I can’t believe I hadn’t done a Music Break post on The Greatest Showman since it’s been released three years ago. I’ve been listening to its songs over and over, and it’s truly one of my absolute favorite musicals in the past decade.
- The musical grossed over $400 million worldwide against an $84 million budget.
- This film was a dream project for Hugh Jackman since 2009.
- Jackman did extensive research for the film–reading dozens of books about Barnum, long hours of dance rehearsals, and singing – lots and lots of singing! When asked what was the hardest movie to prepare for compared to Logan, Jackman actually said it was hands down this movie!
- The film features eleven new songs written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, the Academy Award winning lyricists of La La Land (2016).
- From early on in pre-production on the film, the decision was made to have the musical style to evoke more that of contemporary musical genres like pop and hip hop rather than that of a traditional, classical musical style that would accurately evoke the film’s 1800s setting. As Pasek said, “The choice was to express not just the characters’ feelings, but also how ahead of his time P.T. Barnum was. He wasn’t bound by the world in which he lived; he wanted to create one.”
Ok so here are 5 of my favorite songs featured in the film:
Right from the first moment I heard it, I just fell in love with this song. The scene is so beautiful but also heartbreaking as Charity is lamenting on her husband being away with the opera singer Jenny Lind and that success actually drives him away from their family.
This curtain scene is so exquisitely done… and oh so heartbreaking!
I LOVE Michelle Williams‘ singing voice! In an interview with New Zealand Herald, she said:
I find that singing and dancing is a direct path to joy. And I just wanted more of it, that’s why I wanted to make the film. Singing is natural for me. I don’t know if I’m the greatest in the world at it, but I just love it!
A Million Dreams
Though Ellis Rubin played young P.T. Barnum in the movie, it’s actually Ziv Zaifman who provided the singing voice for for this song which I think sounds fantastic. I love that in the second part of the song, it’s Hugh Jackman singing it as the adult Barnum, it adds such a wonderful dimension to the song.
Rewrite the Stars
One of my all-time favorite duet from a musical, perhaps beating Moulin Rouge!‘s Come What May (Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor) which was my fave for a long time. Zac Efron and Zendaya have a lovely chemistry and this duet as they’re swaying on a rope is such a showstopper scene that takes my breath away every time I watch it.
I read a bunch of articles how arduous it was for them to film the high-flying aerial stunts and the outtake video of them colliding mid-air. Props for the two actors and the entire filmmaking team for making the sequence look so effortless!
Rebecca Ferguson‘s voice was dubbed by Loren Allred. However, in order to get into the role, Ferguson insisted on singing the song in front of the extras while filming. She is actually Swedish, born in Stockholm, just like the character.
I love Ferguson’s passionate performance here, she absolutely sells me that she’s the greatest singer in the world. There’s also some intriguing intercuts in the scene depicting the tension in the relationship between Barnum and Charity, as well as Efron and Zendaya’s characters.
This Is Me
This is such a defiant, heartfelt anthem sung phenomenally by Keala Settle who played the the bearded lady Lettie Lutz. The rousing scene
According to Jackman, the film’s nine-year development process from conception to completion was, in part, due to studios’ unwillingness to take a risk on an original musical. What finally sold the deal at 20th Century Fox was this Oscar-nominated song This is Me, which had literally been written by Pasek and Paul during the two-hour flight to the studio meeting where the film was green-lit.
Hope you enjoy this Music Break. If you’ve seen The Greatest Showman, which song(s) is your favorite?