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Barnum (1980 Original Broadway Cast)
Cy Coleman, Glenn Close, Michael Stewart
Barnum (1980 Original Broadway Cast)
Genres: Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
  •  Track Listings (25) - Disc #1

If ever there were a bigger-than-life American figure whose biography seemed custom-written for the Broadway musical stage, it was the legendary showman Phineas T. Barnum. That 1980 musical arrived during one of the Great ...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Cy Coleman, Glenn Close, Michael Stewart, Terri White
Title: Barnum (1980 Original Broadway Cast)
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Sony
Release Date: 5/28/2002
Album Type: Extra tracks, Original recording remastered
Genres: Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
Style: Musicals
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 696998999923, 5099708999926

If ever there were a bigger-than-life American figure whose biography seemed custom-written for the Broadway musical stage, it was the legendary showman Phineas T. Barnum. That 1980 musical arrived during one of the Great White Way's most serious, pre-Webbermania doldrums, but its innovative circus-ring staging and buoyant songs helped point the way to the future, garnering 10 Tony Award nominations, winning star Jim Dale the Best Actor Tony for his riveting, tour-de-force performance in the title role and showcasing co-star Glenn Close on her way to Hollywood stardom. The show's buoyant songs include romantic drama ("The Colors of My Life," "I Like Your Style"), shameless hucksterism (Dale's verbal gymnastics on "Museum Song," a tune whose brisk syllabic gymnastics one-ups even Gilbert and Sullivan), and infectious crowd-pleasers: "Come Follow the Band" and "Join the Circus." This last pair are also featured in previously unreleased demos by composers Cy Coleman and Michael Stewart. Among the other bonus tracks are Coleman's demos for "At Least I Tried" and "So Little Time," songs that were cut before the show's bow on Broadway. This edition includes new notes by star Jim Dale and reminiscences by Coleman. --Jerry McCulley

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CD Reviews

One of my favorites
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I have a love of obscure musicals, and this has got to be the best show that noone has ever heard of (next to maybe Assassins). I did get to see a community theatre production that, frankly, blew me away, and I instantly fell in love with the character and the show.

You have to see the show to truly appreciate this score. The DVD with Michael Crawford is wonderful, but it really doesn't do it justice; live on stage, it's an incredible infusion of energy and in-your-face theatrical magic. The only show that I've seen that is as magical as "Barnum" is perhaps "Wicked," which benefits from more than two decades of technological advances. It's not really fair to compare the two.

I personally think that "The Colors of My Life," while rather trite, is a wonderfully simple way of showing the contrasting relationship between Barnum and his down-to-earth wife Chairy. The lyrics are very Sondheim-like in their simplicity and symbolism. (See Sondheim's "Sunday in the Park with George" for an example of what I mean; Sondheim is a master of saying mountains with just a few words.)

While that song is nice enough, it's really Jim Dale, the con-man incarnate, that sells it to you. "There Is a Sucker..." is perhaps the gem of the show, but there's plenty more to love. Glenn Close gives a joyfully heart-filled performance in "One Brick at a Time" and the ensemble just sparkles in "Join the Circus" and "Come Follow the Band," which just might be the greatest Act II opening number ever. You'll be singing it for weeks. As if that isn't enough, all of the "specialty" numbers ("Thank God I'm Old," "Bigger Isn't Better," and "Love Makes Such Fools...") are tremendous.

I could probably go through this soundtrack track by track and write why I love each one in particular; that's how great this CD is. However, I have to add a caveat; if you haven't seen the show, it might not mean as much to you as it does to me. If you're thinking about buying it, just buy it; don't worry about thanking me.

If you happen to be a Cy Coleman fan, enjoy the bonus tracks, which are more interesting for historical reasons than musically. Still fun to listen to."
A gorgeous score
Byron Kolln | the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood | 12/20/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Cy Coleman and Michael Stewart's BARNUM is one of the most joyful and exciting of all Broadway musicals, which provides a wonderful account of the life of P.T. Barnum, showman extraordinaire.Jim Dale, as Barnum, is a revelation. He offers a touching rendition of "The Colors of My Life" (the score's singular hit), as well as an energetic "Out There" when he has to decide between a life with his wife or an affair with singing star Jenny Lind.Glenn Close (in the role that got Hollywood knocking) is a delight as Charity "Chairy" Barnum, the put-upon wife who knows what is best for her husband and tries to steer him along a path that will see him put his dreams aside. She offers her own glowing rendition of "Colors" as well as the jaunty "I Like Your Style" in a duet with Dale; and the show-stopping number "One Brick at a Time" is ably-led by her soaring voice. In 1993, Glenn Close returned to Broadway to star in SUNSET BOULEVARD. Play this recording back-to-back with SUNSET and you will be amazed at the difference in her voice.Marianne Tatum is given the beautifully-written role of Jenny Lind, the "Swedish nightingale" who steals Barnum away for a torrid affair. She is given the gorgeous "Love Makes Such Fools of Us All", and sings it for all its worth.Terri White, in her dual-roles of Joice Heth and the leading singer in "Black and White" is given ample time to display her amazing belt. In Joice's number "Thank God I'm Old", she slightly restrains her voice, but in "Black and White", watch out! She lets her voice climb to the rafters and you will be a fan forever.All-in-all, this superb recording of BARNUM is a must."
A Nice Musical
Beabea | Chicago, Illinois USA | 03/16/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"When Barnum first opened in 1980, it was acclaimed as the best musical of 1980, the musical amazement. Some critics expected it to sweep the Tony Awards, and it might have if "Evita" hadn't appeared. When the Tony awards were over, Barnum was left with a disappointing three Tony Awards for Best Actor, Best Scenic Design and Best Costumes. Without the Best Musical award it was also left to fall into musical obscurity. This is a shame because it is actually a respectable musical. The musical is definitely not perfect. The book was weak and it depended significantly on its star Jim Dale. The reason that you should buy this CD, however, is because the music is actually very good. Cy Coleman provided a strong score that was enhanced by the orchestrations of the incomparable Hersh Kay. Yes, it's true that you can hear stars Jim Dale and Glenn Close struggling to harmonize on some songs, but the energy of their performance is beautiful.

This CD also includes some of the original demos done for the show including a few songs that never made it into the finished production. Of these, I think that fans of the show would really enjoy "So Little Time" in which Barnum sings to Charity shortly before she dies - "Where did it go, this lifetime, hurrying by. How did it fly away, leaving so little time to tell you so many things I always meant to say." It is beautiful and it's amazing that it didn't make the final cut into the show.

The original recording is very difficult to find and it is nice to see that the Broadway version is available again."