RISE & SHINE BROADWAY FANS! We are only 26 days away till Broadway’s biggest night of the year… The 72nd Annual Tony Awards. We have more of the best performance from the previous telecasts on our TOP 40 TONY AWARDS COUNTDOWN. Bring on more of the shows.
At # 26 on our countdown, we go under the big top and discover the story of the man behind one of the most famous family shows in all the world. We are talking about P.T. Barnum (the co-founder of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus). Most people are learning about P.T. Barnum today thanks to the smash hit Pasek and Paul musical film The Greatest Showman. However, most people don’t know that there was another musical already on his life that has been on Broadway. It showed not only his life creating the circus but also P.T.’s life as a politician. The name of this musical was called BARNUM. It featured a score by Cy Coleman and Michael Stewart along with a book by Mark Bramble.
From the 1980 telecast, the cast opened up that year’s ceremony with the Act 2 parade toe tapper COME FOLLOW THE BAND before Tony winner Jim Dale in the title role of “P.T. Barnum” performing one of the musical’s signature songs and the one he made most famous… THERE’S A SUCKER BORN AT EVERY MINUTE.
BARNUM originally premiered on Broadway in 1980 at the St. James Theatre. Directed and choreographed by Joe Layton, the show ran for a total of 880 performances. The cast consisted of…
Tony Award winner Jim Dale as the title role of “P.T. Barnum”,
Tony Award winner Glenn Close as his wife “Charity”.
William C. Witter in the dual roles of “The Ringmaster” / “James Bailey”,
Terri White as “Joice Heith”,
and Marianne Tatum as “Jenny Lind”.
BARNUM was nominated for 10 Tony Awards in 1980 winning 3 including Best Leading Actor in a Musical (for Jim Dale).
The show went on to become a worldwide hit musical including in London’s West End. The original West End production played The London Palladium in 1981 playing only 655 performances. Following the closing of the London production, it went on tour and then returned to London playing the Victoria Palace Theatre in 1985. During its return to London, one of the performances of BARNUM was captured on film and broadcast by BBC. It later was released on DVD everywhere which its still available today. The London / Filmed cast consisted of…
Tony and Olivier Award winner Michael Crawford as the title role,
Eileen Battye as “Charity”,
Michael Heath as “The Ringmaster” / “James Bailey”,
Sharon Benson as “Joice Heith”,
and Christina Collier as “Jenny Lind”.
The show has been revived several times in the UK including a recent production at Chichester Festival Theatre, However, due to the Theatre still under renovation, the production was set in the Theatre in the Park right next to it making the show very intimate and feeling you’re part of the circus. This cast included…
Tony nominee (and one of Broadway’s very own) Christopher Fitzgerald as “P.T. Barnum”,
Tamsin Carroll as “Charity”,
James O’Connell as “The Ringmaster” / “James Bailey”,
Aretha Ayeh as “Joice Heith”,
and Anna O’Byrne as “Jenny Lind”.
There has been no revival of the show on Broadway yet but hoping there will be one soon.
BARNUM today is continued to be performed by schools, community, and regional Theatres everywhere.
From watching this performance, doesn’t this want to make you want to JOIN THE CIRCUS?
Barnum 1980 Tony Awards (Jim Dale and Company)
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