Movie musical about P T Barnum

Detail from the poster image for The Greatest Showman, starring Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron.


NOMINATED for three Golden Globe Awards – best picture (musical or comedy), best actor in a musical or comedy (Hugh Jackman) and best song (This is Me) – the eagerly awaited The Greatest Showman has been a while reaching the big screen.

Reportedly in the pipeline since 2009, and originally scheduled for release last December, the movie is due in South African cinemas from later this month. It is directed by Michael Gracey, an Australian film and advertisement director and visual effects artist.

The Greatest Showman is a contemporary musical about P T Barnum, an ambitious showman and entrepreneur, his founding the circus that became the famous travelling Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus, and the people who worked for him.

Zaf Efron, Michelle Williams and Zendaya are also featured in the film, which  is neither a remake of the Oscar-winning Big Top old movie, The Greatest Show on Earth, nor the stage musical Barnum, based on the same subject matter.

The original drama with music, made for an estimated $84million, features 11 contemporary songs  penned by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (better known as Pasek and Paul), in collaboration with John Debney and Joseph Trapanese.

Pasek and Paul wrote the songs for La La Land, and, reports Wikipedia, The Greatest Showman was not released last December, as planned, apparently because the producers did not want to clash with the release then of La La Land – which went on to clean up at the 2017 Oscars ceremony, taking a golden statuette for Pasek and Paul’s song, City of Stars.

Pasek and Paul also wrote the music for the popular musical TV series, Smash, and their work on the original stage musical, Dear Evan Hansen, won them Broadway’s Tony Award for best original score this year.

They are certainly on a roll as they have now also been roped in to write new songs for Disney’s live-action film remake (by director Guy Ritchie) of Aladdin, and for the planned live action adaptation of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.


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