Barnum – NoHo Arts Center

This show was absolutely fantastic. The cast, small as it is, is electrifying in such a small space and James Mellon is incredible as flimflamming, hogwash selling huckster Phineas Taylor Barnum. It’s not enough that I love the show because it’s Cy Coleman (City of Angels & Will Rogers Follies). This show is so flamboyantly patriotic that you can’t help loving it. It’s so infuriating to me to see everything being politicized…especially musical theatre. I thoroughly enjoy just about anything that takes place before the 1950s because it isn’t politicized so liberally as things are now. Sorry, getting lost in my own thing here. I just thoroughly enjoy the energy and patriotism that is P.T. Barnum.

But beyond the fantastic job of every aspect and part of the performance is the emphasis on the possibilities of small spaces. This marks the third show (in recent memory) that I’ve seen that takes what is normally a huge explosive musical that was reworked very effectively into a small space theatre (black box, seats anywhere between 100-150): the other two being Sweeney Todd at the StagesTheatre in Fullerton and Pirates of Penzance at the George Nakano Theatre in Torrance (I would include Chromolume’s production of City of Angels, but I first saw the show in a large space and didn’t appreciate the small space translation as much as with these others).

Referentially “real” review

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