The Greatest Showman is a musical drama it premiered on the RMS Queen Mary II in 2017, the same year that saw the last performance ever from the predecessor of the Barnum and Bailey Circus – subject of the story. Barnum and Bailey started in 1871 and later merged with Ringling circus. In the mid 19th century P.T. Barnum and his circus troupe performed at the famous circus “The Greatest Show.” Some people loved and others were not sure about the film. It was nominated for a number of Musical or Comedy awards at the 75th Golden Globe Awards: Best Motion Picture and best actor; but it was the music, not the plot that stood out and won awards. “The Greatest Showman” won music awards for the best original song ‘This is me.” It also won best original song in the 90th Academy Awards and Best compilation music from the film soundtrack for visual media at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards.
In real life, Jenny Lind was a famous singer who founded a children’s hospital in Norwich, England, where Barnum and Baileys circus visited. Based on a true story, the film set a new record number for sing-along-screenings in over 550 cinemas in the UK. The soundtrack was No.1 in the U.K. for 11 weeks, the second recording to do that in 30 years. In the U.S. It was listed in the top 15 of the IMDb list of American Top Grossing Musical Titles. It is currently running as a stage musical with sing-along-subtitles.
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Want to play the music from The Greatest Showman? This post includes links to arrangements for beginner and easy piano solo.
About the Composer of ‘The Greatest Showman’
Grammy Award winning songwriters, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who also wrote the score for “La La Land,” composed all the songs for the “The Greatest Showman.” They’ve been awarded Golden Globe and Academy Awards for La La Land song “City of Stars” and also for “The Greatest Showman.” The composers met at the University of Michigan, where they both graduated with a BFA Musical Theatre Degree. The very next year they won the American Theatre Wings 2007 Jonathan Larson Award. Pasek and Paul compose for television, musical theatre and films including scores for the musical, Dear Evan Hansen, James and The Giant Peach.
Synopsis of ‘The Greatest Showman’
It all began with P.T. Barnum, the son of a tailor. Young Barnum fell in love with the daughter of his father’s boss, Charity Hallett, when he managed to make her laugh one day. Charity is sent away to finishing school. Barnum promised her that they would write to each other and meet when they were grown up. In the film the song, “A Million Dreams” is all about this promise. They do meet again, marry, and have two children. Charity is happy, but Barnum wanted to do exciting things. When he lost his job he decided to get a bank loan and buy Barnum’s American Museum in Downtown Manhattan, New York. It was a museum with a variety of things to look at. However, business was slow so his children suggested Barnum try something else. He began a search for unusual people, “freaks” as they were known at the time. Some people liked the show, but others didn’t. Barnum decided he needed to find someone rich to help support. Barnum went to England with his friend Carlyle who fell in love with an African American trapeze artist in the circus. Carlyle’s parents did not approve. Barnum departs again, his troupe to perform on their own. They are teased, but they did not give up. “This is me” is about how they took courage and stood up to the people who bullied them. After meeting with the Queen, Barnum met Jenny Lind, a Swedish singer with an incredible voice. Barnum went on tour to America with Jenny Lind. Barnum then went home and found the circus was on fire. A fire started by protestors who were against the troupe. Barnum lost everything, his home, his family, his wife, his troupe. Barnum was feeling sorry for himself. His troupe found him and told him that they were his family, and they would support him.
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