BWW Interview: Tamara Laflin Talks About What a Spectacular Spectacle BARNUM is at Southgate Community Players!

BWW Interview: Tamara Laflin Talks About What a Spectacular Spectacle BARNUM is at Southgate Community Players!
Cast of Barnum
Photo Credit: Joshua Gray

Barnum will be closing out Southgate Community Players Main Stage productions for the 2018-2019 season. Opening this weekend on Friday, May 3rd, this spectacular spectacle brings to life the story of P. T. Barnum the stage at the Davidson Auditorium inside Davidson Middle School in Southgate. Beloved characters based on the real-life performers that Barnum worked with during his career are woven throughout this high-energy musical. SCP's production of Barnum is packed with skills and tricks that will awe audiences of all ages! BroadwayWorld Detroit had a chance to speak with Tamara Laflin, the show's triple threat: director, music director, and choreographer, and she said, "audiences should come see Barnum because it's a fresh take on a musical theatre classic." Check out what she had to say below about why audiences will enjoy this spectacular spectacle that SCP has created with Barnum!

BroadwayWorld Detroit: Can you give our readers a brief background about yourself and then your theatre career as an introduction?

Tamara Laflin: I have been performing on stage since I was five and started working on the production side of show business when I was a teenager. I most frequently perform, direct, music direct, and choreograph with Southgate Community Players, Downriver Youth Performing Arts Center, and Downriver Actors Guild.

How would you describe Barnum in your own words?

Barnum is a look into the life of P. T. Barnum as he was diving into oddities and sideshow attractions through his partnership with Bailey while putting together their circus. Even though his marriage and other people are included in the story, it's a fictionalized version of the events that took place.

What was your introduction to the show?

I first was introduced to Barnum when I played Jenny Lind in a production. When The Greatest Showman came out a few years ago, I fell in love with the story all over again. When the opportunity came up to direct, vocal direct, and choreograph, I knew I wanted in.

What made you want to direct Barnum?

BWW Interview: Tamara Laflin Talks About What a Spectacular Spectacle BARNUM is at Southgate Community Players!
Tamara Laflin
Photo Credit: Dave Talbot

My love of the story and the parallels between Barnum's and my attractions to oddities and extraordinary people. I really like that Barnum celebrated things that were unique.

Did you do any special research in preparing to direct the snow?

I starting diving into the history of, not only Barnum, but also his family and the people he worked with. I learned a lot about what was actually fictitious and what was real in the stories both on stage and in the film. I read a book he wrote and many articles about the history and background of the people in his life.

You took on three roles with the show - director, music director, and choreographer - what was that like?

Well, it's always a scary endeavor to take on such a huge task, but I like the creative control it gives me. When a production team has three different people in those roles, they have work together to make everything cohesive. The nice thing about doing all of those things myself is I can see my vision through completely in every aspect.

Do you have a favorite song in the show?

I have several, but I would have to say "Join the Circus" is one of my favorites. It's this huge production number at the end of the show that features all of the circus performers and their many different talents. I think the audiences will really be wowed by this entire cast and how much talent they bring to the stage.

Describe the show in five words.


Being a show about P. T. Barnum and the circus, can the audience expect a spectacle with a lot of tricks?

Absolutely! When my production team and I held auditions, we asked everyone to come ready to show their special abilities. They did not disappoint! We have been able to incorporate a lot of special skills and tricks.

What makes SCP's interpretation of Barnum unique?

I grew up with the version of Barnum starring Michael Crawford in my head. It's a stellar production, but looking at it now I feel like it lives in the decade it was performed and it feels a little hard to relate to. After seeing The Greatest Showman, I felt a new connection to the story of Barnum and I think its fresh take is what brings life into this production.

What would you say to someone with no prior knowledge of the show to get them to see the production?

Barnum is a show packed with comedy, wonderful songs, high-energy dancing, and there's never a dull moment.

Why do you think audiences will enjoy SCP's production of Barnum?

I truly believe this is the kind of show where audiences will leave talking about the things they saw on stage. I think everyone will find something that surprises them.

Barnum runs May 3rd through May 11th at the Davidson Auditorium inside the Davidson Middle School in Southgate. Tickets can be purchased by phone at 734-282-4727 or online at For more information, visit

Connection with Tamara Laflin on Twitter at @TamiKablami and on Instagram at @TamiKablami.

Connect with Southgate Community Players on Instagram at @scponstage and on Facebook at

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From This Author Katie Laban

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