BARNUM – one of Broadway’s most treasured musicals, returns to Australia in an all-new spectacular production, will play an exclusive engagement at Melbourne’s most intimate professional musical theatre venue, the Comedy Theatre for a strictly limited time from April 2019.
Starring in the new Australian production as America’s legendary circus impresario and unparalleled showman, P.T. Barnum will be none other than Australia’s own greatest showman Todd McKenney. “Barnum is one of those roles in musical theatre that every actor dreams of playing and performing this role has been on my bucket list since 1983 when I first started in musical theatre. It’s a dream come true for me to get the chance to play this iconic man in this legendary musical.” said Todd.
Star of Australian stage and screen, Rachael Beck will play the devoted wife of P.T. Barnum, Charity. “I’m extremely excited to be playing the role of Charity Barnum, teaming up again with my friend and colleague Todd McKenney,” said Rachael.
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 – who is only twenty-five inches from toe to crown; and the rarest and most beautiful bird in captivity the Swedish nightingale, 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 tight-rope scene.
In collaboration with the National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA), this brand new Australian production is produced by StoreyBoard Entertainment bringing together some of the creative team from its critically acclaimed production Follies, In Concert.
BARNUM debuted on Broadway in 1980, starring Jim Dale and Glenn Close, where it played for almost 900 performances. Starring the legendary Michael Crawford, 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 Sydney in 1982 starring Reg Livermore.
With a book by Mark Bramble (42nd Street), lyrics by Michael Stewart (42nd Street), and music by Cy Coleman (Sweet Charity). BARNUM covers the period from 1835 through 1880 in America and major cities of the world where Barnum took his performing companies.
This reimagined Australian production of BARNUM will be directed by Tyran Parke, with an all Australian creative team also including Choreographer Kelly Aykers, Musical Director Stephen Gray, Set Design by Dann Barber, and Circus Direction by Zebastian Hunter.
Suspend your disbelief at the theatre door and do not miss this musical or as Barnum himself would say “The Greatest Show on Earth!” Exclusively at Melbourne’s Comedy Theatre, BARNUM plays from April 2019. Waitlist now at: www.barnumthemusical.com.au
Image: Todd McKenney as P.T. Barnum – photo by Jeff Busby