The Greatest Showman Sing Along

What a fun evening. My sister Linda and I attended a special showing of The Greatest Showman film at the Route 66 Movie Theater in Webb City, Missouri. This was my 6th viewing of the movie, but tonight I got to do something that I’ve wanted to do since The Greatest Showman opened…I got to belt out the songs.

The Greatest Showman Sing Along

I’ve posted previously about the storyline and characters of The Greatest Showman, and I’ve written several times about how moving and inspiring the songs are, for this is a musical. Tonight I’m sharing about the incredibly powerful experience of watching a film and singing enthusiastically with 100 other people who love this movie as much as I do.

The Route 66 Movie Theater, located at 24 S. Main Street in Webb City, provided the perfect setting for a sing along. This charming one screen theater strives to provide a family friendly atmosphere and family friendly pricing on admission and concessions. They offer today’s newest releases at yesterday’s pricing, with most tickets selling for around $7.00.

The Greatest Showman Sing Along

Linda and I arrived early to nab seats located in the middle of the theater and fairly close to the screen. Walking in we spied a group of teens in costume. I knew we were in for an amazing evening!

As the theater filled, a young man dressed as the showman himself, PT Barnum, took the stage to warm up the audience and encourage us all to sing.

The Greatest Showman Sing Along

The lights dimmed, the obligatory previews played, and then the movie began, which immediately includes an opening song. Not familiar with the lyrics? Not a problem! As the words to the songs appear at the bottom of the screen, a red top hat bounces over the words. People weren’t shy. They all joined in, much to my delight.

And that young man dressed as Barnum remained on the stage during the opening song, perfectly mimicking Hugh Jackman’s dance moves. It was awesome and the audience responded with whoops and wild applause. At least one other time this talented performer acted out a scene as it played on the big screen. The rest of the time he roamed about the theater, singing and encouraging others in their efforts. At one point, he plopped down next to Linda and me for a few minutes, singing with us.

The Greatest Showman Sing Along See the figure in the lower left, his hat highlighted against the screen? He contributed to the enjoyment of this fun experience.

Six times I’ve watched The Greatest Showman, and I’ve loved it every time. Apparently there are many people who feel the same way. This musical has become one of the “leggiest” movies in history.

In the film industry, a movie has “legs” when its box office trajectory defies a normal pattern by running longer and with greater success than expected. Typically films perform strongest in their first and second weeks, and maybe for a couple of weeks beyond that, then attendance falls off as audiences switch to newer releases. A leggy movie doesn’t adhere to that pattern, continuing to find success long after its opening weekend, primarily because of word of mouth and repeat attendance.

The Greatest Showman Sing Along

In spite of a low opening weekend, at Christmas time last year, and less than favorable critic reviews, The Greatest Showman has done incredibly well, winning the appreciation of audiences around the globe, its soundtrack topping the music charts for weeks. This Is Me, the film’s core musical piece, won a Golden Globe for best song and was nominated for an Oscar.

I get it. This is a feel good movie, uplifting and boisterous, with important messages about living as the person you are created to be, and accepting others as they are. The Greatest Showman promotes family, love, friendship, community and acceptance. And the songs are so catchy, so fun, that you can’t help but want to sing them.

Which is why a sing along is the perfect way to enjoy this film. You know you want to join in and now you can…for two more evenings. Grab a ticket, bring a friend, prepare to sing your hearts out, at Route 66 Movie Theater. The show starts each evening at 6:30.

This is the greatest show! Truly.

The Greatest Showman Sing Along

A Soundtrack For My Life

I have always loved movie soundtracks. The music and songs transport me back into a film I have enjoyed. I can see again, in my mind’s eye, the scenes unfolding as the music plays.

I have been captivated and inspired by a recent soundtrack from The Greatest Showman. One of its songs, This is Me, is my song for 2018. The truth is, I love every song on that lively soundtrack. Each one brings to mind the corresponding scenes from the film…and I can personally relate to the lyrics.

I realized a few days ago, as I was driving and listening to The Greatest Showman for the 50th time, that this soundtrack could actually be my soundtrack. The songs accurately portray my own life journey. I thought it would be fun to tell my story, through The Greatest Showman song lyrics.

A Soundtrack For My Life

I’ll share the song title, and the lyrics from that piece that I relate to, and then a few explanatory sentences to tie it all together.

