The Finke Theatre in California will be showing its own version of the P.T. Barnum story Oct. 1 and Oct. 2 at 7 p.m.
Taking a cue from the film "The Greatest Showman" and its popularity, the version showing at the Finke will be titled "The World's Greatest Showman" and is set to feature an original script.
Production manager and Finke Theatre board member Andrew Korte said he wanted to introduce the arts to younger generations. With the help of the Finke Theatre board, Korte used his own company — 364 Productions — to help set up a play that could be shown at the location. After months of script writing, casting and rehearsals, Korte said he and his team are happy to present the now sold-out show to the community.
"Being on the board, we wanted to get some younger people involved with the theatre, and get some different faces in here," Korte said. "That includes the audience, as well, because some people I think don't even realize that there's events going on here, especially in younger generations. So we decided to do a musical (to bring the audience in)."
Korte said the theatre's season was already budgeted and the staff operating the location could not afford to book another production until next year. To save the Finke Theatre this charge, he rented out the location to have the production outside the regular season. All proceeds will be go back to the theatre, with Korte assuming the risk on his part.
Korte said this will not be an adaptation of the film but rather a close look into P.T. Barnum's life, as well as his partnership with James Anthony Bailey. While the production will be using karaoke tracks of the songs from the movie, Korte said this story is based on his original script.
"I wrote the script myself, assisted by Andrea Knipp and Ronnie Korte, who are my director and assistant director," Korte said. "We dive a little bit deeper into what most people don't knowwe really just focused on the story of P.T. Barnum. I think a lot of people don't even realize that there was a whole story there with Barnum and Bailey which later on became, of course, the Barnum and Bailey Circus."
Korte said while the show does appeal to younger audiences, the play has a full range of performers from across Moniteau County. The production's youngest performer is 8 years old, with others ranging between their teens, 20s, 30s and 50s. While there are a couple members of the cast that live a little further outside Moniteau County, Korte said the majority of players will be from the area.
"(I'm excited to) just showcase these kids and adults," Korte said. "They've worked so hard on all this and they've done a fantastic job. For the first two or three weeks, we spent a lot of time in an Elevate (Fitness) studio on Village Greenlearning the dance routines. They have just worked their butts off. (I'm eager) to kind of show everybody that this is the crazy raw talent that we have right here and in Moniteau County, Central Missouri."
Born and raised in California, Korte said he is glad to offer up something like this to his home town. He said he traveled for many years working in not only production but also in various other fields. With his actors, directors, board and production company by his side, Korte said he is looking forward to trying to spread the message of P.T. Barnum — that "the noblest of arts is that of making other people happy."
"A lot of work and time has been put into (the play)," Korte said. "Prepare to potentially have your socks knocked off because it's (going to) be something. I think everybody will really enjoy it. All the feedback we've got from the community, including the anticipation, has been great. We sold both shows and people just can't wait to get in here and see it. So I hope we do justice for them."