One of Broadway’s most treasured musicals, Barnum returns to Australia in an all-new spectacular production. From visionary director Tyran Parke, this new production will play an exclusive engagement at Melbourne’s most intimate professional musical theatre venue, the Comedy Theatre for a strictly limited season from April 2019.
Australian musical theatre starlet Suzie Mathers will return home to Australia to star as the Swedish Nightingale Jenny Lind, in this new production of the favourite Broadway classic. In recent years she has taken London’s West End by storm most notably starring in the role of Glinda in the 10th Anniversary cast of Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre.
“I am so excited to be returning home to play such a wonderful role alongside a stellar all Australian cast and creative team,” says Mathers. “To be back on the Aussie stage will be incredibly special – I’m having such a ball working in London, but you know what they say, ‘there’s no place like home’!”
Starring alongside Mathers as America’s legendary circus impresario and unparalleled showman, P.T. Barnum is none other than Australia’s own greatest showman Todd McKenney. Star of Australian stage and screen, Rachael Beck will play the devoted wife of P.T. Barnum, Charity and joining the cast playing Joice Heth, is musical theatre star Akina Edmonds.
Based on the life of P.T. Barnum, Barnum is a colourful, dynamic spectacle with heart, where audiences shall witness the wonders of the world including Jumbo – the largest elephant, Joice Heth – the oldest woman to ever live, a great white whale from Labrador, General Tom Thumb – only twenty-five inches from toe to crown, and the rarest and most beautiful bird in captivity the Swedish soprano – Jenny Lind. Plus, a cast of hundreds, no thousands including marching bands, tumbling bands, flying bands, bands of every size shape and description!
This heart-warming and uplifting musical is a theatrical event for all generations, full of great music, circus, magic and comedy; not to mention Barnum’s magnificent tightrope scene. In collaboration with the National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA), the brand new Australian production is produced by StoreyBoard Entertainment bringing together some of the creative team from its critically acclaimed production Follies, In Concert.
Directed by Tyran Parke, the all Australian creative team includes Kelly Aykers (Choreographer and Musical Staging), Stephen Gray (Musical Director), Dann Barber (Set and Costume Design), Zebastian Hunter (Circus Direction), Rachel Burke (Lighting Design) and Michael Waters (Sound Design).
With a book by Mark Bramble (42nd Street), lyrics by Michael Stewart (Hello Dolly!), and music by Cy Coleman (Sweet Charity). Barnum covers the period from 1835 through 1880 in America and major cities of the world where P.T. Barnum took his performing companies.
Barnum debuted on Broadway in 1980 where it played for almost 900 performances. A West End production premiered in 1981 at the London Palladium before a successful UK tour in 1985-1986. The first Australian production premiered in 1982 starring Reg Livermore.
Barnum plays exclusively at Melbourne’s Comedy Theatre from April 2019. For more information, visit: www.barnumthemusical.com.au for details.
Image: Suzie Mathers – photo by Darren Bell