The Greatest Showman Was Originally Going To Be A Broadway Musical

Keala Settle singing in The Greatest Showman

There's usually one big movie musical a year, which often makes a ton of money at the box office, as its soundtrack is quickly adopted into pop culture. While all eyes are on how A Star Is Born and Mary Poppins Returns will perform during Awards Season, last year's musical blockbuster was The Greatest Showman. Starring Hugh Jackman as P.T. Barnum, the movie performed extremely well in theaters, and has remained relevant over the last calendar year through projects like the cover album.

Now separated from his iconic role as Wolverine in the X-Men franchise, Hugh Jackman is taking his musical talents on the road with a tour, including songs from The Greatest Showman. The actor recently spoke about the movie's development, including original plans to make it a stage musical. As Jackman tells it,

Obviously, Les Miz works theatrically. The Greatest Showman does as well. There was a point where Stacy Snyder, the head of Fox --- who also did Wicked --- said, 'Maybe we should go to Broadway first and then do the film.' Even in its early phases, it worked as a stage show. Seeing Keala Settle sing 'This Is Me' for the first time ever, she had just gotten the music the day before, and that video has been watched 30 million times online. It just works!

While the iconic musical numbers and visual affects are part of what made The Greatest Showman a new classic, it appears that the project could have originated on the stage. Does that mean a Broadway bound musical could be on the way? Fingers crossed.

Hugh Jackman's comments to THR might not come to a complete shock, considering the career of composers Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. The songwriting duo has its roots in theater, recently having a massive hit with Broadway's Dear Evan Hansen. Pasek and Paul also worked on projects like La La Land, so The Greatest Showman could have easily ended up on either film or the stage.

Ultimately, crafting The Greatest Showman into a movie allowed the story to be told in a grand scale that it couldn't on stage. It's a massive movie, with visual effects elevating the musical numbers and allowing zoo animals like Tigers and Elephants to appear digitally. It ultimately helps put you in the world of Barnum's circus, although a stage play doesn't seem out of the question for the future.

Hugh Jackman specifically referenced one Youtube video, where actress Keala Settle sang "This Is Me" for the first time in public. The video currently has 34 million views, and you can check it out below.

Pretty powerful stuff. And given how both Keala Settle and Hugh Jackman have a history on Broadway, the duo easily could have starred in The Greatest Showman, if it ended up a Broadway musical.

You can catch Hugh Jackman singing The Greatest Showman soundtrack on his tour. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your trips to the movies in the New year.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.