St. James Theatre, (4/30/1980 - 5/16/1982)

First Preview: Apr 05, 1980
Opening Date: Apr 30, 1980
Closing Date: May 16, 1982
Total Previews: 26
Total Performances: 854

Category: Musical, Comedy, Original, Broadway
Setting: 1835 through 1880. All over America and the major capitals of the world.

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Owned / Operated by Jujamcyn Theaters (under the direction of Richard G. Wolff, President)

Produced by Judy Gordon, Cy Coleman, Maurice Rosenfield and Lois F. Rosenfield; Produced in association with Irvin Feld and Kenneth Feld; Associate Producer: Steven A. Greenberg and Michael Scharf

Book by Mark Bramble; Music by Cy Coleman; Lyrics by Michael Stewart; Music orchestrated by Hershy Kay; Vocal arrangements by Cy Coleman and Jeremy Stone; Musical Director: Peter Howard

Directed by Joe Layton; Musical Staging by Joe Layton

Scenic Design by David Mitchell; Costume Design by Theoni V. Aldredge; Lighting Design by Craig Miller; Sound Design by Otts Munderloh; Hair Design by Ted Azar

General Manager: James Walsh; Company Manager: Susan Bell

Production Supervisor: Mary Porter Hall; Stage Manager: Marc Schlackman; Technical Supervisor: Peter Feller, Sr.

Music Contractor: John Miller

Circus Training by The New York School for Circus Arts; Casting: Howard Feuer and Jeremy Ritzer; Press Representative: David Powers and Barbara Carroll; Dance Captain: Michael Mann; Advertising: Ash / LeDonne

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Opening Night Cast

Jim DalePhineas Taylor Barnum
Glenn CloseChairy Barnum
(Apr 05, 1980 - Mar 02, 1981)
Catherine Carr
Broadway debut
Lady Plate Balancer
Pre-Show Entertainer
Leonard John CrofootTom Thumb
Karen GustafsonPianist
Steven Michael Harris
Broadway debut
One Man Band
Edward T. JacobsChief Bricklayer
Dirk LumbardSherwood Stratton
Terrence V. Mann
Broadway debut
Chester Lyman
Humbert Morrissey
Robbi Morgan
Broadway debut
Lady Aerialist
Barbara NadelLady Juggler
Peter PhillipsPianist
Bruce RobertsonWilton
Pre-Show Entertainer
Sophie SchwabMrs. Sherwood Stratton
Baton Twirler
Bradley Steven-FieldsPre-Show Entertainer
Marianne TatumJenny Lind
Andy TeirsteinWhite-Faced Clown
Pre-Show Entertainer
Karen TrottSusan B. Anthony
Kelly WaltersAmos Scudder
Edgar Templeton
Terri WhiteJoice Heth
(Apr 05, 1980 - Apr 13, 1981)
William C. WitterRingmaster
Julius Goldschmidt
James A. Bailey

Standby: SuEllen Estey (Chairy Barnum, Jenny Lind) and Harvey Evans (Phineas Taylor Barnum)

Understudies: Leonard John Crofoot (Amos Scudder, Edgar Templeton), Edward T. Jacobs (Tom Thumb), Dirk Lumbard (Chester Lyman, Humbert Morrissey, James A. Bailey, Julius Goldschmidt, Ringmaster), Terrence V. Mann (Sherwood Stratton), Barbara Nadel (Mrs. Sherwood Stratton, Susan B. Anthony), Bruce Robertson (Chester Lyman, Humbert Morrissey), Bradley Steven-Fields (Ensemble), Mary Testa (Joice Heth) and Kelly Walters (Wilton)

Awards and Nominations

Tony Award®

 1980 Best Musical [nominee] 

Produced by Judy Gordon, Cy Coleman, Lois F. Rosenfield and Maurice Rosenfield

 1980 Best Book of a Musical [nominee] 

Book by Mark Bramble

 1980 Best Original Score [nominee] 

Music by Cy Coleman; Lyrics by Michael Stewart

winner 1980 Best Actor in a Musical [winner] 