A Million Dreams

I close my eyes and I can see the world that’s waiting up for me, that I call my own. Through the dark, through the door, through where no one’s been before, but it feels like home. Because every night I lie in bed, the brightest colors fill my head, a million dreams are keeping me awake. I think of what the world could be, a vision of the one I see. A million dreams is all it’s gonna to take. A million dreams for the world we’re gonna to make.

This song captures my childhood well. I’ve had big, vivid dreams since I was a toddler. And I literally see colors when I close my eyes. I’ve come to make associations with those colors. For me they are a form of receiving info. When I felt afraid as a child, I created worlds in my imagination to escape into. Far from just childish make believe, these other realities taught me to problem solve and live as the person I was becoming.

You can say, you can say it all sounds crazy. You can say, you can say I’ve lost my mind. I don’t care, I don’t care so call me crazy. I can live in a world that I design.

A Soundtrack For My Life Me as a wee girl, with a HUGE imagination. This was my “don’t mess with me” look.

Come Alive

Sun is up and the color’s blinding, take the world and redefine it. Leave behind your narrow mind. You’ll never be the same. Come alive, come alive, go and light your light, let it burn so bright. Reaching up to the sky,and it’s open wide. You’re electrified.

As I entered my late teens, I began to get a better sense of who I was becoming. Fear still overshadowed my life, but I was awakening to the idea of redefining my perceptions of the world. I also knew, instinctively, that it was possible to leave behind the fearfulness that had held me captive and that my life, truly would not be the same. I feel such strong emotions around the words Come alive, come alive, go and light your light, let it burn so bright. The desire was within me to do so. It would take many more years before I fully accepted that Divine invitation.

The Other Side

But you would finally live a little, finally laugh a little. Just let me give you the freedom to dream and it’ll wake you up and cure your aching, take your walls and start ’em breaking. Now that’s a deal that seems worth taking, but I guess I’ll leave that up to you.

The rest of the songs from this amazing soundtrack capture my adult years. These lyrics from The Other Side represent the continual invitation that was offered to me, to live, to laugh, to live in freedom, freedom from my fears, freedom from the walled up prison I built for myself, to keep me safe. Of course I wasn’t really safe. I was closed down, my heart and emotions barricaded behind those thick walls. The invitation was always from the Divine, and it never stopped. I reached a point in my life where the hunger to learn more, embrace life more and find out what I could do outweighed a life of safety. My questions drew me cautiously forward. The walls began breaking.

A Soundtrack For My Life

Never Enough

I’m trying to hold my breath, let it stay this way, can’t let this moment end. You set off a dream with me. Getting louder now. Can you hear it echoing?

It was a scary process, leaving behind the box that I had put myself in. Life began to change rapidly for me. The Dream Giver had set me on a path that led I knew not where. And one of my first big lessons was, it’s a solitary journey, that starts within and moves outward. I had family and friends, but it was my time of growing, and discovering. I had to be okay with feeling alone, knowing that I could pour my heart out to El-le (my personal name for God). I learned as well that I had to love myself, care for myself, be my own best friend, because looking for love, attention, fame or wealth from anyone else would never feel like enough.

All the shine of a thousand spotlights, all the stars we steal from the night sky, will never be enough, never be enough. Towers of gold are still too little, these hands could hold the world but it’ll never be enough, never be enough.

This is Me

This is brave, this is proof, this is who I’m meant to be, this is me. Look out ’cause here I come. And I’m marching on to the beat I drum. I’m not scared to be seen, I make no apologies, this is me.

I’ve written about how much I appreciate this song. It is the core piece in the movie and it is my heart cry. This is where I currently am in my journey. Fear has been banished. I am free to be who I am meant to be. I am marching on to the beat I drum. This is me. This is ME! I’m not scared to be me and I’ve done much inner work to get here.

A Soundtrack For My Life

Rewrite the Stars

It’s up to you, and it’s up to me, no one can say what we get to be. So why don’t we rewrite the stars? Maybe the world could be ours tonight.

This is my invitation to others. Everyone has a different journey, and yet the invitation to live, to laugh, to embrace who they are, is offered to all. It’s up to you, as it was up to me, to accept the invite. We really do get to rewrite the stars and change our lives.

