Come follow the band to Toon theatre

Barnum comes to the Theatre Royal in February
Barnum comes to the Theatre Royal in February

Roll up, roll up! A smash-hit production of the musical Barnum is coming to Toon!

Newcastle’s Theatre Royal is the next venue for the popular show, which stars Brian Conley as legendary showman PT Barnum and Linzi Hateley as Chairy.

The Cameron Mackintosh and Michael Harrison-produced spectacle opened at Chichester Festival Theatre’s Theatre in the Park in July 2013.

It became one of the most successful musicals in the theatre’s 51-year history, with a record box-office attendance of almost 70,000 people. A new tour opened in Leicester last September and has been playing to sell-out houses ever since.

The musical follows the irrepressible imagination and dreams of Phineas T Barnum, America’s Greatest Showman. The story of his life and his marriage to Chairy reveals a couple who looked at the world from opposite sides of the spectrum, and also reveals that she was the practical one who made Barnum’s dreams come true. The production follows the legendary showman’s life as he lit up the world with the colour, warmth and excitement of his imagination and finally teamed up with JA Bailey to create Barnum and Bailey’s Circus – the Greatest Show on Earth.

Cy Coleman’s exuberant score includes the hits Come Follow The Band, The Colours Of My Life and There Is A Sucker Born Ev’ry Minute.

Songs from the show were used in the recent Alnwick Playhouse Youth Theatre production, Greatest Show on Earth.

Brian Conley is one of the UK’s most versatile actors and performers. He most recently scored a huge success as Fagin in the national tour of Cameron Mackintosh’s production of Oliver! which stormed the Theatre Royal in 2012. His recent West End stage credits include Edna Turnblad in Hairspray at the Shaftesbury Theatre and Caractacus Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium. One of the highlights of his career was originating the role of another great iconic American showman Al Jolson in Jolson at the Victoria Palace for which he was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical. On television he is probably best known for playing Doug Digby in The Grimleys, his ITV1 show The Brian Conley Show, his hugely successful An Audience with Brian Conley and numerous Royal Variety Performances.

Linzi Hateley is an award winning actress who has starred on Broadway, in the West End, with the RSC and at the National Theatre. She created the role of ‘Mrs Banks’ in Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins and was nominated for an Olivier Award for her performance as The Narrator in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Her many other West End credits include ‘Donna’ in Mamma Mia!, ‘Roxie’ in Chicago, Rizzo in Grease and Eponine in Les Misérables. She most recently appeared in the National Theatre’s smash hit production of London Road.

Barnum was a smash-hit when it opened on Broadway in 1980. Starring Glenn Close and Jim Dale, it won three Tony Awards and a Drama Desk Award. When Barnum opened at the London Palladium in 1981 Michael Crawford took the lead, winning an Olivier Award for his performance.

Barnum has music by Cy Coleman, lyrics by Michael Stewart and a book by Mark Bramble in a revised version by Cameron Mackintosh and Mark Bramble.

Barnum appears at Newcastle Theatre Royal from Tuesday, February 17, to Saturday, February 28. Tickets are available from £21 (a booking fee of 95p to £1.95 will apply to most tickets) and can be purchased from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 or select your own seat and book online at www.theatreroyal.co.uk.