Barnum​ Backers’ Audition


For the first time ever, a glimpse behind the scenes at the birth of a new musical comedy! Before the show could begin, production money for the budget had to be raised. And here is a unique opportunity to hear an actual backers’ audition in a fashionable East Side New York apartment with the actual songwriters performing the score! And as an added bonus, several songs were subsequently cut from the score and appear here for the first time in any medium.

The extensive liner notes are written by Coleman biographer Andy PropstCy Coleman already could boast of hit Broadway shows such as Little Me, Seesaw, I Love My Wife and On the Twentieth Century. After the great success of Barnum, he would write the scores for the Tony Award-winning Will Rogers Follies, The Life and others.

Michael Stewart is best known for his masterful work on the libretto of Hello, Dolly! He had begun his Broadway lyric-writing career along with Cy Coleman on the hit show I Love My Wife. The two writers teamed up for their greatest success as a team, Barnum. Listening to this rare, historic recording, imagine yourself sitting in a lavish apartment plied with drinks and hors d’oeuvres and entertained by this marvelous score. Would you have invested in the show? Taken a chance for a great success or an utter flop? Barnum eventually ran at the St. James Theatre for over 800 performances. It spawned a successful London production and countless regional and amateur productions since its opening night on April 30, 1980.


  1. Introduction
  2. Come Follow the Band
  3. There Is a Sucker Born Every Minute
  4. The Colors of My Life
  5. Now You See It, Now You Don’t
  6. One Brick at a Time
  7. I Like Your Style
  8. Bigger Isn’t Better
  9. Love Makes Such Fools of Us All
  10. Out There
  11. At Least I Tried
  12. The Prince of Humbug
  13. Black and White
  14. Join the Circus
  15. Thank God I’m Old

Other entries in the Harbinger Songwriters Series include All-American Backers’ AuditionHugh Martin: Hidden TreasuresNoel Coward Sings Sail Away and Other Coward Rarities, and Richard Rodgers: Command Performance.