Tightrope

Some people long for a life that is simple and planned, tied with a ribbon. Some people won’t sail the sea ’cause they’re safer on land, to follow what’s written. But I’d follow you to the great unknown…

There’s nothing wrong with a simple life, unless it’s chosen out of fear. I remind myself often that I choose adventure over a careful life. I just recently have begun to travel more, something I’ve dreamed of since childhood. I am willing to follow El-le into the great unknown, rather than stay safely in a place of following someone else’s rules. And as the song says, choosing such a life can feel like walking a tightrope, but oh the view from that place!

We’re walking the tightrope never sure, never know how far we could fall. But it’s all an adventure that comes with a breathtaking view.

From Now On

What’s waited till tomorrow starts tonight, it starts tonight. Let this promise in me start, like an anthem in my heart, from now on, from now on. And we shall go back home, and we shall go back home, home again.

This song reminds me that I have made a promise, a commitment, to myself and to others, that this is me, this is my life, from now on. It is the anthem in my heart. The words about going back home make me think of Scotland, my ancestral home, and they remind me that earth is not my permanent home. I shall return someday to the Divine, from whence I came.

A Soundtrack For My Life

The Greatest Show

It’s everything you ever want. It’s everything you ever need. And it’s here right in front of you.
This is where you wanna be.

I moved the film’s opening song to the end, because it is done as a reprisal at the conclusion of the movie. It takes the main character full circle, from his dreams to the fulfillment of them.

I can say, with gratitude, that so many of my childhood dreams have become reality. In fact, I am living in a place that is beyond what I could imagine as a little girl. Life is beautiful. It’s everything I ever wanted. It’s everything I need, just as it is. It’s all right here in front of me. I am exactly where I need to be and want to be. The path stretches out ahead of me and disappears around a bend. I can’t see very far ahead. I don’t need to. I just have to keep walking, keep learning, keep listening to the Dream Giver’s voice, and enjoy the journey.

This is the greatest show. It’s called Life.

A Soundtrack For My Life

A Million Dreams

I woke up this morning, just before dawn, from the most amazing dream. It was the type that stays with me, makes me smile and causes deeper reflection. My Morning Pages were devoted to exploring my thoughts around the dream, through writing.

Coupled with the vivid dream I had is the fact that the song A Million Dreams, from The Greatest Showman film, has been on repeat in my brain for at least a week. I wake up singing it, I belt out the chorus while in the shower, I break into spontaneous song with those lyrics multiple times a day.

There is a connection.

A Million Dreams

In the dream, I was in Africa. A family consisting of a dad, mom and seven year old daughter had asked me to accompany them on this trip. The opportunity came out of the blue. I didn’t know this family, yet I said yes. I was going along to help out with the little girl, who was delightful, while her parents took care of some business.

We were bicycling down a dusty road, toward a small community of simply built houses. The air was shimmering with golden heat. And a herd of zebras was running alongside the road. I laughed from the sheer pleasure of the magical experience. When we arrived at the house we were staying in, I realized that I had left on this trip so quickly that I had not told my family where I was. I began sending text messages to my kids and my sisters and my mom, marveling that I was here in Africa and enjoying these beautiful experiences.

A Million Dreams

This is the part of the dream that I loved. In the messages I was sending, I explained how I had been open to more travel opportunities and had released expectations, trusting the Divine to provide…and then this grab-your-passport-let’s-go invitation arrived. I felt such joy, such gratitude, which was perhaps more significant than anything else in the dream.

Do you know what woke me up, pulling me out of that gorgeous dream? My practical brain inserted itself as I hit “send” on the group messages. I realized with a pang that I had not notified my cell phone provider that I was leaving the country!

I appreciate that my dreams seem to indicate how my life is shifting and changing, from my heart and soul outward. As I learn and grow, my vivid dreams reflect that. I realized this truth a few years ago when the nightmares I had had all my life began to change. As I faced my fears and embraced myself completely, I took control of my night terrors, saying “No!” or “Stop!” during the dreams. And the scary stuff did stop. I quit having nightmares completely.

A Million Dreams

Instead, tracking slightly ahead of reality, I began to dream of wonderful adventures, abundance, writing, and more recently, of travel. I am shifting, I am reaching out, I am handing all my hopes and dreams over to the Divine, to the Dream Giver, and my dreams are exploding outward into the manifestations of those heart desires.

