Even though this isnt quite the same circus your grandma saw when she was a kid, some elements remain the same. After all, its a 137-year tradition. I still wear a top hat, says McFarlan. Plus, marching elephants, dancing poodles, and tightrope-straddling acrobats remain big-top draws. The show has some of its traditionalism, he says. But its been bumped up to appeal to younger audience members.
McFarlan, a theater vet, says he never dreamed of running away and joining the circus when he was little. In fact, he never even saw one in person until he was an adult. Now that hes part of the Ringling Bros. family, McFarlan relishes his role as ringmaster -- a position held by only 33 guys before him. But you wont see me on a tightrope, he laughs. Unless its 10 inches from the ground. www.ringling.com.
Tuesdays-Fridays, 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays, 11:30 a.m., 3:30 & 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 1 & 5 p.m. Starts: Oct. 19. Continues through Oct. 27, 2007