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What a Circus: Groves Students Premiere 'Barnum' Saturday

Birmingham students are bringing the 'greatest show on Earth' to the Groves High School stage this weekend and next.

High school theater season is upon us and this weekend, the theater students from the Groves High School Performing Arts Company are bringing the circus to Birmingham.

Groves premieres the Tony Award-winning musical Barnum this Saturday at the Groves auditorium, with performances featuring more than 75 cast members as singing and dancing clowns, trapeze artists, jugglers and unicyclists. The entire Groves High School marching band also makes an appearance, as does a dancing dog.

Barnum tells the story of one of America's greatest businessman, conman and entertainer, P.T. Barnum — the founder of the circus that became the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

Playing the role of Barnum is Groves senior Nathan Willey.

"Playing Barnum is a true gift for me," said Willey. "He is such a fun character. As he says himeself, he wants to 'splash out color for the world to see.'"

The show also chronicles the stories of real-life circus personalities Jenny Lind, a Swedish opera singer; General Tom Thumb, the "smallest man in the world"; and Joice Heth, the oldest woman in the world.

The play is directed by Groves theater teacher, John Rutherford, who notes while audiences may be less familiar with Barnum, they will still appreciate its liveliness, creativity and heart.

If you go:

  • Where: Groves High School
  • When: 7 p.m. Nov. 3, 9, 10 and 2:30 p.m. Nov. 4, 11
  • Cost: Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students. Advanced tickets can be purchased at the Groves main office during regular school hours. 

Will you be at the show? Upload your picture of Barnum to this article and we'll feature them on Patch!

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