BWW Review: BARNUM at Fairfield Center Stage

BWW Review: BARNUM at Fairfield Center Stage

On Thursday, June 27, I had the pleasure of seeing another Fairfield Center Stage masterpiece, BARNUM in a spectacular manner that I have never seen it before, outdoors, outside the Fairfield Museum and History Center. The performers are so talented that the show comes across as a brilliant combination between a theatrical stage production and a circus. This is consistent with Fairfield Center Stage's innovative ventures of bringing special uniqueness to each show, in this case, presenting the dramatized life of P.T. Barnum (with much poetic license) in a way that makes the audience feel as if they are at "the greatest show on Earth."

The book is by Mark Bramble with music by Cy Coleman and lyrics by Michael Stewart.

The show is directed by Christy McIntosh-Newsom with music direction by Brian Crook, choreography by Kelsey Kaminski, scenic design by Perry Liu, costume design by Jessica Camarero, and produced by Christine Donahue Brown with Executive Producer Eli Newsom. This team effort combined with the talented fourteen piece onstage orchestra and ensemble cast of over fifty has yielded what is truly a phenomenal production.

The show makes it clear that a lot of effort and a lot of fun have gone into this production. The excitement and positive vibes coming from the stage radiate throughout the audience. The teamwork and strong stage chemistry among the cast is evident.

A secondary circular platform is in front of the stage, creating a thrust stage feel, as various actors perform on and near this platform, some making entrances through an aisle in the center of the audience or from the side of the stage, including house left and house right entrances right next to the stage. There is plenty to see from every angle.

The ensemble cast comprises actors of all ages from two to one hundred sixty (but the one hundred sixty is a humbug, not a real age.) Beyond the singing and dancing, the audience is entertained by juggling, magic tricks, tumbling, stilt walking, tightrope walking, somersaults, flips, contortion, and simulation of extreme weight lifting.

The upbeat "Museum Song," remains my favorite musical number from BARNUM, reminiscent of those fast paced musical numbers that require a lot of talent and breath to successfully perform live. As P.T. Barnum, Javier Colon nails it, while the choreography of the ensemble enhances the number!

Javier Colon brings feeling, emotion, and sincerity to the central protagonist who goes through a gamut of emotions. Javier Colon has the acting range and vocal range to bring this star character to life. Lindsay Johnson, who plays Charity Barnum, PT's wife, has excellent stage chemistry with Javier Colon, giving authenticity to the dynamics between the two central characters.

Nathan Horne provides a strong performance as Tom Thumb, while Jessica Rahrig, provides excellent entertainment double cast as both the Ringmaster and James Bailey.

I highly recommend BARNUM for the entire family, as put on by Fairfield Center Stage outside the Fairfield Museum and History Center, in Fairfield. The run is limited, with remaining performances scheduled for Friday, June 28 at 7:30 PM and Saturday, June 29 at 2:00 PM and 7:30 PM. This is a rare opportunity to see a show that does not require a ticket for general admission. For VIP tickets, please go to VIP Tickets.

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From This Author Sean Fallon

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