© Suburban Journals
The Mercury Theater
3745 N. Southport Avenue
© Suburban Journals
| Gene Weygandt |
"Unbelievable talent, Breathtaking feats, with Singing,
Dancing, Drama and Clowns..."
Suburban Journals of Chicago Inc
review by Ed Vincent
Clowns outside of the
theater before the show and clowns playing with the audience at the
start of show just adds that much more to the event. Humor and
heartache all nestled in song and dance, sounds like a good recipe for
a Broadway show.
as Barnum and all of the cast are fabulous, more talent in every
direction than you could hope for. Acrobatic thrills, grand
choreography with inventive staging makes this another home run for the
Mercury. The size of theater is perfect for this intimate tale of
a museum that takes to the road and rails of the world. A
wonderful biographic work on the life of P.T. Barnum brought to
life with the magic of the stage. That magic is in the hands of
This is a highly recommended play, one of the best in town.
Starring Broadway’s Gene Weygandt as
Now through June 16
CHICAGO, IL – Mercury Theater Chicago, 3745 N. Southport, announces an
all-star cast of award-winning actors for the circus-themed musical
BARNUM, opening on Thursday, April 4 at 7:30 p.m. and running through
June 16, 2013. The cast is led by Chicago native and Broadway, TV, and
film actor Gene Weygandt as legendary showman P.T. Barnum, with Cory
Goodrich as his wife Charity, and Summer Naomi Smart as the
“‘Swedish Nightingale” Jenny Lind. The Mercury’s production is the
first major Chicago revival of the show in over 20 years, led by
multiple Jeff Award winners L. Walter Stearns (Director) Eugene Dizon
(Musical Director), Brenda Didier and Andrew Waters (Co-Choreographers)
and Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi of the Actor’s Gymnasium (Circus Director).
The “Greatest Show on Earth” is the setting for this riveting musical,
which traces the life and loves of colorful impresario Phineas Taylor
Barnum. The tale of the American Museum, the smallest man, the oldest
woman, the largest elephant and more is told through stunning
acrobatics, hilarious variety acts, whimsical magic and puppetry.
BARNUM was originally produced on Broadway in 1980 and ran for 854
performances. The score is a pastiche of toe-tapping marches, ballads
and ragtime tunes, including “There’s a Sucker Born Ev’ry Minute” and
“Come Follow the Band.” It was nominated for ten Tony Awards, including
Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical (Mark Bramble) and Best Original
Score (Michael Stewart and Cy Coleman performances with Jim Dale taking
home the Tony for the title role, followed by a West End run starring
Michael Crawford. A Cameron Mackintosh-produced London revival of
BARNUM is slated for later this year.
Gene Weygandt (P.T. Barnum) is best known for his role as “The
Wonderful Wizard of Oz” in Wicked in Chicago and on Broadway. More
recently, he starred as Jean Shepherd in A Christmas Story: The
Musical. Weygandt originated the role of Paul in Big: The Musical
on Broadway. He is a three-time Jeff Award recipient for A Day in
Hollywood/A Night in The Ukraine, Me and My Girl and Little Shop of
Horrors, and received an After Dark Award for his role as “Max” in the
long-running hit Lend Me a Tenor at The Royal George Theatre. He has
been seen in the films The Birdcage, The Babe, and The Pager, and on
television on Home Improvement, Cybill, Murphy Brown, The Drew
Carey Show, Ellen, and Coach.
Actress and recording artist Cory Goodrich (Charity Barnum) is a
four-time Jeff nominee who was honored with the award for her portrayal
of “Mother” in Ragtime at Drury Lane Theatre. She has appeared as “Alma
Stossel” in The Mercury Theater’s The Christmas Schooner for the past
two seasons and was recently seen in the critically acclaimed
production of A Little Night Music at Writer’s Theatre. Goodrich has
recorded two award-winning children’s albums, and has performed in
concert at Ravina Festival, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the
The Barnum’s marriage is tested by the affections of Swedish opera
singer Jenny Lind, depicted by two-time Jeff Award winner Summer Naomi
Smart. Smart made her Chicago debut as “Nessarose” in the first
national sit-down production of Wicked, and received a Jeff Award for
her portrayal of “Charity Hope Valentine” in Sweet Charity at Drury
Lane Theatre. She has recently been seen in leading roles in My One and
Only, Hero and Legally Blonde at Marriott Theatre where she earned a
Jeff Award for her role in The Light in the Piazza.
The cast also features Kevin McKillip as “the Ringmaster” and Christian
Libonati as the world’s smallest man, “General Tom Thumb.” The circus
performers are Karissa Barney, Nathan Drackett, Kris Hyland, Taylor
Krasne-Wilton, Jeremy Sonkin, Ryan Westwood and J. Tyler Whitmer.
Scenic Design is by Jacqueline and Richard Penrod, Costume Design is by
Carol Blanchard, Lighting Design is by Jason Epperson and Sound Design
is by Mike Ross.
The Mercury Theater recently kicked off its first full season,
launching the largest musical theater company in Chicago. The rest of
the season includes the critically acclaimed production of A GRAND
NIGHT FOR SINGING (running through March 10th), the regional premiere
of THE COLOR PURPLE (August-November), and the perennial holiday hit
THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER (November-December).
BARNUM runs now through June 16, 2013. The press opening is Thursday,
April 4 at 7:30 p.m. The performance schedule is: Wednesdays at 7:30
p.m., Thursdays at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays
at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets range from $25-$59,
and are available online at MercuryTheaterChicago.com, over the phone
at 773-325-1700, or in person at 3745 N. Southport Avenue, Chicago.
Discounts of up to 50% are available for groups of 10 or more.
Directions from Oak
The Mercury Theater located at 3745
Chicago, Illinois is very close to the
Field, Home of the Cubs. You can
the 290 East to
Chicago and then got out to Lake Shore
north until Belmont. Get off at
and drive to Clark.
Take Clark to the Ball Park and make a
Waveland. Go to Southport, 5
and make a right
(North) and go about a half a block on