'Barnum' to Close Chatham Players' 92nd Season

Musical to run May 9 to 24.

Chatham Players’ Concludes 92nd Season with the Entertaining Musical, “Barnum” May 9 - 24
What happens when you set a Broadway musical at the circus?  Let’s just say you may want to “Join the Circus like you wanted to, when you were a kid.”  The Chatham Community Players concludes their successful 92nd Season of producing local theater with an audience favorite, “BARNUM” with book by Mark Bramble, lyrics by Michael Stewart, and music by Cy Coleman. This musical will run from May 9 through May 24 and will feature a “side show” 30 minutes before every performance.  Jeffrey Fiorello from Montclair directs, Jack Bender from Jersey City is Musical Director and Megan Ferentinos from Cranford is the Choreographer.

Winner of a Drama Desk and three Tony Awards, BARNUM sparkles with a cast of singers, actors, jugglers and clowns.  Barnum ran two years on Broadway in the early 80’s with music by Cy Coleman (Sweet Charity, City of Angels & Will Rogers Follies) Lyrics by Michael Stewart (Bye, Bye Birdie, Carnival & Hello Dolly!) and book by Mark Bramble (42nd Street). The show traces the life of the legendary huckster Phineas Taylor Barnum from the purchase of his first sideshow act through his partnership with James A. Bailey and his marriage to Chairy reveals a couple who looked at the world from opposite sides of the spectrum, revealing that she was the practical one who made Barnum’s dreams come true.  The score is a pastiche of toe-tapping marches, ballads, ragtime and Dixieland tunes with several circus-infused show stopping numbers designed to thrill audiences.  The worlds of musical theatre and circus are blended into a vibrant and entertaining musical celebrating the colorful, creative and driven life of the World’s Greatest Showman, Phineas “P.T.” Barnum. The Director, Jeffrey Fiorello explained, “Barnum is a big show which is known for spectacle and large production numbers, but it is also a show with a lot of heart.  With this production we want to show the sincerity and love between Barnum and his Wife Chairy, and be certain that it is not lost behind the circus.  There are two major stories being told, and each is just as important as the other.”

Featuring an energetic cast ripe with circus antics, this musical includes actors from all around New Jersey. Leading the cast, Chris Abbott from South Plainfield is playing the role of P.T. Barnum.  Also featured are Kathleen Campbell Jackson from Peapack/Gladstone as Chairy Barnum, Michael Healy from Boonton as Ringmaster, Jen Hanselman from Berkeley Heights, Ray Guy from Montclair as Tom Thumb, Sarah Kuhns from Stanhope as Jenny Lind, Joe Guadara from Caldwell as James A. Bailey and Julius Goldschmidt, Alan Van Antwerp from Little Falls as Amos Scudder, Joe Leo from Cranford as Sherwood Stratton, Raven Dunbar from Dayton as Mrs Stratton, William Carey from Glen Ridge as Wilton, Anthony Bruno from Lodi as Edgar Templeton and Chester Lyman, Jo Rosa Rio from Belleville as Humbert Morrissey, and  Shannon Ludlum from Whitehouse Station as the Blues Singer.  The ensemble consists of Michal Efron from Summit, Jessica Phelan from Montclair, Gira Marie Derise-Weaver from Wharton and Samantha Kaplan from Verona.  “Finding performers to work on this production has been a challenge.  The production staff and the theatre worked tirelessly to assemble 20 actors, who not only sing dance and act (as with any musical), but who also are willing to walk on stilts, dangle from a rope, swing above the audience, flip, juggle, and create the circus.  “The cast of this production is truly the hardest working cast that I have ever had the great pleasure of directing,” said director, Fiorello.

Rounding out Fiorello’s talented production team, the Producer is Bob Lukasik, Stage Manager is Pam Wilczybski, Production Stage Manager is Debby Hennessy, Scenic Designer is Bob Lukasik, Scenic Painting by Andrea Sickler, Costume Designer is Fran Harrison, Lighting Designer is Richard Hennessy, Sound Designer is Joe DeVico and Production Coordinators are Steffi Denmark and Leslie Reagoso.

As a special treat and to help the entire family enjoy the circus atmosphere, we are going to offer a “Side Show”, where the audience may partake in some circus refreshments, face painting, watch performers doing some tricks and also a chance to learn something about P.T. Barnum.  The special preshow activities will occur 30 minutes before each show.

Producer, Bob Lukasik explains why Chatham Players chose to mount the musical, Barnum.  “When we first read Barnum as part of the play selection process that we go through each year, it became very obvious why ‘Barnum” is rarely seen in the world of Community Theatre.  Why?  Clowns, stilt walkers, singers, dancers, magic, juggling, acrobatics, even an elephant and the oldest woman alive as well as the shortest man. Add to that a beautiful, rousing score and talented musicians.  The Chatham Players likes a challenge. Join us and see if, at the end of the performance, you too will want to ‘Join The Circus’.”

Box Office Information – Online Ticketing:

Performance dates are May 9, 10, 16, 17, 23 and 24 at 8PM and May 17, 18 and 24 at 3PM. All performances are at the Chatham Playhouse, 23 North Passaic Avenue, in Chatham.  Tickets are $25 for adults and $23 for youth/senior. Fun for the entire family!

Tickets can be purchased at our Box Office or Online. To access the theater’s online ticketing service, simply go to ccp.ticketleap.com.  The service is available 24 hours a day, and tickets can be purchased online up until three hours prior to curtain on the day of a performance.  Chatham Playhouse’s box office will begin accepting phone reservations on April 29 at (973) 635-7363.  For information regarding box office hours, please call the box office number listed above.

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