Dance in Pop Culture

The Greatest Showman Might Just Be Heading to Broadway

Hugh Jackman heads up a fantastic cast in The Greatest Showman—could he be coaxed into playing P.T. Barnum on Broadway? Photo by Niko Tavernise, Courtesy Polk & Co.

By the time the credits rolled on The Greatest Showman, I was absolutely convinced: This show is screaming to be a stage musical. A determinedly uplifting take on the life of P.T. Barnum (yes, the circus guy), played by Broadway alum/Hollywood A-lister Hugh Jackman, the movie musical is filled to bursting with ear-catching tunes by songwriting duo Benj Pasek and Justin Paul and endlessly entertaining choreography by Ashley Wallen.


After opening in December to a disappointing $8.8 million box office on opening weekend (Hollywood, if you're reading this, dance could totally use some of your funding), word-of-mouth and the aforementioned bound-to-get-stuck-in-your-head soundtrack has put the film on the road to becoming one of the most successful movie musicals of all time. And in the midst of the film's growing success, 20th Century Fox is talking about adapting The Greatest Showman into a Broadway musical, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Obviously, this is very, very, very early—the movie is still in theaters (with singalong screenings for those of you who already know the songs by heart), and getting any musical to the Great White Way is a process that takes years at best. (Though having a Billboard-chart-topping album by the duo behind last season's Broadway smash-hit Dear Evan Hansen certainly won't hurt.)

And in the meantime, we can dream about the eventual cast. Jackman, who was involved with this passion project from the beginning, could probably be coaxed into headlining the stage version. And if Zac Efron and Zendaya are too busy in Hollywood, how about Jeremy Jordan (who was involved in workshops for the film) and Denée Benton? Plus, we have a feeling there would be room for a lot of dancers.

Here's hoping that 1) It happens, and 2) The process of getting it to Broadway is shorter than the nearly-eight years it took for The Greatest Showman to land in theaters.

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Rant & Rave
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"The ABT Women's Movement takes inspiration from the groundbreaking female choreographers who have left a lasting impact on ABT's legacy, including Agnes de Mille and Twyla Tharp," said artistic director Kevin McKenzie in a press release.

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Dance in Pop Culture
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We all know that the general population's knowledge of ballet is sometimes...a bit skewed. (See: people touching their fingertips to the top of their head, and Kendall Jenner hopping around at the barre.)

Would your average Joe know how to do ballet's most basic step: a plié? Or, more to the point, even know what it is?

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Who says you need fancy equipment to make a festival-worthy dance film? Right now, two New York City–based dance film festivals are calling for aspiring filmmakers to show their stuff—and you don't need anything more cumbersome than a smartphone to get in on the action.

Here's everything you need to know about how to submit:

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When Lisset Santander bourréed onstage as Myrtha in BalletMet's Giselle this past February, her consummate portrayal of the Queen of the Wilis was marked by steely grace and litheness. The former Cuban National Ballet dancer had defected to the U.S. at 21, and after two years with the Ohio company, she's now closer to the dance career she says she always wanted: one of limitless possibilities.

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For 17 years, James Samson has been the model Paul Taylor dancer. There is something fundamentally decent about his stage persona. He's a tall dancer—six feet—but never imposes himself. He's muscular, but gentle. And when he moves, it is his humanity that shines through, even more than his technique.

But all dancing careers come to an end, and James Samson's is no exception; now 43, he'll be retiring in August, after a final performance at the Teatro Romano in Verona, where he'll be dancing in Cloven Kingdom, Piazzolla Caldera and Promethean Fire.

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When an anonymous letter accused former New York City Ballet leader Peter Martins of sexual harassment last year, it felt like what had long been an open secret—the prevalence of harassment in the dance world—was finally coming to the surface. But the momentum of the #MeToo movement, at least in dance, has since died down.

Martins has retired, though an investigation did not corroborate any of the claims against him. He and former American Ballet Theatre star Marcelo Gomes, who suddenly resigned in December, were the only cases to make national headlines in the U.S. We've barely scratched the surface of the dance world's harassment problem.

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