Just a few years before Michael Crawford created the title role in both the London and Broadway productions of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera, the stage and screen star enjoyed success in another musical, Cy Coleman's Barnum.
With music by Coleman, lyrics by Michael Stewart, and a book by Mark Bramble, Barnum made its West End debut in June 1981 at the London Palladium starring Crawford as the world's greatest showman.
The hit musical continued at the Palladium for 655 performances. Crawford would also star in the U.K. tour of Barnum, which included a West End revival at the Victoria Palace Theatre, which was recorded for TV and broadcast in 1986 by the BBC. That recording is currently available for streaming on Amazon Prime.
Jim Dale won a Tony Award for his performance in the title role in the original 1980 Broadway production. Glenn Close played Barnum's wife opposite Dale, and both are preserved on the original cast album. A London revival, directed by Gordon Greenberg, opened in December 2017 starring Marcus Brigstocke (Fully Committed, Spamalot) as P.T. Barnum and Laura Pitt-Pulford (Nell Gwynn, Parade) as Charity Barnum.
Barnum is set from 1835 through 1880, all over America and the major capitals of the world.