P.T. Barnum, the Greatest Showman on Earth, combines razzle-dazzle with charm and brass to sell “humbug” to cheering crowds. A joyful and moving musical portrait of the nineteenth century’s greatest show-biz legend, BARNUM is a colorful, dynamic spectacle with heart. Cy Coleman and Michael Stewart’s rousing score includes “There’s a Sucker Born Every Minute,” “Join the Circus,” “The Colors of My Life,” and “Come Follow The Band.”

Music samples provided courtesy of Masterworks Broadway and Notable Music

  • Synopsis
  • Credits
  • Orchestration
  • Materials
  • Cast
  • History
  • Musical Numbers
  • Upcoming
  • Act I

    “Barnum’s the name… P.T. Barnum. And I want to tell you that tonight you are going to see – bar none – every sight, wonder and miracle that name stands for!”
    BARNUM traces the career of America’s greatest showman from 1835 to the year he joined James A. Bailey to form The Greatest Show On Earth. We begin, as BARNUM does…

    OUTSIDE THE TENT where Barnum tells us he’s here to defend the “noble art of humbug,” which he defines as the coat of varnish he puts on the hard facts of life (“There Is a Sucker Born Ev’ry Minute”).

    HUMBLE BEGINNINGS: Barnum signs up his first attraction, Joice Heth, the oldest woman in the world. Joice turns out to be less of a draw than he’d hoped until he tries a bit of humbug and pitches her as George Washington’s nurse. Joice is a big success and sings the virtues of living to be 160 (“Thank God I’m Old”).

    P.T. BARNUM VS. THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES: Barnum’s wife, Chairy, wants him to settle down, run a respectable business – a clock factory, for instance – and Barnum explains that clock-making is just not the right color for him (“The Colors of My Life”). When he rushes off to close a deal to build a museum for his growing collection of attractions, Chairy reflects on her own values (“The Colors of My Life” Reprise).

    CLOWNS! A cornucopia of them, tumbling into the main ring as – with Chairy to guide them – they build Barnum’s American Museum (“One Brick at a Time”).

    STEP RIGHT UP, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, says Barnum, and let me tell you about all the wonders you’re going to see inside my museum! (“Museum Song”).

    BARNUM VS. THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES, PART II: Years have gone by, and the Barnums are a bit older and a bit more successful, but their playful conflict and affection for each other endure (“I Like Your Style”).

    25 INCHES FROM TOE TO CROWN! Barnum’s latest and most sensational attraction, General Tom Thumb, asserts that “Bigger Isn’t Better.”

    A RESPECTABLE ATTRACTION AT LAST: Barnum presents Jenny Lind, the Swedish Nightingale, in her first American concert at Castle Garden. Jenny wins the hearts of all who hear her… Barnum included. (“Love Makes Such Fools of Us All”).

    THE HUMBUGGER HUMBUGGED! Barnum buys his own bill of goods, and leaves Chairy to tour the world with Jenny (“Out There”).

    OUT ON THE MIDWAY: At a Grand Patriotic Parade, Jenny Lind makes her first appearance in the nation’s capital (“Come Follow the Band”).

    Act II

    A SECOND MUSICAL DIVERSION – PAYING THE PIPER: Barnum realizes that Jenny Lind is not for him; he only loves his wife. He returns to Chairy and promises to live on her terms (“Black and White”).

    BARNUM VS. THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES, PART III: Many years later, Barnum is out of the humbug business, and Chairy has become seriously ill. Before she leaves him forever, they affectionately revive their lifelong quarrel (“The Colors of My Life”).

    BEHIND THE SCENES, BENEATH THE MAKE-UP: Barnum realizes that being a respectable businessman is not for him. Even his beloved Chairy would have agreed that he is, and will always be, “The Prince of Humbug.”

    THE MAIN EVENT: THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH! James A. Bailey arrives on the scene, and convinces Barnum at last to “Join the Circus.”

    A PRINCELY FINAL ATTRACTION: The tent pole comes down, the canvas is folded, the show is loaded and ready to roll, and Mr. Phineas Taylor Barnum reflects on his glorious life (“Final Chase”/”There Is a Sucker Born Ev’ry Minute” Reprise).


    Music by              Lyrics by             Book by
    CY                      MICHAEL              MARK
    COLEMAN              STEWART           BRAMBLE

    Originally Produced on the Broadway Stage by Judy Gordon, Cy Coleman, Maurice and Lois F. Rosenfeld in association with Irwin Feld and Kenneth Feld.

    Such credits to the authors for all purposes shall be in type size equal to or greater than that of any other credits except for that of the star(s) above the title. In the programs, the credits shall appear on the title page thereof.

    The title page of the program shall contain the following announcement in type size at least one-half the size of the authors’ credits:

    is presented by arrangement with
    Tams-Witmark, A Concord Theatricals Company

    Additionally, you agree to include the above language hyperlinked to on all websites on which you promote the play.

