A movie that was 7 and 1/2 years in the making, has hit the big screen recently, led by Tony winner Hugh Jackman alongside stage and screen favorites that include Keala Settle and Michelle Williams, and written by none other than the Tony winning and Grammy nominated duo Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. That movie is The Greatest Showman. Detailing the life of P.T. Barnum in a whimsical method, it tells the story of the man who created showbiz in the most fitting method: a musical itself.
As the story of making the movie goes, Pasek and Paul began work on the songs for the movie when they were unknown. And as Jackman himself joked in an interview "They don't talk to me anymore". The music is breathtaking and beautiful, just as all their other work is. In a way that is unique to them, they bring a magical quality to the music that is helped along by the story to lift you into another world for two hours.
The cast of the film features several movie musical veterans, as well as Broadway favorites. Keala Settle is one of the most notable actors in the movie as the Bearded Lady. If you have not heard her song from the movie, "This is Me", stop what you are doing right now and go listen to it. It will not disappoint. Neither will the ballad "Never Enough" given to Jenny Lind in the movie, and sung by Loren Allred though the part is performed beautifully by Rebecca Ferguson. Hugh Jackman of course is a Tony winner for The Boy From Oz, and has hosted the Tony awards multiple times.
Zac Efron and Zendaya, both of whom rose to fame through Disney, play fictional characters Philip Carlyle and Anne Wheeler, respectively. Efron is clearly at home in a movie musical, as many of this generation know him for the High School Musical franchise. Zendaya is also has a musical background, having released her own music in her earlier years as a Disney Channel star, but in the past few years began to focus more on acting, a perfect choice as she is a fantastic actor. The pair's chemistry in undeniable in the song "Rewrite the Stars" which is worth a listen for anyone.
Since the release of the movie, talk has already started about the potential of it as a Broadway musical. While it is a big budget movie, it is clearly made for the stage, with the music landing comfortably between pop and classic Broadway, not unlike Dear Evan Hansen, another work of Pasek and Paul, that turned into one of the hottest tickets. If it becomes a hit, it certainly could be headed in that direction, but for now go and see it in theaters to appreciate the magic of the music, characters, and the story.