Brian Claridge chats with his namesake about theatre hit Barnum – the tale of a showman’s life – to find out more about a show that consistently gets rave reviews
THAS attracted high praise from critics, such as ‘theatrical energy of the highest order’ and ‘big, sharp, witty, breathtaking and emotional’. Cameron Mackintosh and Chichester Festival Theatre’s record-breaking production of the popular musical follows the irrepressible imagination and dreams of Phineas T Barnum, currently starring Brian Conley.
The story of his life and his marriage to Chairy (Linzi Hateley) reveals a couple who looked at the world from opposite sides of the spectrum, and uncovers that she was the practical one who made Barnum’s dreams come true.
We follow the legendary showman’s life as he lit up the world with the colour, warmth and excitement of his imagination and eventually teamed up with JA Bailey to create Barnum and Bailey’s Circus – The Greatest Show on Earth.
The production was a smash hit when it opened on Broadway in 1980. Starring Glenn Close and Jim Dale, it won three Tony Awards.
In 1981, it opened at the London Palladium. Michael Crawford’s stunning performance as Barnum won him an Oliver Award.
“I remember seeing Michael Crawford at the London Palladium, and it’s been my ambition to play the role ever since,” says Brian. “Thanks to Michael Harrison and Sir Cameron Mackintosh, my dream has finally come true.”
Brian’s career spans three decades and includes a record eight appearances at The Royal Variety Performance, numerous West End shows, including Oliver! and Hairspray, and an Olivier Award in 1996 for his stunning performance in Jolson.
The Stephen K Amos tour show is presented by Get Stuffed Comedy Club