Freaks & Geeks: Audition for Barnum! 

DO YOU act? Sing? Juggle? Unicycle? Walk on stilts? Are you an amateur aerial artist?

Seriously. There’s a place for you!

Asbury Memorial Theatre is hosting auditions for their spring production of Barnum, directed by Collective Face’s David I.L. Poole. A biographical musical based on the life of P.T. Barnum (Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey), Barnum is the perfect show for the whimsical Poole, who most recently brought The Little Prince to light in dazzling and imaginative fashion.

It’s undeniable that circus themes are très chic in theatre, film, and TV right now (no, I will not be watching American Horror Story: Freak Show with you, already had to bleach my eyeballs after seeing that terrifying clown in the trailer). While Asbury performed a condensed version of the musical as part of their God On Broadway series, Savannah hasn’t seen Barnum in full in 30 years.

“There’s all this consciousness of circus in the air,” Poole observes. “What’s interesting about Barnum is that it was a show about a circus before the big circus movement.”

Barnum is actually on tour in Great Britain right now, so it’s fresh in the minds of theatregoers.

“We thought, ‘Okay, why don’t we try to make a circus in a sanctuary?’” Poole laughs.

Asbury seeks talented individuals to tell a story that’s part period piece (set in the Victorian era), part life story, and part circus.

“Most people don’t realize that P.T. Barnum was really a sideshow purveyor,” says Poole. “He really was known for finding oddities and showcasing oddities—he even had this museum in Manhattan, The American Museum, that showcased oddities. He didn’t join the circus until later in his life...he joined the circus because of his business partner, Bailey. Ringling Brothers came into play many years after that.”

Puppeteers may be interested in auditioning, too.

We’re going to be using a lot of puppetry,” says Poole, who just introduced puppetry to Collective Face audiences via The Little Prince. “I’m off of one puppet show, why not go right to another?” he laughs.

Poole estimates a cast of 20-25 people for Barnum.

“The script calls for a mock museum or sideshow of Barnum’s, where you bring out circus performers, says Poole. “In a lot of ways, it’s a choose-your-own-adventure production.”

The two lead roles are for a male baritone aged between 27-50 and a female mezzo aged between 30-55. There are plenty of supporting and cameo roles for men and women alike. Actors should prepare a short musical theatre monologue and perform 15 bars of an upbeat musical theatre song.

If Poole’s tangible excitement is any indicator, Barnum is sure to be a blast, whether you’re behind the curtain or in the audience on March 13-15 and 20-22.

“I like working with the people at Asbury,” Poole says; he previously worked with them on Into The Woods. “That’s one of the reasons I said yes again.”


Barnum auditions

When: Thursday and Friday, Jan 8-9, callbacks Saturday, Jan. 10.

Where; Asbury Memorial Theatre


About The Author

Anna Chandler

Anna Chandler

Connect Savannah Arts & Entertainment Editor Anna Chandler started writing about music after growing hoarse from talking about it nonstop. Born in Tennessee and raised in South Carolina, she has been a proud Savannahian for 8 years. She sings & plays guitar & accordion in COEDS and Lovely Locks.

More by Anna Chandler


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