Music by Cy Coleman Lyrics by Michael Stewart
Book by Mark Bramble
Originally Produced on the Broadway Stage by Judy Gordon, Cy Coleman,
Maurice and Lois E Rosenfeld in association with Irwin Feld and Kenneth Feld
St James Theatre Broadway - 30 April 1980 (854 perfs)
London Palladium 11 June, 1981 (655 perfs)
"Barnum's the name. PT. Barnum. And I want to tell you that tonight you are going to see bar none -every eight, wonder and miracle that name stands for!"
Here is the show that traces the career of America's greatest, showman from 1835 to the year he joined with James A. Bailey to form The Greatest Show On Earth.
To start we. are outside the tent and Barmum tells us we are here to defend 'the noble art of humbug". Whether we agree with him or not, Barnum's sure he'll be able to sell us his bill of goods. Why? THERE'S A SUCKER BORN EVERY MINUTE.
Humble beginnings start as Barnum signs up his first attraction, Joice Heth, the "oldest" woman in the world. Joice is a big success and sings of the virtues of being 160 in THANK GOD I'M OLD.
Barnum's wife, Charity, wants him to settle to a respectable job but in THE COLOURS OF MY LIFE he tells her that this is not for him and rushes off to open a museum to house his growing number of attractions. Charity, left alone, sings about the colours of her life.
A cornucopia of clowns build Barnum's museum, ONE BRICK AT A TIME and Barnum says "Step right up" to the public in THE MUSEUM SONG. The years go by, the Barnum's grow a little older and more successful and their conflict and affection continue in I LIKE YOUR STYLE, Then General Tom Thumb tells us BIGGER ISN'T BETTER.
Jenny Lind, The Swedish Nightingale, arrives and wins the hearts of all who hear her, Barnum included. LOVE MAKES SUCH FOOLS OF US ALL. He can't resist her and leaves Charity at home to tour with Jenny. OUT THERE, Washington salutes Jenny with COME FOLLOW THE BAND.
Barnum returns to Charity on her terms and promises from here on to live his life IN BLACK AND WHITE, Years later a now very ill Charity and Barnum declare their continuing love for each other by affectionately restating their age-old quarrel in THE COLOURS OF MY LIFE.
After Charity's passing, Barnum realises that being a respectable businessman is not for him and he will always be THE PRINCE OF HUMBUG.
The Main Event. The Greatest Show On Earth James A Bailey arrives convincing Barnum to JOIN THE CIRCUS.
Final Attraction. The tentpole comes down, the, canvas is loaded and we hear from Phineas Taylor Barnum himself in FINAL CHASE and THERE'S A SUCKER BORN EVERY MINUTE.
Male - 12 Female - 7
- Phineas Taylor Barnum - The Prince of Humbug
- Chairy Barnum - His wife
- Joice Heth oldest woman alive
- Tom Thumb - Smallest man in the world
- Julius Goldschmidt - Jenny Lind's manager
- Jenny Lind - Swedish soprano
- Blues Singer - A black woman (same as Joice Heth)
- James A Bailey - Small circus owner
- Ringmaster - Circus performer (Same as James A Bailey)
- Chester Lyman - Joice Heth's manager
- Amos Scudder - Owner of the American Museum
- Sherwood Stratton - Tom Thumb's father
- Mrs Sherwood Stratton - Tom Thumb's mother
- Wilton - Barnum's assistant on the Jenny Lind tour
- Edgar Templeton - Political party boss
- Humbert Morrisey - Political party boss
Plus a host of extras in a huge selection of parts
Tumbers, jugglers, clowns aerialists, acrobats, gymnasts, bricklayers, passersby, museum patrons, strongmen, beefeaters, the "mob" in general, the Bridgeport Pageant Choir and bands of every size, shape and description
Reed 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5: Violin: Cello: Bass: Trumpet 1,2 & 3: Trombone 1,2 & 3: Tuba: Drums: Percussion: Guitar: Stage Violin & Viola: Piano 1 & 2
- There's A Sucker Born Every Minute - Barnum
- Thank God I'm Old - Joice Heth
- The Colours of My Life - Chairy and Barnum
- One Brick At A Time - Chairy and chorus
- Museum Song - Barnum
- I Like Your Style - Chairy & Barnum
- Bigger Isn't Better - Tom Thumb
- Love Makes Such Fools of Us All - Jenny Lind
- Out There - Barnum
- Come Follow the Band - Barnum, Ringmaster and chorus
- Black and White - Chairy, Barnum, Blues Singer and chorus
- The Prince of Humbug - Barnum
- Join the Circus - Barnum, Bailey and chorus
Jenny Lind and her manager, Phineas T. Barnum, and their troupe were guests at the Rush House on Miss Lind's American tour. News of the great singer's arrival attracted a large crowd.