“Fortune always favors the brave, and never helps a man who does not help himself.”
~ P. T. Barnum
Feel the ‘oompah’ of the band, see circus magic, hear a “Swedish Nightingale” sing, taste cotton candy and popcorn, and meet the infamous Phineas Taylor (P. T.) Barnum (masterfully portrayed by Danny Scott), hero of ‘humbug’, and father of the circus we know today! Director Sarah Sperling’s no ‘humbug’ approach to bringing the spirit of P.T. Barnum to the stage is reflected in the energy and detail put into this delightful production. Throughout this thoroughly entertaining, colorful show, the audience learns much about the legendary Barnum, the feats he pulled off behind the scenes as well as his private life. He literally went through fire while achieving his dreams, survived many serious setbacks, and still serves as an inspiration generations later. But wait, there’s more… P.T. Barnum, master of the hoax, stepped into the political ring for a while as well, helped found a hospital, a newspaper, and an aquarium among other ventures, and attempted to change the poor opinion of the theater held in the mid 1900s by middle class families by establishing matinees (yay!). Mark Bramble’s book BARNUM also reveals that there is more to the man than meets the eye, inviting the audience not only to learn of the man’s achievements, but to glimpse inside the notorious showman himself, all set to a radiant song and music, featuring numbers such as “One Brick at a Time”, “Bigger Isn’t Better”, “Go Out There”, “Love Makes Such Fools of Us All”, “Black and White” and “The Colors of My Life” that will have your toes tapping, and eyes tearing up.
Charity Barnum is brought to life with soulful sincerity and lovely voice by Andi Rose, and is an opposite personality to her husband’s, matching well with Danny Scott’s energetic Barnum and providing balance and dramatic tension in the show. Jason Ginther shines as Ringmaster, and as James Bailey and also as Julius Goldschmidt. Kim Simmons sings like a sultry siren in her role as Blues Singer, and is also wonderfully comedic as Joice Heth. Jenny Lind is a treat as played by Collette Anderson, who gives a magnificent vocal performance. Tom Thumb is played with pluck by Dylan Delany, who is also on trumpet. Vinnie Ali can sell anything as Chester Lyman and exudes mass vitality whenever on stage in various ensemble roles. Other energetic ensemble members to be congratulated for a highly entertaining evening are Ryan Haller, Paula Cook, Abby Scott, Kristin Dormuth, Nick Marcil, Grace Carroll and Conner Rivers.
Barnum’s Incredible Circus Band, under Music Director, and Co-Director, Carmen Rossi, is aptly named. Seated upon the cleverly designed set (Sarah Sperling), the musicians, throughout the production, unfailingly provided the fabulous music, created by CY Coleman, that moves the audience, and gives emotional timber to Michael Stewart’s lyrics.
This production’s choreography (Kristin Dormuth) is careful to make good use of the theater’s space, and maintains a peppy pace. Costumes (Allison Baron) are properly brilliant in color and style, and work very well with movement. Lighting (Carmen Rossi) is nicely done, highlighting scenes when and where needed; becoming more diminutive when appropriate.
Get ‘yer tickets now at www.footlighterstheater.com, or head over to the ‘Big Top’ at 58 Main Ave., Berwyn, PA for an evening of education and entertainment!
Note: As a special Thank You to his local friends and patrons who pre-purchase their tickets to the show, Mr. Barnum has authorized FREE POPCORN to those who mention STAGE Magazine when they present their pre-paid ticket! Show tickets may be purchased (with NO online surcharges) at www.footlighterstheater.com.
Music by Cy Coleman
Lyrics by Michael Stewart
Book by Mark Bramble
Director, Sarah Sperling
Musical Director, and Co-Director Carmen Rossi
April 25 – May 17, 2014
58 Main Avenue
Berwyn, PA 19018-3709