In the words of P.T. Barnum (and as audiences will soon hear leading man Hugh Jackman sing): “Ladies and gents, this is the moment you’ve waited for.”
The Greatest Showman arrives in movie theatres nationwide December 20. Directed by Michael Gracey in his feature film debut, the movie from 20th Century Fox was a passion project that Gracey and Jackman had to fight to get made.
The movie features original songs by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (Dear Evan Hansen, La La Land, A Christmas Story) and a score by John Debney and Joseph Trapanese. Since the album released December 8, the pop score has been gaining buzz and multiple mashup covers have hit YouTube, including this one by Todrick Hall.
With a story by Jenny Bicks and a screenplay by Bicks and Bill Condon (Dreamgirls, Chicago), The Greatest Showman is the story of P.T. Barnum, the man who eventually invented the circus and the traveling show that became known as “The Greatest Show on Earth.” Starting as the son of an impoverished tailor, Barnum’s imagination pushed him to pursue a life of entertainment, achieving success and notoriety while bringing joy to thousands of crowds.
But The Greatest Showman is more a love story than a riff on Barnum’s life and career. He falls in love with Charity, played by Michelle Williams, at a young age and spends his days pushing to make magic in her world. There’s also a story of forbidden love between Phillip Carlyle, Barnum’s junior partner played by Zac Efron, and a black trapeze performer, Anne Wheeler played by Zendaya. Finally, there’s the story of self-love, as the outcasts—led by the Bearded Lady played by Keala Settle—urge the circus to embrace their uniqueness.
The movie has already been nominated for three Golden Globes: Best Picture – Musical or Comedy, Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for Jackman, and Best Original Song for the Settle-led anthem “This Is Me.”