Review of BARNUM (Quest Theatre Ensemble) :


Friday, March 16 - 8 pm
Saturday, March 17 - 8 pm
Sunday, March 18 - 2 pm

Review by: Count & Countess Gregula

This past Friday night, the Count and I had the extreme pleasure
of experiencing Quest Theatre's production of Barnum.

Knowing what the subject matter is about, you would expect a circus-themed atmosphere and they did not disappoint, the theatre viewing area was decorated like a late 1800s era circus tent complete with red and white lights hanging from the ceiling. It gave the audience the feeling of going back to a bygone time. We got some popcorn from the concessions and it really felt like we were at the circus.

Jason Bowen as P.T. Barnum has 'joined the circus' along with Rachel Sparrow as Jenny Lind
and Erin Daly as Joice Heth with ensemble member Brett Taylor. (photo by Braxton Black)

The play itself tells the story of P.T. Barnum, starting with his early days of developing the fine art of trickery and flimflam or "humbug" as he often referred to it. Other historical references include his early sideshow acts, running the American Museum, the singer Jenny Lind and finally his partnership with James Bailey and the circus.

Jason Bowen as P.T. Barnum is surrounded by the Circus of Ensemble Members. (photo by Braxton Black)

The circus atmosphere was enhanced by a young man who was "The Ringmaster" who introduced the scenes of the play as it were an actual performance. He was entertaining and extremely multi-talented, even doing a juggling act for the audience.

David Hathway as The Ringmaster tames the horse parade. (photo by Braxton Black)

The performance was a very eclectic one, a blend of comedy, drama and musical.
It was not just a story of P.T. Barnum's business ventures, but also a love story between him and his wife. I am not sure how historically accurate this play was but it was very entertaining and we left that night with big smiles on our faces.

Jason Bowen as P.T. Barnum will no longer live in "Black & White" with Tamara White and Ensemble. (photo by Braxton Black)

Count and I give Barnum "Two Fangs" up and I highly recommend going
to see it this weekend as it will be their last performances of this play.
And that's no HUMBUG! ;-)

Details about
BARNUM (February 10 - March 18)
Location: The Blue Theater, 1609 West Gregory, Chicago, IL 60640
Phone: 312-458-0895
Admission: FREE (reservations recommended)
Cast: Jason Bowen (P.T. Barnum); Laura Sturm (Chairy Barnum); David Hathway (Ringmaster, Goldschmidt, Bailey, George Washington); Rachel Sparrow (Jenny Lind); Kyle Kuhlman (Tom Thumb); Erin Daly (Joice Heth); Tamara White (Blues Singer); Kelly Amshoff, John Gurdian, Jamal Howard, Michael Lewis, Amy Malcom, Amber Lee Olivier, Annie Sheehan, Brett Taylor (Ensemble)
Behind-the-Scenes: Andrew Park (director); Cy Coleman (music); Michael Stewart (lyrics)

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