Jim Dale

 1980 Best Featured Actress in a Musical [nominee] 

Glenn Close

winner 1980 Best Scenic Design [winner] 

David Mitchell

winner 1980 Best Costume Design [winner] 

Theoni V. Aldredge

 1980 Best Lighting Design [nominee] 

Craig Miller

 1980 Best Choreography [nominee] 

Musical Staging by Joe Layton

 1980 Best Direction of a Musical [nominee] 

Joe Layton

Drama Desk Award

 1980 Outstanding Musical [nominee] 

Produced by Judy Gordon, Cy Coleman, Maurice Rosenfield and Lois F. Rosenfield

winner 1980 Outstanding Actor in a Musical [winner] 

Jim Dale

 1980 Outstanding Choreography [nominee] 

Musical Staging by Joe Layton

 1980 Outstanding Director of a Musical [nominee] 

Joe Layton

 1980 Outstanding Music [nominee] 

Music by Cy Coleman

 1980 Outstanding Set Design [nominee] 

David Mitchell

Theatre World

winner 1980 Award [recipient] 

Marianne Tatum


music by Cy Coleman; lyrics by Michael Stewart

ACT 1 Sung By
There's a Sucker Born Ev'ry MinutePhineas Taylor Barnum
Thank God I'm OldJoice Heth and Tambourine Players
The Colors of My LifePhineas Taylor Barnum and Chairy Barnum
One Brick at a TimeChairy Barnum, Phineas Taylor Barnum and Bricklayers
Museum SongPhineas Taylor Barnum
I Like Your StylePhineas Taylor Barnum and Chairy Barnum
Bigger Isn't BetterTom Thumb
Love Makes Such Fools of Us AllJenny Lind
Out TherePhineas Taylor Barnum
ACT 2 Sung By
Come Follow the BandPotomac Marching Band and Washingtonians
Black and WhiteChairy Barnum, Choir, Blues Singer, Phineas Taylor Barnum and Citizens of Bridgeprot
The Colors of My Life (Reprise) Phineas Taylor Barnum and Chairy Barnum
The Prince of HumbugPhineas Taylor Barnum
Join the CircusJames A. Bailey, Circus Performers and Phineas Taylor Barnum


New York Daily News: "'Barnum' humdinger story of a humbug"

"Barnum" may not be the greatest show on earth, but last night's circusy new musical at the St. James is colorful, eye-catching and abundantly high-spirited. Set to a buoyant, tuneful score by Cy Coleman, and with the agile Jim Dale in the title role, it radiates good cheer.

Joyously staged by Joe Layton, and resplendently designed (David Mitchell), costumed (Theoni V. Aldredge) and lighted (Craig Miller), "Barnum" has a sketchy but reasonably serviceable book by Mark Bramble. It skims the career and private life of the flamboyant 19th-century American impresario and master of flimflam Phineas Taylor Barnum in terms more affectionate, sentimental and patriotic than we could stomach were it not for the fact that Dale is playing himself at all times, never aging from 1835 to 1880, the show's span. Even so, the salutes to life, liberty and Thomas Jefferson get a bit thick at times coming from this humbug artist.

Though various encounters are meant to take place in towns and cities throughout this country and Europe, the permanent setting is a circus with a Ringmaster announcing the high spots of Barnum's career as feats, which P.T. then proceeds to enact. The method is somewhat akin to that used in the musical "Chicago," but lighthearted rather than acrid.

While Barnum woos and wins his wife Charity, or Chairy, as he calls her, signs his first fake act, a 166-year-old woman, and progresses from that to his presentation of Tom Thumb, and then of the "Swedish Nightingale" Jenny Lind, and finally to a three-ring circus in partnership with James A. Bailey, the stage is almost always alive with circusy trappings. There are no animals, though there are amusing representations of tigers and an elephant, but there are jugglers, clowns, a terrific baton-wielder (Sophie Schwab), an aerialist, a one-man-band, and other features of the tanbark. And arrayed along the back, only half visible most of the time, is the full orchestra, playing excellent Hershy Kay arrangements, with twin pianists in boxes on opposite sides of the house filling in with honky-tonk choruses.

