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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

OFFBEAT: Musical about circus wiz Barnum is fascinating fun
Phil Potempa's daily entertainment news column

 
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PT Barnum Circus Archive
Jumbo the Elephant was one of P.T. Barnum's most famous circus
attractions.
from  nwtimes.com
By Phillip Potempa
May 22, 2013
Chicago--The entertainment, promotion and advertising of today owes a great deal to the great mind of master showman Phineas Taylor Barnum aka P.T. Barnum of circus fame.
When I teach college courses in public relations and mass media, Barnum's name is included in textbooks for his contributions to the field, debated by experts as both good and bad for his use of "puffery" and exaggerated claims.
What I never realized is there was a great woman at his side throughout most of his career, his wife Charity, who supported her husband while also chiding him for sensationalism.
Add to all of this eye-popping circus acts and you have every reason you need to visit Mercury Theater, 3745 N. Southport, a stone's throw from Wrigley Field in Chicago, to see the all-star cast of award-winning actors for the rarely produced musical "Barnum," running until June 16.
The cast is led by Chicago native and Broadway, TV, and film actor Gene Weygandt as a better than believable Barnum, with Cory Goodrich turning in a fantastic turn as wife Charity, and the talented Summer Naomi Smart as "the Swedish Nightingale," singer Jenny Lind.
The show covers the period from 1835 through 1880 of Barnum's life, spanning his start in the biz and ending with his partnership with rival circus owner, James Anthony Bailey to form today's still vital Barnum and Bailey's Circus (which is now also connected with Ringling Bros.).
The original Broadway production launched in 1980 and ran for 854 performances with actor Jim Dale in the title role and Glenn Close playing his wife. When it closed and reopened in London in 1981 at the London Palladium for another 655 performances, Michael Crawford stepped in as Barnum.
read more:
http://www.nwitimes.com/entertainment/columnists/offbeat/offbeat-musical-about-circus-wiz-barnum-is-fascinating-fun/article_f4505c07-0bb7-5b8a-99dc-73f384c69398.html

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