Jamaica Plain Actors to Star in Moonbox Productions’ Musical ‘Barnum’

Jamaica Plain actors Carla Martinez, Matthew Kossack and Alexa Wang will star in Moonbox Productions upcoming musical “Barnum” April 8 to 30 at the Boston Center for the Arts Calderwood Pavilion, Roberts Studio Theatre, located at 539 Tremont St. in Boston.

“Barnum” traces the career of P.T. Barnum, America’s greatest showman, from 1835 to 1881, the year he joined James A. Bailey to form “The Greatest Show On Earth.” Over the objections of his grounded and level-headed wife Charity, Barnum attempts to create a show in which the main attractions are freaks of society. Included in this mix are the oldest woman alive, the smallest man in the world, a glamorous Swedish opera singer and Jumbo the Elephant! Although the “prince of humbug” makes sacrifices along the way, “Barnum” tells a story about hope and determinism and how anyone can achieve their greatest goals if they dream big and bright enough and have the courage of their convictions.

Rather than hiring professional circus performers and acrobats for the production, Moonbox Productions will be partnering with Boston circus training group Esh Circus Arts to train its cast members to perform all the circus routines themselves. “We are excited to be pushing the boundaries of what’s expected from actors in the Boston area,” said Rachel Bertone, director and choreographer for Moonbox Productions.

Performances are Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. There will also be a performance Sunday, April 9, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $60/$50 ($25 for under 25 and $20 student rush half an hour prior to performances) available at www.bostontheatrescene.com/season/Barnum or by calling 617-933-8600.

Produced by Sharman Altshuler, and directed and choreographed by Rachel Bertone, with music direction by Dan Rodriguez, the cast of Moonbox Productions’ presentation of Barnum features Todd Yard (P.T. Barnum), Shonna Cirone* (Charity Barnum), Bransen Gates (Tom Thumb), Carla Martinez* (Joice Heth), Zaven Ovian (Ringmaster/James Bailey), Jessica Kundla (Jenny Lind), Matthew Kossack (Ensemble), Daniel Forest Sullivan (Ensemble), Dan Prior (Ensemble), Allison Russell (Ensemble), Joy Clark (Ensemble), Andrea Lyons (Ensemble) and Alexa Wang (Ensemble). (*Member of Actors’ Equity Association)

With each show, Moonbox Productions partners with a local nonprofit, giving them visibility on their website and in their promotional materials, as well as access to their audiences in order to raise awareness of their cause, create connections within the community, and increase the reach and impact of their work. For the production of “Barnum,” Moonbox will be partnering with ZUMIX, an East Boston-based nonprofit organization dedicated to positive youth development and building community through music and the arts. Their core belief is that music is the most powerful means of developing adolescent self-identity. ZUMIX’s award-winning music and creative technology programming is designed to equip youth with the tools necessary to reach their full potential, while creating a safe space for youth to explore who they are and who they want to be. Through community events, ZUMIX provides access to top-quality arts experiences for a low-income, underserved neighborhood.

“We are all so excited to be going ‘Under the Big Top’ with Barnum this spring,” said Sharman Altshuler, producer and artistic director for Moonbox Productions. “As Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus prepares to perform their last show ever, we are thrilled to be taking our audience back to where it all began with the story of P.T. Barnum.

“While our actors are hard at work developing their circus skills with a great local resource, Esh Circus Arts, we are also looking forward to partnering with a fabulous local nonprofit, ZUMIX. It’s an organization that’s making a deep impact on the youth of our community, and we can’t wait to help them get the word out,” said Altshuler.

The creative and design team include Sharman Altshuler (Producer), Rachel Bertone (Director & Choreographer), Dan Rodriguez (Music Director), Julie Marie Langevin (Production Manager), Emily Brown (Assistant Production Manager), Alexandra Jameson Shoemaker (Stage Manager), Amanda Ostrow (Assistant Stage Manager), Sammy Landau (Assistant Stage Manager), John Malinowski (Lighting Designer), Brian McCoy (Sound Design), Marian Bertone (Costume Design), Dave Lucey (Wardrobe/Dresser), Cameron McEachern (Set Designer), Lisa Charlotte Berg (Properties Master), Alex Brandt (Master Electrician), Brian Melcher (Technical Director) and Emily White (Dramaturg).