Family Circus: Nicole Feld Emerges As The Third-Generation Leader Of Ringling Bros. And Barnum & Bailey
(Gary Bogdon/Gary Bogdon Photography)
Monte Burke, Forbes Staff I'm a feature-writer (mostly sports) and an editor of ForbesLife
Nicole Feld was born into the circus. Her grandfather, Irvin Feld, bought Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey back in 1967. He ran it until he died at age 66 in 1984, when his son (and Nicole’s father), Kenneth, took over the business, as the CEO and chairman of Feld Entertainment. Since then, the Felds have added Disney On Ice and Monster Jam to the mix. The Feld properties play to around 30 million people a year. A week ago, they announced they would be partnering with Marvel to do a traveling live-action show that involves characters like Spider Man, the Avengers and the X-Men.
Nicole, 35, has recently taken on a much larger role in the family business. After graduating from New York University and working as a photo editor at People magazine, Nicole joined Feld Entertainment in 2001. By 2003, she was handling all of the production of Ringling Bros. (which is in its 143rd year) and Disney On Ice, and now oversees all elements of their production, from the talent scouting to the final productions. (Her two younger sisters, Alana and Juliette, are also heavily involved in the family business.)
Tomorrow, the circus will return to Brooklyn after an eight-decade absence, running through April 1st at the Barclays Center. They expect to sell around 250,000 tickets during the run. We caught up with Feld to talk about her family, how she keeps the circus relevant and what it’s like to scour the globe in search of talented acrobats.
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