Musing on BARNUM

Featured Actor
Musing on BARNUM
Posted: 1/7/14 at 02:06am
So I saw the dvd of the London production with Michael Crawford for the first time and the show is amazing. The Barnum role is a tour de force (especially The Museum Song), at one point he actually swung around in mid-air on a rope. It just looked like the ensemble was having so much fun and I love the athleticism of the circus tricks/choreography.
Favorite songs: The Museum Song (best patter song ever), Out There, Come Follow The Band, Black And White, Join The Circus, and Thank God I'm Old (funniest number to me). What are your thoughts/memories of the show?

Updated On: 1/7/14 at 02:06 AM
After Eight
Broadway Legend
Musing on BARNUM
Posted: 1/7/14 at 03:14am
I enjoyed it, and Jim Dale was terrific. A good score, as well.
Tink2 Profile Photo
Musing on BARNUM
Posted: 1/7/14 at 06:00am
I loved this show! I saw it with Jim Dale and Glen Close. Favorite songs- Colors of My Life and One Brick at a Time....and all those you mentioned. : ) I have also seen the DVD with Michael Crawford. He was brilliant, but I much preferred Glen's Cherrie to the actress (forget her name)on the DVD.
dramamama611 Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
Musing on BARNUM
Posted: 1/7/14 at 06:13am
2nd Bway Show I ever saw. (Therefore) I loved it. Jim Dale was on vacation and I saw Tony Orlando -- who was wonderful.

Would love to see a revival, curious if it would stand the test of time. I wouldn't have minded if all the Houdini talk gave someone the idea to put Jackman in THIS.
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
D2 Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
Musing on BARNUM
Posted: 1/7/14 at 08:07am
A very entertaining show, and as others have said, Jim Dale was terrific. So was a very young Mary Testa, who even in a small ensemble role made a memorable contribution to the evening from her ebullient personality alone, let alone the voice!

Cheyenne Jackson tickled me. AFTER ordering SoMMS a drink but NOT tickling him, and hanging out with Girly in his dressing room (where he DIDN'T tickle her) but BEFORE we got married. To others. And then he tweeted Boobs. He also tweeted he's good friends with some chick on "The Voice" who just happens to be good friends with Tink's ex. And I'm still married. Oh, and this just in: "Pettiness, spite, malice ....Such ugly emotions... So sad." - After Eight, talking about MEEEEEEEE!!! I'm so honored! :-)
Updated On: 1/7/14 at 08:07 AM
Broadway Star
Musing on BARNUM
Posted: 1/7/14 at 09:00am
I've watched the Michael Crawford recording so many times, I could practically recite the whole thing. Love it. I have the cast album from that production, too -- got it from the late lamented Colony.

Dramamama, that's not a bad idea about putting Jackman in it. I'd never thought of it before, but now you mention it, I do believe he could pull it off!
Broadway Legend
Musing on BARNUM
Posted: 1/7/14 at 09:20am
"I wouldn't have minded if all the Houdini talk gave someone the idea to put Jackman in THIS."

Jackman is doing a movie version of Barnum's life. It seems to be a musical with original music. The screenplay is by Bill Condon and the music is listed as Mika.

If anyone ever tells you that you put too much Parmesan cheese on your pasta, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
devonian.t Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
Musing on BARNUM
Posted: 1/7/14 at 09:25am
I recently saw Cameron Mackintosh's West End and Broadway-bound revival in Chichester, starring Christopher Fitzgerald and it was a crashing bore, ineptly staged and seemingly different for the sake of being different.

All plans for the transfer fizzled when it opened. Pray that someone with true charisma and acting chops takes on the role if it ever gets a major revival because the whole show rests on the star!
kade.ivy Profile Photo
Featured Actor
Musing on BARNUM
Posted: 1/7/14 at 09:28am
Did I dream that someone was wanting to revive this with Neil Patrick Harris? I'll look for a link...
tazber Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
Musing on BARNUM
Posted: 1/7/14 at 09:35am
I've always enjoyed this show. An enjoyable score (although not one of Coleman's best).

People always say that the success of the show rests on the actor playing Barnum. I have always felt however that the Chairy/Barnum chemistry is the heart of the show.

I've seen Chairy played like a shrill nag and it destroys the evening.
....but the world goes 'round
Nydiva2 Profile Photo
Musing on BARNUM
Posted: 1/7/14 at 01:31pm
I remember this show well. Some of the previews occurred during a transit strike. I had a lovely conversation with Cy Coleman after an early preview and he was kind enough to listen to my (very respectfully offered) suggestions. Weeks later, I ran into him and he thanked me again for my input! What a great gentleman.