My dream last night shows me I’m in an excellent place in my life journey. I am open to receive, without making demands or setting up expectations. The words from The Greatest Showman’s A Million Dreams came to mind, as I wrote about the dream.

I close my eyes and I can see/ The world that’s waiting up for me/ That I call my own./ Through the dark, through the door/ Through where no one’s gone before/ But it feels like home.

They can say, they can say it all sounds crazy/ They can say, they can say I’ve lost my mind./ I don’t care, I don’t care, so call me crazy./ We can live in a world that we design.

Cause every night I lie in bed/ The brightest colors fill my head/ A million dreams are keeping me awake./ I think of what the world could be/ A vision of the one I see/ A million dreams is all it’s gonna take/ A million dreams for the world we’re gonna make.

A Million Dreams

That song represents my life, from earliest childhood until now. To combat the fears I had as a child, I learned to create vivid dreams in my mind, to escape into. Every night I lie in bed, the brightest colors fill my head. That was true as a child and still true as an adult. I created with the brightest lights and colors that I could conjure. I totally understand the thinking of what the world could be, a vision of the one I see part of the song. I create a vision, in my heart and mind. And amazingly, that dream often becomes reality.

I am grateful for my ability to cast visions and create worlds. I appreciate that my dreams give me a glimpse into my deepest heart and that my subconscious provides this feedback about where I am on my journey. I am ever changing, ever growing, and my dreams show me I am on the right path.

I’m excited that I am dreaming about traveling. I know that means that travel is going to be a key part of my near future. I don’t think it’s going to take a million dreams for the world I’m gonna make to appear. But if it does, that’s okay. I’ll keep dreaming…of the world I see when I close my eyes…and of the world I see when I’m dreaming with my eyes wide open.

A Million Dreams

For We Are Glorious

I woke up this morning, thinking about the word “glorious”. The last few days, I have used my Morning Pages time, my free writing, to explore my thoughts about the song This is Me, from the film The Greatest Showman, line by line.

Since my thoughts seemed focused there, I wondered if I would be writing about being glorious today. In answer to my unspoken question, I saw, within a span of three minutes, the word “glorious” and the word “glory”. I took that as a resounding yes!

In the movie Keala Settle wonderfully portrays Lettie, the bearded lady at PT Barnum’s circus. This film tells Barnum’s story, however, we witness Lettie’s transformation as well. Her beard, the thing that makes her different, doesn’t go away. But Lettie’s fear and shame do. We see her beauty shine forth as she embraces who she is and accepts herself wholeheartedly. She becomes the voice for the group, in many ways.

And speaking of voice, she can sing! Lettie has a rich, beautiful voice and with Barnum, she becomes a star. The crowds don’t laugh at her. They cheer and applaud, wildly.

At the heart of The Greatest Showman is the message that we all have differences. That’s what makes us unique. Lettie’s song, This is Me, is so powerful because it is not only her anthem, it’s the heart cry of all of us.

The lyrics that caught my own heart over the past three days are these:

I won’t let them break me down to dust, I know that there’s a place for us. For we are glorious.

Lettie is referring to the words and actions of others, and not letting those people break her down to dust. Dust makes me think of dirt…as in nothing. We have sad expressions about feeling like dirt or being dumb as dirt. We equate dirt with nothingness, something we wipe off our shoes and forget. The words, actions, and opinions of others can make us feel that worthless. I think symbolically dust represents death as well, as in “to dust you shall return”. Death can come to our spirits, through the taunts and jeers of others, long before it claims our bodies.

Lettie continues singing that she knows there’s a place for us, including here her new family group, called oddities by some. There is room for everyone, a place for each of us with our unique gifts and perspectives. We need our differences. The world needs them, needs us all, with our brilliant quirks and our creative talents.

For we are glorious.

I love that choice of words. Glorious. Glory. From the Latin word gloria. High renown or honor, magnificence or great beauty, sacredness. As a verb, to take pride or pleasure in.

For we are glorious, Lettie sings. She knows. We are glorious. We are magnificent. We are full of beauty. We are sacred. See our glory. Take pride and pleasure in who we are, because we do.

This is us…this is me. And we are glorious.

