Sandor Eke - Boss Clown
Sandor Eke hails from a Hungarian circus family, but grew up with Circus Scott in Sweden, in which his father is the Tent master and his mother was formerly Ringmaster. Sandor's earliest aspiration was to be a stuntman, but he first became a professional swimmer before attending the Hungarian State Circus School. From there, he worked all over Europe with Circus Italiano and the Hungarian State Circus, performing at circus festivals in Germany, France, Belgium and Hungary, as well as at Berlin's Urania Theater and in the musical, Cats, in Hungary. Sandor started his career with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® as a member of a featured Hungarian teeterboard act. Intrigued by the physical aspects of clowning, Sandor eventually brought his unique and irreverent humor to the Ringling Bros. ® Clown Alley. Fueled by an ever-present supply of Gummi Bears and inspired by his hero, Batman, and comedian Rowan Atkinson's bumbling character, Mr. Bean, Sandor brought his repertoire of acrobatic pratfalls to the 136th Edition. In just two years with The Greatest Show On Earth® Sandor was elevated to Boss Clown, a position he was very honored to have received.
As boss clown, Sandor serves as the liaison between show management and the alley and was responsible for all the clowns. Returning for his fourth tour of The Greatest Show On Earth, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents DRAGONS, Sandor will continue his duties as Boss Clown mentoring new and returning clowns.
Sandor says that one of his favorite things about being part of Ringling Bros. is the opportunity to work with elephants, even though he enjoys returning home every day to his dog, Rachel. He also admits that he misses his family and that they, too, miss him, disclosing that, when he departed for the United States almost 12 years ago his mother told him, " 'My left eye is crying and the right one is smiling.' She was sad because I was leaving home, but glad to know that I would be happy here!"
Henry Higinio grew up in Lima, Peru, and longed to be a theater actor as a young boy, even though he did not come from a performing family. As a teenager, he began to work in children's theater. After graduating from high school and while attending college as a Marketing major, Henry decided to make the entertainment business his career, and has worked in television, radio and circuses, primarily as a clown. Henry draws his life inspiration from his father, whom he considers his hero, and the inspiration for his clown character from the great Charlie Chaplin. He is honored to be able to share this persona with The Greatest Show On EarthÒ, an institution he has long admired, including "the great performers that make up the Ringling Bros.Ò family."
Henry is truly committed to his craft and enjoys the freedom it gives him to travel to so many places, "bringing joy to people and putting smiles on their faces." He never goes anywhere without a clown nose - or pictures of his family. When he is not honing his skills, he likes to spend time sketching and drawing, surfing the Web and playing soccer. Still, his desire to perform and eagerness to do his job are his strongest drives: "Always look ahead and never behind. Dreams and perseverance are a powerful combination."Andrew Hicks
Andrew Hicks jokes that he comes from a long line of clowns but is the first to wear makeup and get paid for it. A first generation performer, Andrew has always been passionate about becoming a veterinarian and a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® clown, things that Andrew has been working towards since he was a young child. First inspired by the 1987 CBS Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Clown College® Special, Andrew began performing at the age of nine at his father's Chick-fil-A and from there went on to do shows at churches, libraries, fairs, and other local events. In 8th grade, Andrew was nominated as Class Clown and when he continued his studies at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, one of the most academically rigorous high schools in the country, he became an accomplished research biologist and taught his entire residence hall how to juggle.
Mentored by two former Ringling Bros.® clowns, Steve Lough and Jeff Darnell, Andrew's dream of being a part of The Greatest Show On Earth® became a reality when he auditioned for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Clown College in Coney Island, NY in the summer of 2010. "This has been a lifelong dream of mine. I never thought I would work among the best clowns in the world. Being a part of this world famous clown alley feels like a dream. Since finding out I made it to Ringling Bros., I have been pinching myself everyday to make sure I'm not dreaming!" exclaims Andrew. Andrew plans on being a clown for as long as he can be and then will continue pursuing his other dream of being a veterinarian.
Kelliann Karsten loves to make people laugh. Inspired by some of the funniest women in comedy, including Amy Poehler, Tina Fey and the legendary Lucille Ball, Kelliann makes it her mission to put smiles on people's faces. Having performed in school plays in her hometown of Baldwinsville, NY, Kelliann moved to San Francisco to continue her education in performance. Her first attempt at performance outside of a school atmosphere was as a member of an all female sketch comedy group. Within the group, the girls were responsible for writing, performing, directing and producing which allowed Kelliann to gain more experience. She then attended the Clown Conservatory at Circus Center to hone her skills in clowning and graduated in 2008.