LOVED the show and even still have a few balloons which were tossed into the audience (deflated and brittle).
South Fl Marc Profile Photo
South Fl Marc
Broadway Legend
Musing on BARNUM
Posted: 1/7/14 at 05:37pm
I loved Barnum. Jim Dale was remarkable in the role and Glen Close was so beautifully subtle. The production was perfect from start to finish. It was also the first show I saw Terri White ...What a voice!
When it came out on DVD (The London cast with Michael Crawford) I jumped at the chance to see it again. The show was so different and Michael Crawford, at his hammy worst, was disgusting.
I do hope there is a major revival, the show deserves it.
Now living in DC. I really have to change my name on the board.
Paciencia y fe Profile Photo
Paciencia y fe
Musing on BARNUM
Posted: 1/7/14 at 09:06pm
I also saw Jim Dale and Glenn Close. My Mom and I didn't know anything about the show and took a recommendation from someone in line at the TKTS booth. I totally agree with South Fl Marc's description of Glenn Close's performance as "beautifully subtle." I remember being very impressed with Jim Dale's versatility as a performer, especially his tightrope walking. Just a sweet show.
AwesomeDanny Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
Musing on BARNUM
Posted: 1/7/14 at 09:20pm
I wish that Norbert Leo Butz and Susan Stroman did a revival of Barnum instead of Big Fish.
jacobsnchz14 Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
Musing on BARNUM
Posted: 1/8/14 at 12:40am
Where can I buy/watch this Michael Crawford DVD?! Is it on Amazon? I discovered the show when I read about Cameron Mackintosh's recent revival with Christopher Fitzgerald and would love to see it!
Demitri2 Profile Photo
Broadway Star
Musing on BARNUM
Posted: 1/8/14 at 01:06am
I was totally taken with the show. Jim Dale was amazing in both his singing, acting and acrobatic skills. If I'm not mistaken Glenn Close made her first appearance sitting in a box seat to the right of the stage. I remember being mesmerized by her unique presence and that head of tight shoulder length curls. I've always been curious about the intermission though. I saw the show on tour at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. When it was done on Broadway did they have ensemble performers entertaining audience members outside the front of the theatre with circus tricks, juggling and acrobatic feats or was that just on tour?
SweetLips Profile Photo
Broadway Star
Musing on BARNUM
Posted: 1/8/14 at 01:23am
The Australian production had the wonderful Reg Livermore-directed and choreographed by Baayork Lee no less.A very interesting read is his thoughts on this show[don't know how to do the link thing]and others he starred in-The producers,Rocky Horror,JCS,Hair[nothing about the panto I was in though-he must have blotted out that one!].
Broadway Legend
Musing on BARNUM
Posted: 1/8/14 at 05:43am
I saw the original production but can't remember much about the show other than Jim Dale's performance and that mesmerizing set created by David Mitchell.
Princeton Returns Profile Photo
Princeton Returns
Broadway Legend
Musing on BARNUM
Posted: 1/8/14 at 07:16am
I quite enjoyed the Chichester production but the shows problem is the book is very weak, and when you strip it down and dont have all the fancy tricks etc you arnt left with much. You need a real showman in the lead role and a physical production that utilises the big aspects of the circus
Broadway Legend
Musing on BARNUM
Posted: 1/8/14 at 09:41am
I saw a community theater production done under a tent. Big mistake.
If anyone ever tells you that you put too much Parmesan cheese on your pasta, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
Brian07663NJ Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
Musing on BARNUM
Posted: 1/8/14 at 10:14am
I was too young to go when my parents went to see Barnum but to this day my mom still reminices about how much fun she had at that show by reciting things she remembers. She wishes all the time for Barnum to come back!

I absolutely love the DVD with Crawford. It's the closest I can come to seeing why she loved it so much. It is a favorite CD of mine too! I wish for a revival as well.
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doodlenyc Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
Musing on BARNUM
Posted: 1/8/14 at 12:15pm
I got to see it on my first trip to NYC. In two days I saw 4 shows and came out to my uncle...quite a weekend.

I loved it, but had no idea what I was in for. Dale was stupefying, imo...he drove that show so beautifully and he and Close had true chemistry. Tatum and White were highlights as well as the amazing set!
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Someone in a Tree2 Profile Photo
Someone in a Tree2
Broadway Legend
Musing on BARNUM
Posted: 1/8/14 at 12:52pm
Ah, Barnum! Sweet memories of my first day going to work for David Mitchell in June of 1980 just after he'd won the Tony for the Barnum sets. There was that spectacular 1/2" model taking pride of place in his front parlor at the brownstone on W 88th St where he lived and worked. I seem to recall a lot of champagne to end each work day that first summer.

I loved the Broadway production for Joe Layton's sense of razzle-dazzle, and the score is still terrific, but there seemed to be a basic lack of point to the show-- are we supposed to admire this guy who cheated on his wife and made an art out of swindling the country? I wonder what a Bob Fosse might have done with that tale...
forgetmenotnyc Profile Photo
Musing on BARNUM
Posted: 1/8/14 at 04:54pm
I too enjoyed the original at the St. James. One terrific score! Never understood why the title character was played by Englishmen Dale & Crawford. Casting seems very important to me. From pics - Phineas looked tall & big like John C. Reilly yet besides stage charisma, you need someone who comes off a bit more appealing looking? I've really enjoyed C.Fitzgerald & surprised he didn't make it work. Maybe a bit too small physically? Even though not a great singer, someone like John Lithgow could be good I think. Close & Tatum were also good & the direction, staging, set & lights were all top notch.