See why “The Greatest Show On Earth” is welcomed with open arms all over the world. With songs like There’s a Sucker Born Every Minute, The Colors of My Life, I Like Your Style and Love Makes Such Fools of Us All, BARNUM is certain to be a huge success with your group, too. There will only be one P.T. Barnum, but his enthusiasm and spirit live forever in this show.

Music samples provided courtesy of Masterworks Broadway and Notable Music.

  • Synopsis
  • Credits
  • Orchestration
  • Rehearsal Materials
  • Cast List
  • Brief History
  • Upcoming
  • “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!”
    Here is the show that 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. Let us 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 puffing up he gives the truth; the coat of varnish he puts on the hard facts of life. Whether we agree with him or not, Barnum’s sure he’ll be able to sell us his bill of goods. Why? There Is a Sucker Born Ev’ry Minute.
    HUMBLE BEGINNINGS as 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 in Thank God I’m Old.
    P.T. BARNUM VS. THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES, an age-old contest that pits Barnum against his good wife, Chairy. She 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. He tells us what he means in The Colors of My Life, then rushes off to close a deal to build a museum at the corner of Ann Street and Broadway to house his growing collection of attractions. Chairy, alone, tells us about the colors of her life.
    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. The years have gone by, the Barnums are a bit older and a bit more successful, but their conflict is the same. And so is their affection for each other in I Like Your Style.
    25 INCHES FROM TOE TO CROWN! None other than Barnum’s latest and most sensational attraction, General Tom Thumb, who tells us that Bigger Isn’t Better.
    A RESPECTABLE ATTRACTION AT LAST-one that brings great rewards and poses great problems; Jenny Lind, the Swedish Nightingale, whom Barnum presents in her first American concert at Castle Garden. Jenny sings first in Swedish, then in English, and 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-well, who could resist a Swedish Nightingale-and leaves Chairy to tour with Jenny and put a bit of color in his own life-Out There.
    OUT ON THE MIDWAY for a Grand Patriotic Parade, when the citizens of Washington salute Jenny Lind as she makes her first appearance in the nations’ capital-Come Follow the Band.
    A SECOND MUSICAL DIVERSION: PAYING THE PIPER, as Barnum realizes that Jenny Lind is not for him, that he only loves his wife. He returns to Chairy on her terms as he promises to banish color from his life and live it in Black and White.
    BARNUM VS. THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES, PART III. Many years later, Barnum is out of the ‘humbug’ business, and Chairy is ailing. Both of them realize how seriously ill she is, and before she leaves him forever, they declare their love for each other by affectionately restating their age-old quarrel-The Colors of My Life.
    BEHIND THE SCENES, BENEATH THE MAKE-UP, as Barnum realizes that being a respectable businessman is not for him, and even his beloved Chairy would have agreed that what he is-and will always be-is The Prince of Humbug. THE MAIN EVENT: THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH! James A. Bailey arrives on the scene, and after a selling job that even Barnum would be proud of, 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, as we hear from Mr. Phineas Taylor Barnum-himself-Final Chase and 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
    560 Lexington Avenue, New York, New York 10022

  • 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.

  • 1       Piano Conductor’s Score
    1       Prompt Book for Director
    20     Prompt Books for Cast
    30     Chorus-Vocal Parts

  • 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 played for 854 performances on Broadway at the St. James Theatre starring Jim Dale and Glenn Close.

    Awards (1980)

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

  • Find upcoming performances near you.

    Search for performances near you
    Organization City, State First Performance Last Performance
    Pelham Memorial High School PELHAM, NY 03/24/2017 03/26/2017
    Moonbox Productions CAMBRIDGE, MA 04/07/2017 04/30/2017
    Pacelli High School AUSTIN, MN 05/11/2017 05/13/2017
    Westchester Sandbox Theatre MAMARONECK, NY 05/12/2017 05/21/2017
    Evergreen Park Community High School EVERGREEN PARK, IL 06/22/2017 06/23/2017
    Hat Box Theatre CONCORD, NH 07/21/2017 07/30/2017