This is the shining truth in Lettie’s song. It’s why this song is affecting people at such a deep level. It’s why This is Me is nominated for an Oscar and why it became my song for 2018.

Shortly after those words, Lettie sings, I am brave, I am bruised, I am who I’m meant to be.

I thought about what it means to be brave. Courage is another word for brave. And that word comes from the Latin word cor, meaning heart. Courage is a heart thing, not strong actions or being completely fearless. It is a surety, born in our core.

BrenĂ© Brown says that the original definition of courage was “to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart”.

That’s what Lettie has learned. She knows, in her heart, at her core, who she is. She is telling her story, from that place of courage, even though she has been bruised, marked, by life. She isn’t willing to hide herself away any more. She can sing, with breathtaking beauty and honesty, This is me…and I am glorious.

I want to take this truth in. I want to incubate it for a while. And then let it be born fully in me. There are so many ways to hide who we are. So many ways to feel shame over who we are. So many ways to be bruised. Courage is being bruised and afraid and allowing who you are to shine, differences and all.

My courage, your courage, telling our stories from whole hearts, allows others to do the same. What an amazing ripple of change such courage sends out into the world. We can do it. For we are glorious.

Never Enough

My love for The Greatest Showman movie and soundtrack continues. I play my favorite song, This is Me, every day, and I am uplifted by it each time I listen to it. It moves me and empowers me to live my life boldly, as me.

There is another song on the soundtrack that has captured me as well. Lately I listen to Never Enough and then follow it immediately by This is Me.

This beautiful song is performed by Loren Allred, who provides the singing voice for actress Rebecca Ferguson, who in turn portrays Jenny Lind in the movie. Never Enough makes me feel sad. I have thought about why the song evokes these feelings in me, for several weeks. I’m ready to unpack my thoughts about it tonight.

This film character is based on a real life woman named Jenny Lind. Jenny was a Swedish opera singer whose incredibly beautiful voice earned her the title of The Swedish Nightingale. She was one of the most highly regarded singers in the 19th century, and performed across Europe.

The poster PT Barnum made, promoting Jenny Lind.

She did indeed accept an invitation from PT Barnum, in 1850, to tour the United States, performing in 93 concerts for him. She so impressed American audiences that many shows sold out, and the term Lind Mania was coined.

In The Greatest Showman musical, Jenny is portrayed in all of her glory. She is beautiful and extremely talented. Her voices brings the audience to tears, and to their feet, in appreciation. And, in my opinion, she is the most unhappy character in the story.

Here are the lyrics to her signature song (from the movie):

Never Alone

I’m trying to hold my breath

Let it stay this way

Can’t let this moment end

You set off a dream with me

Getting louder now

Can you hear it echoing?

Take my hand

Will you share this with me?

‘Cause Darling without you…

All the shine of a thousand spotlights

All the stars we steal from the nightsky

Will never be enough

Never be enough

Towers of gold are still too little

These hands could hold the world but it’ll

Never be enough

Never be enough

For me

Never, never

Never, never

Never, for me

For me

Never enough

Never enough

Never enough

For me

For me

For me

Watch the video HERE

This song has haunted me. This gorgeous woman, with a voice that brought her fame and fortune, sings from the depth of her heart about life never being enough. It was more than an expression of discontentment. Jenny (in this portrayal) is crying out for someone to share the life she is creating. Without someone to experience it with her, “All the shine of a thousand spotlights (fame), all the stars we steal from the night sky (potential) will never be enough…never be enough. Towers of gold (fortune) are still too little. These hands could hold the world (everything there is) and it’ll never be enough…never be enough.

I can ache for what she feels. But even more, I can identify with it. We all can, which is the appeal of the song. I can especially relate to the opening lyrics, “I’m trying to hold my breath. Let it stay this way, can’t let this moment end.” How often I have wanted to hold onto a moment, feeling the love and security, acceptance and appreciation within it.

However, I have learned. I have learned that holding on to a moment prevents me from noticing and fully experiencing the next moment. It becomes a struggle to maintain and control what I have, fearing if I let it go, let it pass, there won’t be anything more that takes my breath away.

This song makes me sad, because it reminds me of old beliefs that I have had. The reality is that nothing in this world is ever enough, if I am looking for fulfillment and happiness outside of myself. And yet, we search and search and search. Fame, fortune, dreams, desires…and a person to share it all with…is never enough, until we discover who we are and find our own happiness within. Then…we have enough. Then…we can share a life with another without attempting to get what we feel we so desperately need, from them.