Now on her second tour with The Greatest Show On Earth®, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents DRAGONS, Kelliann hopes to gain more experience and learn from her fellow Clown Alley members. When she is not performing for Children of All Ages, Kelliann enjoys reading short stories, watching movies and exploring the different cities she travels to each week. Traveling with Kelliann is her new husband, Wages Argott, trumpet player and assistant conductor for the show. The two met and fell in love during the 140th Edition, BARNUM 200SM.Oscar Liendo Jr.
Hoping to create his own family legacy of performers, Oscar Liendo Jr. leads the way as he returns to The Greatest Show On Earth® for his second tour in Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents DRAGONS.
A first generation clown, the Laredo, Texan began performing magic when he was 10, studied juggling when he was in high school, and was bit by the circus bug by graduation. Immediately after graduation, Oscar enrolled and attended the Clown Conservatory in San Francisco, in the hopes that it would help him fulfill his lifelong dream of joining The Greatest Show On Earth.
In July of 2009, Oscar showed off his skills at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College® auditions in San Francisco. Amazed by his talents and his hunger to give a great show, Oscar was invited to become a member of the renowned Ringling Bros. Clown Alley.
Although it was hard leaving his four younger siblings and parents back at home, Oscar was excited to join his new, extended family when he made his debut with BARNUM 200SM. Drawing inspiration from a legendary Mexican wrestler named "El Santo", Oscar hopes to be like him, and not worry about the money or fame of performing, but that Children Of All Ages will enjoy his many talents.
LaRena Rose - "Rosie McQueen"
Sebastopol, California native, LaRena Rose, also known as Rosie McQueen, grew up knowing that she wanted to be a performer of some sort. Having come from a theatrical background, with a great uncle who was in Vaudeville, a great aunt who was a clown, and a great great uncle who was in a wild west rodeo show, LaRena wanted to be everything from a tight rope walker to an opera singer, an actor on Broadway, a rock singer to a clown. Since the age of eight, LaRena has been in about 50 different plays and musicals, but it wasn't until she was involved in her friend's play about backstage life at a circus that she was drawn back to her dream of being a clown. "I worked on my friend's play as a clown and as other circus performers. From the early stages of the show to several fully staged productions at local theatre companies, I learned a lot about the history of circus and the history of clowns and it led me back to the circus," explains LaRena.
With her new found love for the circus arts, LaRena enrolled and graduated from the San Francisco Clown Conservatory in 2008. In the summer of 2010, LaRena heard about Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® holding Clown College® auditions in San Francisco and knew that this was her chance to make it big. "To me American circus is Ringling Bros. and if I was going to join a circus I was going to join the best. You get to see the country by train and perform for thousands of kids and kids at heart every week!" states LaRena. When LaRena is not busy performing for Children of All Ages, she enjoys singing, sewing, and crocheting and hopes to collect snow globes from each of the cities she visits.
David John Weiss (DJ)
DJ Weiss, a native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, knew from the age of five that he wanted to be a clown. DJ's mother, Tricia Manuel, a clown with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® in the 80s who runs a clown training program, helped DJ channel his talent and motivation. DJ attended the St. Paul Conservatory for performing artists, received additional training through his mother's clown school and went on to the New Day Clown College. It came as no surprise that DJ would follow in his mother's footsteps. "My family is very happy for me and proud of me for living out my dreams," DJ said.
Inspired by tales of clowning and travel by his mother, and the rich history of Ringling Bros..®
, DJ knew he wanted to be part of the world-famous Clown Alley at The Greatest Show On Earth®
. "I wanted to learn new acts and skills and how to be a part of the biggest circus in the world!" explained DJ. DJ's 'hipster' clown pulls equal inspiration from Jerry Lewis and his own self-described "awkward, dorky stage." "I look up to my mom and my sister (also a clown) the most." After he completed his clowning education, DJ performed with various shows and finally got his big break at Ringling Bros.
Despite his training and motivation, DJ had to work hard to earn a place his place in Ringling Bros.
Clown Alley. His first position wasn't a clown; in fact, he began his career as a backstage crew member, a job he's very thankful for. "I worked backstage for the 141st
edition. The skills I learned in this role have given me more opportunity here; I know the processes for Load-In/Out, and I've been given more responsibility because of that." The adventure of travel and the many cultures on Ringling Bros
. is one of the best things about being on tour for DJ. , "I live on the train in the clown car, and during train runs I get to hang out with my friends and catch up on my sleep! My friends and I go and tour the cities we play in. I also love how many different kinds of people can come together every day and make The Greatest Show On Earth
happen," DJ explained.