By Ken Bloom
As you may have heard, there’s a big new film musical coming out at Christmas about circus showman extraordinaire P.T. Barnum. Hugh Jackman stars. But nearly 40 years ago, the great Broadway composer Cy Coleman beat Hollywood to the punch with Barnum, his stage musical staring Jim Dale and co-written with Michael Stewart.
And that’s where a brand-new album from Harbinger comes in.
Coleman and Stewart’s show was ambitious—Barnum’s biography was told in the form of a three-ring circus—so to raise money, the songwriters set out across New York playing their score and telling the story in backers’ auditions held in lots of Upper East Side apartments.
Thanks to my friend Andy Propst, author of the Cy Coleman biography, You Fascinate Me So, I gained access to an extremely rare tape of one of those backers auditions—and for fans of musical theater, it’s irresistible stuff. Coleman and Stewart are in top form with a marvelous collection of songs. The potential investors love the team—and in this exciting CD, you can hear exactly what they heard in one of those lavishly appointed living rooms.
If you’re like me, the question you’ll ask yourself is, “Would I have invested in the show?” If your answer is Yes, you would have made a nice profit: 1980’s Barnum ran on Broadway for 854 performances and was subsequently produced in London (starring a young Michael Crawford), Australia and around the world.
RELEASE DATE: September 8th
Click HERE to purchase.
Harbinger Records, a division of TMTP, has more than 60 recordings in its catalogue celebrating musical theater, cabaret and the Great American Songbook. Musical theater historian Ken Bloom, who co-founded Harbinger with Bill Rudman, regularly updates readers on new releases and calls attention to other notable albums in the catalogue. All of them are available at Amazon.com.