Feld Entertainment Inc., the worldwide leader in live family entertainment, announced Wednesday that Orlando resident Kristen Michelle Wilson will join Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents Circus XTREME® and become the first-ever female ringmaster in the brand’s 146-year history. A dynamic performer with tremendous stage presence and exceptional vocal skills, Wilson beat out hundreds of candidates in a nationwide open audition process to earn the prestigious role.
For over a century, female performers have been some of Ringling Bros. biggest stars, and Wilson will continue the tradition when she joins the show on January 12, 2017. Her premiere performance will be at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla., and be followed by a national tour including stops in Jacksonville and Tampa, Fla.; Atlanta; Cincinnati; Greenville, S.C.; and Greensboro, N.C.
A professional singer with a background in theater, Wilson brings her talent and enthusiastic energy to the iconic role of ringmaster, transforming and further modernizing The Greatest Show On Earth. As a young woman with a diverse background, Wilson will serve as a role model, inspiring and empowering children everywhere to follow their dreams.
“The Feld family continues to bring fresh, modern elements to their productions and Circus XTREME is no exception,” said Wilson. “To be the Ringmaster of The Greatest Show On Earth is a bucket-list role.”
Wilson will be the 39th ringmaster in Ringling Bros. history and will star in Circus XTREME alongside artists who redefine the word “extreme” in everything they do by combining never-before-seen spectacles with original, fast-paced performances.
Wilson began honing her talents from a young age, practicing dance, gymnastics, theater, and speech and debate. These years of training helped the Tallahassee, Florida native find her strengths and ultimately shaped her into the first-ever female Ringmaster for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®.
Wilson studied multimedia production at Tallahassee Community College and later attended Florida State University where she pursued a degree in international affairs. After college, Wilson appeared on-air as a television host for WCTV, Tallahassee’s CBS affiliate, and she hosted WGN/UPN TV’s local show, Let’s Do Lunch, which was broadcast throughout Florida.
In 2010, Wilson moved to Central Florida to pursue a career in live theater. She joined the variety show, Treasure Tavern, serving as emcee and diva singer. During this time, she also showcased her vocal abilities as the lead singer of the band, Sonic Gypsies.
After seeing Pippin on Broadway, Wilson was captivated and intrigued by the circus. She pursued this passion with a lead role as a singer and master of ceremonies in The Cirque Magique. “The role was an incredible experience and really gave me a taste of the circus,” explained Wilson. “Bringing joy to the faces of kids and adults, I realized that the sense of wonderment is ageless — and I wanted to be able to do that every night for audiences across the country.”