  • Full Orchestration

    2 Violin
    1 Cello
    1 Bass

    1 Reed I: Piccolo, Flute, Clarinet & Soprano Saxophone
    1 Reed II: Piccolo, Flute, Clarinet & Alto Saxophone (cue Stage Pennywhistle)
    1 Reed III: Piccolo, Flute, Clarinet & Tenor Saxophone
    1 Reed IV: Clarinet & Tenor Saxophone
    1 Reed V: Clarinet, Bass Clarinet & Baritone Saxophone

    1 Trumpet I (Doubling Piccolo Trumpet & Cornet)
    1 Trumpet II (Doubling Cornet)
    1 Trumpet III
    1 Trombone I (Doubling Euphonium)
    1 Trombone II (cue Stage Trombone)
    1 Trombone III (with Bass attachment)
    1 Tuba (Doubling Sousaphone)

    1 Drums:

    Bass Drum
    Snare Drum
    Tom Tom
    Wood Block

    Suspended Cymbal
    Ride Cymbal

    Temple Blocks
    Bell Tree
    Police Whistle
    cue for Stage Snare Drum

    “One Man Band”: Bass Drum with Cymbal attached.

    1 Percussion:

    Timpani (2)
    Wood Block

    Police Whistle
    Hand Siren
    Mouth Siren
    Steel Plate
    Fire Bell Noise

    Finger Cymbals
    Suspended (2)
    Bass Drum with Cymbal attachment
    Auto Horn (Ai-oo-ga)
    Bulb Horn (Honk-Honk)
    cue Stage Concertina

    Pit orchestra Trap Drums when Drummer is with Marching Band

    1 Guitar (Doubling Banjo) (cue for Stage Banjo)
    1 Stage Violin & Viola
    1 Piano I & II

    Piano-Conductor’s Score sent with rehearsal material.

    1 Marching Band (set of 20 parts):
    “There Is A Sucker Born Ev’ry Minute”
    “Come Follow The Band”
    (Orchestra players leave pit and form the Marching Band as indicated in their parts)

    Stage band parts are also printed in the back of each pit orchestra part.

  • Rehearsal Materials

    2       Piano/Conductor Scores
    20     Libretto/Vocal Books

  • Phineas Taylor Barnum (The Prince of Humbug)
    Chairy Barnum (P.T. Barnum’s Wife)
    Joice Heth (The Oldest Woman Alive)
    Tom Thumb (Smallest Man in the World)
    Julius Goldschmidt (Jenny Lind’s Manager)
    Jenny Lind (Swedish Soprano)
    Blues Singer (A Black Woman. Same as Joice Heth)
    James A. Bailey (Small Circus Owner)

    Ringmaster (Circus Performer. Same as James A. Bailey)
    Chester Lyman (Joice Heth’s Manager)
    Amos Scudder (Owner of the American Museum)
    Sherwood Stratton (Tom Thumb’s Father)
    Mrs. Sherwood Stratton (Tom Thumb’s Mother)
    Wilton (Barnum’s Assistant on the Jenny Lind Tour)
    Edgar Templeton (Political Party Boss)
    Humbert Morrissey (Political Party Boss)

    First Woman (“Women’s Emporium” scene)
    Second Woman (“Women’s Emporium” scene)
    Concertmaster (“Jenny Lind Concert” scene)

    Tumblers, Jugglers, Clowns, Aerialists, Acrobats, Gymnasts, Bricklayers, Passersby, Museum Patrons, Strongmen, Beefeaters, The “Mob” in General, The Bridgeport Pageant Choir, and Bands of Every Size, Shape and Description.

    Time: 1835 through 1880
    The action takes place all over America and the major capitals of the world.

  • BARNUM opened at the St. James Theatre on Broadway on April 30, 1980, starring Jim Dale and Glenn Close. The production, which briefly featured Tony Orlando in the title role, played for 854 performances.

    Awards (1980)

    3 Tony Awards for Best Actor (Jim Dale), Scenic Design, and Costume Design
    The Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor (Jim Dale)
    The Theatre World Award (Marianne Tatum as Lenny Lind)

  • Act I

    1. Overture – Orchestra
    1a. Stage Music – Orchestra
    2. “There Is A Sucker Born Ev’ry Minute” – Barnum
    2a. Playoff: Sucker – Barnum
    3. “Thank God I’m Old” – Joice Heth
    3a. Underscore: Old – Orchestra
    4. Underscore: Whip Crack – Orchestra
    5. Women’s Emporium Chase – Orchestra
    6. “The Colors of My Life” – Charity & Barnum
    7. The Brick Chase – Orchestra
    7a. “One Brick At A Time” – Charity & Chorus
    8. “Museum Song (Egress Song)” – Barnum
    8a. Museum Crossover – Barnum
    9. “I like Your Style” – Charity & Barnum
    9a. Reprise: I Like Your Style (Underscore) – Orchestra
    10. “Bigger Isn’t Better” – Tom Thumb
    11. Clowns – Orchestra
    12. Jenny Lind Entrance – Orchestra
    12a. Jenny Lind Obbligto” – Jenny Lind
    13. “Love Makes Such Fools Of Us All” – Jenny Lind
    13a. Incidental: Fools Of Us All – Orchestra
    14. “Out There” – Barnum

    Act II

    15. “Come Follow The Band” – Barnum, Ringmaster, & Chorus
    15a. Drum Tag: Come Follow The Band – Barnum
    16. Reprise: “Love Makes Such Fools Of Us All” – Jenny Lind
    16a. “Black & White” – Chairy, Barnum, Blues Singer, & Chorus
    17. Reprise: “The Colors Of My Life” – Chairy & Barnum
    18. “The Prince Of Humbug” – Barnum
    19. “Join The Circus” – Barnum, Bailey, & Chorus
    20. Finale—Full Company
    20a. Finale Part II – Barnum
    21. Bows – Orchestra

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    Organization City, State First Performance Last Performance
    Martin Ryerson Middle School Ringwood, NJ 03/13/2020 03/15/2020