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Joyce Jefferson
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SIC Theatre presents Barnum: The Musical April 22-24


Kyle Upchurch of Benton, as Barnum, rehearses some amazing talents to be performed in the upcoming production of Barnum: The Musical at Southeastern Illinois College.

Southeastern Illinois College Theatre will be performing Barnum: The Musical  April 22 and 23 at 7 p.m., and April 24 at 2 p.m. in the George T. Dennis Visual and Performing Arts Center. This musical is directed by SIC’s director of theatre and co-division chair of humanities, Allan Kimball.

This musical traces the career of America’s greatest showman, P.T. Barnum played by Kyle Upchurch of Benton.

“This show is very high energy,” said Upchurch. “The cast is very talented and the singing is amazing. You will see everything from walking on a tight rope to juggling to magic tricks. Barnum is just a fun musical to go see.”

In the musical, P.T. Barnum uses spectacle and hype to promote his exhibits, and Barnum’s wife, Charity, played by Hannah Owen of Harrisburg, aims to keep him grounded. Barnum’s main attractions include the oldest woman alive, Joice Heth, played by Shay Wood of Shawneetown and Tom Thumb, played by Cassandra Watkins of Harrisburg. Barnum then becomes the manager of famous Swedish opera singer, Jenny Lind, played by Reagan Gray of Eldorado and goes on tour with her, leaving his wife behind. After returning home, a failing political career and the death of a loved one, James A. Bailey, played by Jayden Roper of Harrisburg, offers him a chance to join the circus.

“This is a show for kids of all ages,” said Kimball. “This show follows P.T. Barnum from 1835 to the year he joined James A. Bailey to form ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’.  If you have ever been to the circus, or wish you had, this will be an evening filled with the sights and wonders that were the hallmark of P. T. Barnum.”

This show boasts a cast of 28 with set design by Aaron McRoy of Harrisburg, who is also the stage manager. Music Director the show is Cory Garmane and art work is by Sara DeNeal and the SIC Art classes. Lighting design is by Kyle Upchurch, and costumes will be designed by Janet Hart and Gareth York. John Hart of Hart’s Music in Harrisburg will once again provide the sound equipment.

Along with the musical, SIC is hosting an event for children that fits the theme of Barnum.

Under the Big Top, a circus event will be held Saturday, April 23 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Harry L. Crisp Student Center Cafeteria. The cost is $5 per person and will include a magic show with Chris Egelston at 11 a.m., games, prizes and more.  Upon registration for this event, tickets to Barnum: the Musical can be purchased at a discounted rate of $5 for any showing. Registration is due by Friday, April 15.

The Friday and Saturday performances of Barnum: The Musical will begin at 7 p.m., and Sunday’s performance will begin at 2 p.m. All performances will be in the George T. Dennis Visual and Performing Arts Center. Seating is reserved. General admission is $10.  Cost for students, staff, and seniors is $8.  Registration for Under the Big Top and tickets to performances may be purchased by calling 618-252-5400, ext. 2486 or 2487, or 618-841-4649.