We get our musical mode on as we tackle this week, the tunes from “The Greatest Showman.” The movie is about Phineas Taylor “P.T.”
Barnum, an American showman, businessman and politician who founded the Barnum & Bailey Circus. P.T. (played by Hugh Jackman) was “a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation” that started show business.
Though we’ve seen him do something similar before, specifically in “Lés Miserables,” and while hosting the Oscars that one time, Jackman never ceases to surprise as he goes full-tilt musical. We have here not the light Disney-type music mind you (not that there’s anything wrong with it), but quite modern and pop. Jackman trades his Wolverine claws for a tophat and dabbles in Robbie Williams-sounding pop like on brilliant “Come Alive.” The music is brisk and energetic, the kind that never bores.
Take “The Other Side” on which Jackman trades verses with Zac Efron. The best parts still go to Jackman, though, whose inflections – call us daft – reminds a bit of Bowie. Not one to be outdone, Efron has the rising, pop-tinged number “Rewrite The Stars” also featuring rising singer-actress Zendaya.
“The Voice” alumni Loren Allred, who’s the singing voice of the beautiful Rebecca Ferguson, gets to show her diva-esque skills on “Never Enough.” Keala Settle, who plays the bearded female oddity, is a certified show stopper on climactic “This Is Me.” Settle is a Broadway actress and her number could very well be a future Oscar winner for Best Original Song.
Michelle Williams, who plays supportive wife to Jackman in the movie, gets her moment on the lovely ballad “Tightrope.” Pop artist Kesha (“Tik Tok”) also has her own incendiary version of “This Is Me” which is on the movie OST.
Oscar-winning lyricists Benj Pasek and Justin Paul of “La La Land” wrote the libretto with music composed by John Debney and Joseph Trapanese. Going by how “The Greatest Showman” was executed and received, it looks like this genre is well on its way to being a long affair in Tinseltown.