In The Greatest Showman, we never see Jenny Lind find what she is searching for. There is a sadness that clings to her, and possibly fuels her great passion as she sings. Contrast her to Lettie Lutz, known as the bearded lady. Lettie has hidden herself away for most of her life. But she discovers who she is. She finds her voice, which is passionate and rich as well. She finds what she is looking for…herself…and her transformation is beautiful and powerful.

The segment of this song that speaks most deeply to me is this part…“You set off a dream with me, getting louder now, can you hear it echoing?” Jenny directs the words toward Barnum, as the creator of this new dream she is experiencing. These lyrics remind me that a couple of years ago, I recognized the voice of the Dream Giver, who was calling to me, inviting me, from just around the river bend. It was an invitation to surrender, to give up trying to control life and release myself to its flow. It was an invitation that ultimately took me deeper within myself, and connected me more strongly to the Divine. That part of the song reminds me that like Lettie, I have found what I was searching for. I found myself.

Two very different songs, Never Enough and This is Me. I will be cheering for the latter song next month as it is performed at the Academy Awards. I hope it wins Best Song in a Motion Picture. I have, however, come to appreciate Never Enough. It reminds me of how far I have come. It is enough. I am enough.

This is Me

I love movie soundtracks. They are one of my favorite music genres. If a film captures my heart, then the musical score accompanying that movie has the power to instantly transport me back into the story. For that reason, I have a tendency to play a soundtrack over…and over…and over, just as I watch a compelling movie multiple times.

Often there is a song within that soundtrack that arrests me for reasons of its own. Beyond taking me back into the film, it usually has a powerful message that resonates with me or cracks open my heart. That song, within the amazing The Greatest Showman soundtrack, is This is Me.

Written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, this song is performed by Keala Settle, who portrays Lettie Lutz in the movie. Lettie is considered an oddity by her family and work colleagues. She has a full, luxurious beard. The term “bearded lady” doesn’t cut it at all in describing this amazing woman. She has an incredible voice, and she uses it for more than singing. Lettie becomes the spokesperson for P.T. Barnum’s group of unique performers. She is nurturing. She is brave. She is beautiful. In the course of this film, she comes into her power and glory, fully.

The lyrics to This is Me reflect Lettie’s journey.

This is Me

[Verse 1]

I am not a stranger to the dark

Hide away, they say

‘Cause we don’t want your broken parts.

I’ve learned to be ashamed of all my scars.

Run away, they say

No one’ll love you as you are.

[Pre-Chorus]

But I won’t let them break me down to dust.

I know that there’s a place for us.

For we are glorious.

[Chorus]

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down. I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out.

I am brave, I am bruised

I am who I’m meant to be, this is me.

Look out ’cause here I come.

And I’m marching on to the beat I drum.

I’m not scared to be seen

I make no apologies, this is me.

[Verse 2]

Another round of bullets hits my skin.

Well, fire away ’cause today, I won’t let the shame sink in.

We are bursting through the barricades.

And reaching for the sun (we are warriors)

Yeah, that’s what we’ve become.

[Pre-Chorus]

Won’t let them break me down to dust.

I know that there’s a place for us.

For we are glorious.

[Chorus]

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down. Gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out.

I am brave, I am bruised

I am who I’m meant to be, this is me.

Look out ’cause here I come.

And I’m marching on to the beat I drum.

I’m not scared to be seen

I make no apologies, this is me.

[Bridge]

And I know that I deserve your love.

There’s nothing I’m not worthy of.

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down. I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out.

This is brave, this is proof

This is who I’m meant to be, this is me.

[Chorus]

Look out ’cause here I come (look out ’cause here I come).

And I’m marching on to the beat I drum. (marching on, marching, marching on)

I’m not scared to be seen

I make no apologies, this is me.

Lettie’s song is the song we all long to sing. None of us are strangers to the dark. We’ve all hidden who we really are, because we fear ridicule or misunderstanding or not being accepted and loved. Even the most perfect, seemingly, among us has something about themselves that they dislike, some flaw that is glaring to them.

And some of us are so unique, so different, in appearance or thought or ability, that those differences are all that are seen. We feel shame. We feel outcast. We feel bruised.

