sic acts including clowns and tightrope walkers, as well as stunt motorcyclists https://www.padresside.com/san-diego-padres/rickey-henderson-jersey and acrobatic ice skaters.Marian Carrasquero/NPRhide captiontoggle captionMarian Carrasquero/NPRA performer soars through the air. The show features cla sic acts including clowns and tightrope walkers, as well as stunt motorcyclists and acrobatic ice skaters.Marian Carrasquero/NPR "Every last artist needs me out there as their voice," says Iverson. "It's imperative that I'm out there to present them as the glorious beings that they are. ... They're the greatest thing for those 8 minutes or 12 minutes that they're doing their thing, and the planet needs to understand ... no one else does it. And the only person who can render that excitement and zeal is the ringmaster."Marian Carrasquero/NPRhide captiontoggle captionMarian Carrasquero/NPREnlarge this imageAfter 146 years, the Ringling Bros. circus will stage their remaining performance on Sunday in Uniondale, N.Y. By the final weekend, Iverson is still not sure what comes next for him and his family.Marian Carrasquero/NPRhide captiontoggle captionMarian Carrasquero/NPRAfter 146 years, the Ringling Bros. circus will stage their remaining performance on Sunday in Uniondale, N.Y. By the final weekend, Iverson is still not sure what comes next for him and his family.Marian Carrasquero/NPR

Enlarge this imageRingmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson enters the ring in Fairfax, Va., at one of many closing performances of your Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.Marian Carrasquero/NPRhide captiontoggle captionMarian Carrasquero/NPRRingmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson enters the ring in Fairfax, Va., at on the list of ultimate performances from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.Marian Carrasquero/NPRThe Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has been entertaining audiences for a long time. Its history goes back 146 years to about the time when profe sional baseball emerged and before Coca-Cola was invented. But this substantial chapter in American history comes to a close on Sunday. After years of declining ticket sales and seemingly endle s conflicts with animal rights groups, Ringling Bros. will stage its closing show in Uniondale, N.Y. Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson is a person of hundreds of Ringling performers and crew members with extraordinary talents who will be out of a job come Monday. Recruited fresh out of college, where he’d been studying voice performance and training to be a profe sional opera singer, he became Ringling’s first African-American ringmaster in 1998. “Ironically enough, I will be the very last voice in the 146-year history of this show, so I will be the last person you hear to speak of ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ which is a wild little paradox, to be a first and a last at the same time. I don’t know too many people who can say that, in any industry,” he says.In his nearly 20-year career with the circus, Iverson married a fellow performer a Brazilian dancer turned production manager and raised two children while traveling from city to city on the circus train. Now 8 and 12 years old, his children also perform with Ringling. During the circus’ recent slate of shows in Virginia, Iverson https://www.padresside.com/san-diego-padres/wil-myers-jersey let NPR into his earth. Between performances, he navigates what comes next. On a trip to FedEx to ship out profe sional portfolios to prospective agents, he reflects on the absurdity of job-hunting for circus folks recalling the time consultants came to help them with their resumes. “How do you do that with circus people? How do you help them write that out? How do you write a resume for superman?” Iverson asks. “It’s like, he flies, you know?” Iverson and his family of four have lived year-round in a three-room compartment on the mile-long Ringling circus train. As they travel from city to city, they collect magnets from the different places they visit.Marian Carrasquero/NPRhide captiontoggle captionMarian Carrasquero/NPREnlarge this imageIverson talks with his daughter, 8-year-old Lila https://www.padresside.com/san-diego-padres/tony-gwynn-jersey Simone, in their home on the circus train. She and her brother, 12-year-old Matthew Felipe, have grown up in the circus and both now perform in the ring.Marian Carrasquero/NPRhide captiontoggle captionMarian Carrasquero/NPRIverson talks with his daughter, 8-year-old Lila Simone, in their home on the circus train. She and her brother, 12-year-old Matthew Felipe, have grown up in the circus and both now perform in the ring.Marian Carrasquero/NPR About 120 performers and crew members from Ringling’s “Blue Unit” have lived year-round on the mile-long circus train. A separate “Red Unit,” which simultaneously traveled the country, had its own train with a comparable number of full-time residents.Marian Carrasquero/NPRhide captiontoggle captionMarian Carrasquero/NPRIverson’s son Matthew Felipe gets ready backstage; Iverson applies makeup. Matthew Felipe plays a younger version of his father during the show.Marian Carresquero/NPRhide captiontoggle captionMarian Carresquero/NPREnlarge this imageIverson waits in the wings of the EagleBank Arena at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., before one of many final matinee performances. Recruited by Ringling fresh out of college, Iverson has been with the circus almost half his life.Marian Carrasquero/NPRhide captiontoggle captionMarian Carrasquero/NPRIverson waits in the wings from the EagleBank Arena at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., before among the list of last matinee performances. Recruited by Ringling fresh out of college, Iverson has been with the circus almost half his life.Marian Carrasquero/NPR Ringling performers and animals enter the arena in Fairfax, Va.Marian Carrasquero/NPRhide captiontoggle captionMarian Carrasquero/NPRIverson greets the crowd at EagleBank Arena on a spaceship. The ultimate theme for the Blue Unit’s performance is “Out of this Globe.”Marian Carrasquero/NPRhide captiontoggle captionMarian Carrasquero/NPRBig cat trainer Alexander Lacey commands lions and tigers during the performance. In Ringling’s last year, these animals, along with horses, were the show’s largest. Elephants were retired with the circus in 2016.Marian Carrasquero/NPRhide captiontoggle captionMarian Carrasquero/NPREnlarge this imageA performer soars through the air. The show features cla sic acts including clowns and tightrope walkers, as well as stunt motorcyclists https://www.padresside.com/san-diego-padres/rickey-henderson-jersey and acrobatic ice skaters.Marian Carrasquero/NPRhide captiontoggle captionMarian Carrasquero/NPRA performer soars through the air. The show features cla sic acts including clowns and tightrope walkers, as well as stunt motorcyclists and acrobatic ice skaters.Marian Carrasquero/NPR “Every last artist needs me out there as their voice,” says Iverson. “It’s imperative that I’m out there to present them as the glorious beings that they are. … They’re the greatest thing for those 8 minutes or 12 minutes that they’re doing their thing, and the planet needs to understand … no one else does it. And the only person who can render that excitement and zeal is the ringmaster.”Marian Carrasquero/NPRhide captiontoggle captionMarian Carrasquero/NPREnlarge this imageAfter 146 years, the Ringling Bros. circus will stage their remaining performance on Sunday in Uniondale, N.Y. By the final weekend, Iverson is still not sure what comes next for him and his family.Marian Carrasquero/NPRhide captiontoggle captionMarian Carrasquero/NPRAfter 146 years, the Ringling Bros. circus will stage their remaining performance on Sunday in Uniondale, N.Y. By the final weekend, Iverson is still not sure what comes next for him and his family.Marian Carrasquero/NPR

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