Long before Hugh Jackman donned a top hat and tails, the story of circus innovator and entertainment impresario PT Barnum was brought to life on stage in a musical. Barnum premiered on Broadway in 1980 (starring Jim Dale and Glenn Close) and had a string of successful productions around the world in the decades following.
Now it's headed back to Melbourne in a new production that's promising to bring the spirit of the big top to the Comedy Theatre, melding circus with showstopping musical numbers, penned by Sweet Charity composer Cy Coleman. (Sorry, the show does not feature 'This is Me'.)
In the title role is Todd McKenney, who's no stranger to sharing roles with Jackman – he originated the role of Peter Allen in homegrown musical The Boy from Oz before Jackman took the show to Broadway. He's joined by musical theatre star Rachael Beck, who'll play his wife, Charity.
The show will be directed by Tyran Parke, who'll bring all of Barnum's most famous wonders to life – including the world's oldest woman; the magnificent elephant, Jumbo; and Swedish nightingale, Jenny Lind – with the help of the National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA).
Barnum will be at Melbourne's Comedy Theatre from April 2019. You can sign up to the ticketing waitlist here.