How beautiful is this song’s reminder that differences are to be appreciated and celebrated. We can be exactly who we are and be seen, be glorious, be loved. Lettie’s journey is the journey we are all on, becoming real, becoming who we are, allowing others to do the same.

I have already listened to this song many times. It is currently my heart’s cry. Please take a moment, and listen to This is Me HERE.

What if we all celebrated our own uniqueness and each other’s too? What if we refused to hide, to be afraid, to fear others? What if this song began in our hearts and became our voice and our battle cry and our anthem, uniting us in our glorious differences?

Sing it with me…

“And I’m marching on to the beat I drum.

I’m not scared to be seen

I make no apologies, this is me.”

Movie Review: The Greatest Showman

I have looked forward to seeing this movie since viewing a trailer for it this past summer. The Greatest Showman, based on the extraordinary and imaginative life of P.T. Barnum, is a musical. The 11 featured songs were written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, the Academy Award winning lyricists of one of my favorite films from last year, La La Land. With such musical talent on board, I knew before the opening number that I was going to love this movie.

Daughter Elissa and grandson Dayan met me tonight at the theater, braving cold temps in order to be entertained. And entertained, we were.

The Greatest Showman stars Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Austyn Johnson, Cameron Seely, Keala Settle and Sam Humphrey. This musical drama, directed by Michael Gracey, carries a PG rating and has a run time of 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Phineas Barnum (Jackman) comes from a poor family. As a young adult, having struggled to survive, much less thrive, he marries his childhood sweetheart, Charity (Williams). Phin doesn’t have much materially, but he has big dreams. He doesn’t just want to find his place in the world, he wants to create his own world.

When he loses his job, Phin comes up with a creative plan, fresh from his imagination. With the support and encouragement of his wife and two young daughters, Caroline (Johnson) and Helen (Seely), Barnum secures a loan to purchase a somewhat seedy museum of curiosities and oddities.

Ticket sales are not what the dreamer had envisioned, or needs to pay his bills, until he begins to put together a troupe of real life curiosities. His cast of performers includes the bearded woman, Lettie (Settle), who has a beautiful voice and a just as beautiful heart, Tom Thumb (Humphrey), the little General who is 25 inches tall, and the amazing trapeze artist, Anne (Zendaya).

Phin’s show, dubbed a circus by New York’s top journalist, becomes a success as people flock to see these unusual performers. Far from being ridiculed, or disdained, the members of the diverse group find themselves being applauded, cheered, and appreciated, for the first time in their lives.

Encouraged by his growing fame, Barnum hires an apprentice, Phillip Carlyle (Efron). A playwright from a wealthy family, Carlyle has connections to New York’s elite. Barnum hopes to attract a higher paying audience.

Barnum perhaps takes his plans to create the Greatest Show on Earth too far when he brings Jenny Lind (Ferguson) to the US. Touted as the Swedish Nightingale, Jenny is considered the greatest singer Europe has known. Barnum convinces her to join him on a tour across the United States, bringing both of them greater fame and riches.

But at what cost do all of P.T. Barnum’s dreams come true? As he becomes the Greatest Showman, what affect does that have on his personal life, his family and his dedicated group of unique performers, left under the direction of Carlyle?

This was a fun film, with an exceptional musical score. The choreography was amazing as well. I smiled at the opening song and dance, and that smile remained on my face throughout the musical.

The movie was inspired by P.T. Barnum’s incredible imagination, and isn’t considered historical, although many of the characters represent actual people associated with the showman. The music is contemporary and uplifting, intended to convey how ahead of his time Barnum was.

A photo of the real P.T. Barnum and one of his performers, Tom Thumb.

What I loved about this film, beyond the songs and the dance routines, was the underlying message that all humanity matters. Barnum created a family when he brought together his diverse troupe. He showcased the best about people, not just their peculiarities, celebrating their unique qualities.

We enjoyed The Greatest Showman. Elissa turned to Dayan and me as the credits rolled and wondered why I didn’t make her take singing and dancing lessons, as a child. I could relate! I left the theater happy and feeling like I could dance my way across the parking lot. I didn’t. But oh, I wanted to! Perhaps it’s not too late for any of us to incorporate more singing, more dancing, more creating out of our imaginations, into our lives.