Whether bouncing from a small trampoline up to a tiny balcony where Chairy sits watching, or else actually walking a tightrope at the end of the first half, Dale is nimble and engaging. He and Glenn Close, who makes a charmingly firm-minded Chairy, have a lovely duet in "The Colors of My Life." Color, by the way, being a predominant motif in the public Barnum's life style, the sequence devoted to his abandonment of honest showmanship for a brief political career is done entirely in black-and-white.

Marianne Tatum, a pretty and shapely blonde soprano, makes a striking Jenny Lind, with whom Barnum dallies for six months before returning to Bridgeport and Chairy, and she has a period waltz (with a not entirely obvious melodic line) to sing called "Love Makes Such Fools of Us All." William C. Witter, a onetime genuine circus clown and ringmaster, is first-rate in the latter role.

And now, regretfully, to the horrendous sound system in use. Dale, who is not quite up to a couple of Danny Kaye-type rapid-patter songs anyway, especially the one titled "Museum Song," is hampered by the miking, which sometimes makes you search the stage to find a singer. Without it, the show would be at least 25% more effective. And I'm afraid I'll have to wait to see them in print before I can be a fair judge of Michael Stewart's garbled lyrics. What I could decipher, I found pleasing.

"Come Follow the Band," with a marching band parading the aisles to the stage, is a grand second-act opener, and "I Like Your Style," to which Barnum and Chairy dance, is an interesting number in 6/4 time.

"Barnum" is a lively, fun-filled evening of theater, and one with style. If nothing else, it's likely to make your kids, or even you, run away from home to "join the circus," as the finale stimulatingly beckons.

New York Daily News

Replacement/Transfer Info

The following people are credited as replacements or additions if they were not credited on opening night.

St. James Theatre

(4/30/1980 - 5/16/1982)


Mike Burstyn
Phineas Taylor Barnum (Oct 13, 1981 - ?)
Marshall Coid
White-Faced Clown
Catherine Cox
Chairy Barnum (Mar 3, 1981 - ?)
SuEllen Estey
Chairy Barnum
Jenny Lind
Colleen Flynn
Lady Aerialist
Catherine Gaines
Jenny Lind
Fred Garbo Garver
Broadway debut
Chief Bricklayer
Pre-Show Entertainer
Richard Gervais
Amos Scudder
Edgar Templeton
R. J. Lewis
Chester Lyman
Humbert Morrissey
Pre-Show Entertainer
Sherwood Stratton
Dirk Lumbard
Pre-Show Entertainer
Terrence V. Mann
James A. Bailey
Julius Goldschmidt
Ringmaster (Apr 14, 1981 - ?)
Navarre Matlovsky
Chief Bricklayer
Robert Melvin
Chester Lyman
Humbert Morrissey
Barbara Nadel
Pre-Show Entertainer
Tony Orlando
During Jim Dale's vacation
Phineas Taylor Barnum (May 5, 1981 - May 25, 1981)
Deborah Reagan
Chairy Barnum
Mary Testa
Lady Juggler
Pre-Show Entertainer
Kelly Walters
Missy Whitchurch
Lady Plate Balancer
Lillias White
Broadway debut
Joice Heth (Apr 14, 1981 - ?)
Andrea Wright
Lady Juggler
Mrs. Sherwood Stratton

Standbys: Jess Richards (Phineas Taylor Barnum).

Understudies: S.J. Davis (Ensemble), Fred Feldt (Ensemble), Colleen Flynn (Ensemble), Fred Garbo Garver (Tom Thumb), Steven Michael Harris (Amos Scudder), Robert Hoshour (Ensemble), R. J. Lewis (Sherwood Stratton), Dirk Lumbard (Edgar Templeton), Terrence V. Mann (Phineas Taylor Barnum), Navarre Matlovsky (Ensemble), Jerry Mitchell (Ensemble), Sophie Schwab (Chairy Barnum, Jenny Lind), Mary Testa (Ensemble).

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