Arts & Culture

Discover All Things Regional in Central PA’s art and culture scene. Join hosts Cary Burkett and Joe Ulrich as they make artistic discoveries throughout the midstate. From music and visual arts to theatre, museums, literature and more! Listen every Wednesday and Friday on witf 89.5 and 93.3 for features highlighting the best and brightest cultural happenings in the region.

Barnum a Big-Top Attraction for Totem Pole Playhouse

Written by Cary Burkett, Arts & Culture Desk and WITF Host | Aug 15, 2013 1:27 PM
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P.T. Barnum is a name associated with extravagant  spectacle – carnival-barker hyperbole, sideshows exhibiting  giants, midgets, bearded ladies and the like –and of course the circus that became the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, the Greatest Show on Earth. So a musical about the life of Phineas Taylor Barnum is bound to contain extravagant spectacle as well.

 Totem Pole Playhouse in Caledonia Park has invested heavily to make their production of Barnum, the musical, the grand spectacle the show calls for. Ray Ficca, Artistic Director for the theatre, cast actors who brought special circus-like skills to the show, including tumbling, juggling, working the silks in an acrobatic display, and rolling about the stage in a giant contraption known as a cyr wheel.

It’s the biggest show in what has been a big season for Totem Pole. After almost closing its doors last season, the theatre was saved by a community fundraising effort . The funds have been used to invest in a season designed to draw in a new audience.  

Ray Ficca plays the title role in Barnum, but it will be his last at Totem Pole. He’ll be leaving his position as Artistic Director at the theatre at the end of the season.

Below you can hear our interview with Ray Ficca.

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