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Barnum cast announced!



Chichester Festival Theatre will unveil its temporary state-of-the-art auditorium, Theatre in the Park, with a major new production of the musical Barnum, presented in association with Cameron Mackintosh. The production will be co-directed by Timothy Sheader, Artistic Director of the Open Air Theatre Regent’s Park and Liam Steel, with rising Broadway star Christopher Fitzgerald in the title role, alongside the award-winning Tamsin Carroll as Barnum’s wife, Chairy. 

Christopher Fitzgerald* will play P T Barnum.  A rising star on Broadway, he has garnered great acclaim for roles such as Boq in the original cast of Wicked; Og in Finian’s Rainbow, for which he received Tony and Outer Critics Circle nominations and won a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical; Young Frankenstein (Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations); Amour (Drama Desk nomination); and Launcelot Gobbo opposite Al Pacino in The Merchant of Venice.  In addition he played Bartley in the US premiere of Martin McDonagh's The Cripple of Inishmaan at the Public Theatre in New York, as well as Ray in the renowned Steppenwolf production of McDonagh's The Beauty Queen of Leenane.  He also played Martin in the first US production of Frank McGuinness' Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme at New York's Lincoln Center.  Screen credits include Girl Most Likely, due to open in the UK this July, in which he stars alongside Kristen Wiig, Matt Dillon and Annette Bening.

Tamsin Carroll will play Chairy, Barnum’s wife. Tamsin was most recently seen in the West End as Nancy in Oliver!, a role she also played in her native Australia, for which she was awarded the prestigious Helpmann Award for Best Actress in a Musical. Also in Australia, Tamsin received critical acclaim for her stunning performance as the title role in Dusty where she won both the Green Room and Helpmann awards for Best Actress in a Musical.   Her other UK theatre credits include The Magistrate (National Theatre), Emma Goldman in Ragtime and Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (both for the Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park). The cast features Aretha Ayeh as Joice Heath, Anna O’Byrne as Jenny Lind, whose theatre credits include the role of Christine Daae in the West End production of The Phantom of the Opera and Jack North as Tom Thumb.

The cast also includes Rachael Archer, Jacquie Biggs, Nick Butcher, Sophie Camble, Jon-Scott Clark, Leon Cooke, Stefan Dermendjiev, Faith-Louise Francis, Chris Gage, A C Garcia, Trina Hill, Jack Horner, Erin Jameson, Jasmine Kerr, Mitch Leow, James O’Connell, Michaela O’Connor, Max Parker, Tom Scanlon, Lucie-Mae Sumner and Robert Tregoning.

Chichester’s brand new auditorium will be erected in June while the £22 million RENEW redevelopment of the Festival Theatre continues. Mirroring the Festival Theatre’s auditorium, the purpose-built temporary building will house 1,400 seats and a thrust stage. It will be just a few minutes stroll across Oaklands Park from the Festival Theatre site. 

Jonathan Church, Artistic Director, Chichester Festival Theatre, said: “At the point that RENEW was given the go-ahead we had already been discussing with Cameron Mackintosh the idea of taking a completely new look at Barnum in Chichester. It was our belief that the thrust stage and ‘concrete tent’ nature of the theatre might be a good environment to reinvent this brilliant musical”.

“However, the news that we were going to move out of the theatre and create a temporary performance space led to an even more perfect possibility – Barnum in a tent! We are obviously thrilled by the prospect of this production for our audiences and to be working with Cameron Mackintosh, Timothy Sheader and a wonderful cast led by Christopher Fitzgerald and Tamsin Carroll on this exciting adventure.”

Co-producer Cameron Mackintosh said: “Listening to the Barnum score, by chance, about eight years ago, I was again attracted to its dynamic personal story, the infectious rousing score and universal timelessness. I realised that the true heart of the story is the relationship between Barnum and his wife, Chairy, a couple that needed each other. Sadly, by this time, Cy Coleman and Michael Stewart, the writers of the original music and lyrics were dead. However, the book’s author, Mark Bramble, who I’ve known for many years, was very much alive. He was eager to collaborate on rebuilding a new version of the show with a considerably reconstructed score”.

“I am thrilled we have found an American, Christopher Fitzgerald, a Tony-nominated actor whose reputation is poised to explode at exactly the same time in his theatrical career as Jim Dale’s did when Barnum first opened on Broadway. I am also delighted that Jonathan Church’s charming nagging and personal enthusiasm for Barnum over the years has helped to bring this project to fruition.


“After a long search to find the perfect match for Christopher as his feisty wife Chairy, I am delighted that Tamsin Carroll, who is one of Australia’s leading theatrical stars, and a wonderful Nancy in my production of Oliver! at Theatre Royal Drury Lane, is returning to the UK to play this role. Tamsin’s unique talents make her the perfect rock for P T Barnum to depend on.”

