20-Day Countdown! The Top 20 Tony Performances of My Lifetime: #19: BARNUM, 1980

Nineteen days until the Tony Awards!  We are at #19 on my 20-day Countdown of the Top 20 Tony Performances of My Lifetime.

I'm going to take you back to the year I was born with one fantastic, raucous ride of a musical, as sneaking in at #19 is the back-to-back performance of “Come Follow the Band" and “There is a Sucker Born Ev'ry Minute" from the fabulous original Broadway cast of Barnum.  There is nothing quite like the spectacle of this show, and nothing quite like its original cast, consisting of Jim Dale, Glenn Close, and Terrence Mann.

The show chronicles the life of circus-creator P. T. Barnum from 1835 through 1880, and combines elements of musical theater with elements of the circus, including incredible performances by trapeze artists, jugglers, and clowns and depictions of real-life personalities like Tom Thumb.  The show ran for 854 performances, won three Tony Awards (including Jim Dale for Best Actor in a Musical), and is still one of my favorite get-up-and-go musicals ever written.  Watch how fun it is for the audience to see the band march down the aisle; and man, oh, man, just wait until Jim Dale knocks it out of the park with his stellar performance of the no-time-to-breathe “Sucker" number.  I've seen Barnum in theaters twice.  I've NEVER seen a Phineas Taylor Barnum quite like Jim Dale!

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