Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Greatest Showman


I love musicals. Hugh Jackman is a terrifically talented singer and dancer. (I hope he’s making a damn fortune from that Wolverine nonsense.) P.T. Barnum is a great subject for a musical. The production design is outstanding. The singing and dancing from the rest of the cast is fine. The music is rousing. So I kept asking myself, why am I not having a better time?

I think it was that the music was maybe a little too rousing. Almost every number seemed to fall into that category we call a show-stopper. “I Ain’t Down Yet” from The Unsinkable Molly Brown. “I’m a Brass Band” from Sweet Charity. “Before the Parade Passes By” from Hello, Dolly! “Gonna Build a Mountain” from Stop the World – I want to Get Off. I’m on my way up, no one can keep me down, I gotta be me. It’s not that this show is bad. It isn’t. It’s just that it keeps striking the same note of optimism or determination. And there wasn’t a funny song. No “Gee, Officer Krupke” from West Side Story. No “You Gotta Get a Gimmick” from “Gypsy.” No “Popular” from Wicked. It just seemed out of balance. I’ll give it a marginal recommendation. Lee and my mother and sister liked it better than I did. Maybe I was just in a grumpy mood.