“This is the perfect time and space in Chichester’s theatrical history for us to join together with our terrific creative team, celebrating the extraordinary imagination and achievements of the Greatest Showman on Earth, P T Barnum.” 

This exhilarating 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 J A Bailey to create Barnum and Bailey’s Circus – the Greatest Show on Earth.

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

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.

Timothy Sheader has been Artistic Director of the Open Air Theatre Regent’s Park since 2007, where his productions of Hello, Dolly!, Into the Woods and Crazy For You have each won the Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival.

Co-director and Choreographer is Liam Steel whose credits include all the musical staging for the current film version of Les Misérables, Into the Woods, co-directed with Timothy Sheader, which received the Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival, The Tempest (Open Air Theatre Regent’s Park), Hymns (Frantic Assembly and Lyric Hammersmith) and Heavenly (Frantic Assembly and 59E59 Off-Broadway).

Co-choreographer is Andrew Wright whose credits include Singin’ in the Rain (Chichester’s Festival 2011 and West End, Olivier Award nomination for Best Choreography ), 42nd Street (Chichester’s Festival 2010), Once Upon a Time at The Adelphi which won the TMA Award for Best Musical Production, and Almost Like Being In Love at the National Theatre.

Set Design is by Scott Pask whose credits include the Broadway productions of The Book of Mormon, Hair (both also West End), The Coast of Utopia, which won the Tony Award for Best Scenic Design, Speed the Plow, Les Liaisons Dangereuses and The Pillowman (National Theatre, UK tour and Broadway), which won a Tony Award for Scenic Design. His other credits include Amaluna (Cirque du Soleil).

Costume Design is by Paul Wills whose credits include The Lightning Child (Shakespeare’s Globe), My Fair Lady (Sheffield Crucible) and Di and Viv and Rose (Hampstead Theatre).

Orchestrations are by William David Brohn, whose credits include Miss Saigon, Oliver! Mary Poppins, Wicked , My Fair Lady, Betty Blue Eyes and Ragtime, for which he won the Tony Award for Best Orchestrations.

Musical Supervisor is Stephen Brooker whose credits include Mary Poppins, Les Misérables, Oliver! and the film of Les Misérables, the Musical Director is Adam Rowe.

Lighting Design is by Paule Constable whose credits include the new anniversary production of Les Misérables, the current tour of The Phantom of the Opera, Oliver!, National Theatre productions of This House, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, War Horse, which won a Tony Award for Best Lighting, and His Dark Materials, which won an Oliver Award for Best Lighting. Other credits include The Chalk Garden and Don Carlos, both of which won Olivier Awards for Best Lighting.

Sound Design is by Mick Potter whose credits include the West End productions of Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera, Evita and The Woman in White which won an Olivier Award for Best Sound.

Circus Consultant is Vicki Amedume, the Artistic Director of Upswing which was established to create cross artform work that uses circus skills as an expressive vehicle. She has worked with UK companies such as Scarabeus and Skinning The Cat, as well as international companies including Universoul Circus.

*Christopher Fitzgerald is appearing with the permission of UK Equity, incorporating the Variety Artistes’ Federation, pursuant to an exchange programme between American Equity and UK Equity.


Christopher Fitzgerald Barnum
Tamsin Carroll   Chairy Barnum
Aretha Ayeh   Joice Heath
Anna O'Byrne   Jenny Lind
Jack North   Tom Thumb
Rachael Archer  Ensemble
Jacquie Biggs   Swing
Nick Butcher   Ensemble
Sophie Camble  Ensemble
Jon-Scott Clark  Swing
Leon Cooke   Ensemble
Stefan Dermendjiev  Ensemble
Faith-Louise Francis  Swing
Chris Gage   Ensemble
A C Garcia   Ensemble
Trina Hill   Ensemble
Jack Horner   Ensemble
Erin Jameson   Ensemble
Jasmine Kerr   Ensemble
Mitch Leow   Swing
James O'Connell  Ensemble
Michaela O'Connor  Ensemble
Max Parker   Ensemble
Tom Scanlon   Ensemble
Lucie-Mae Sumner  Ensemble
Robert Tregoning  Ensemble


Timothy Sheader  Director
Liam Steel   Co-director and Choreographer
Andrew Wright  Co-choreographer
Scott Pask   Set Designer
Paul Wills   Costume Designer
William David Brohn  Orchestrations
Stephen Brooker  Musical Supervisor
Adam Rowe   Musical Director
Paule Constable  Lighting Designer
Mick Potter   Sound Designer
Vicki Amedume  Circus Consultant