From February 24th– February 27th, Montverde Academy presented Barnum – a musical adaptation inspired from a book by Mark Bramble, the lyrics of Michael Stewart, and music of Cy Coleman.  Recently, MVA has learned that the performances were reviewed favorably by the Orlando area Cappies!

According to their official website,The Cappies is a national organization for high school theatre in the Orlando area “…intent on bringing the best of high school theatre to the stage and to our local media. CFC invites public and private high schools from Orange, Seminole, Lake and Osceola counties to participate in this extraordinary organization. You can see our published reviews in the Orlando Sentinel Online, as well as by listening to The Cappies Review on CCRadio via the Internet.” 

Students from different high schools who are involved with The Cappies go out to review shows during the school year.  Montverde Academy also participates with The Cappies by reviewing high school performances.  Reviews get published in various papers which include:

  • Orlando Sentinel
  • Apopka Chief
  • West Orange News
  • West Orlando News
  • Orlando Times
  • Orlando Weekly
  • Back Stage
  • West Orange Times & Observer

According to, “PT Barnum is in the circus business despite his wife’s wishes, working with talents such as the oldest woman alive, Joice Heth, the tiny Tom Thumb and the famous Swedish opera singer, Jenny Lind, with whom he falls in love. In the end, he returns to his wife and joins with another circus owner, James Anthony Bailey, to form the Barnum and Bailey circus.” 

The following are various excerpts from Cappies reviews for MVA’s Barnum:

“Come one, come all to the greatest high school musical on earth!  Although such a title is difficult to award, Montverde Academy made themselves a perfect candidate with their production of the musical Barnum.  This story serves as a loose backstory for one half of Barnum and Bailey’s famous circus, complete with intriguing outcasts, trapezes, large animals, and of course a few humbugs.  Playing the title role, Alexander LaPlante surely impressed the entire audience. In addition to portraying a sleazy entrepreneur, he also performed several of his own stunts including walking on a tight rope and zip-lining through the audience.  LaPlante set the whimsical, morally ambiguous tone for the production which not only lead to his success, but that of his counterparts as well.  In addition to his theatrical role, LaPlante added a playful technical aspect to his character in the form of magic tricks throughout the musical which he oversaw himself as Magic Coordinator…”

By Meghan Tonner of Winter Springs High School


“The leading actors of this musical provided the audience with a magical experience. Alexander LePlante, (P.T.Barnum) showed true passion for this show through his commitment to physical movements and emotions.  LePlante used magic tricks throughout the show to add to the effect of the circus theme. Haley Ganna (Charity Barnum) used a solid and rather impressive voice through her songs.  While portraying a strong minded woman, she showed an understanding of her character.  Isabelle Taylor (Jenny Lind) did a breath taking performance through her opera songs and Swedish accent.  Supporting roles help to progress the story.  Kevin McDonnell (Ringmaster/James A. Bailey) did a superior job of taking charge as the ringmaster and grabbing the audience’s attention.  McDonnell’s commitment to projection, even with a microphone, was just the right volume to portray his character accurately. Crystal Thompson (Joice Heth) through her tone of voice and physical movements convinced the audience that she truly was the oldest woman alive. The technical side of producing a show is the hardest part, but Montverde did an excellent job.  The costumes reflected the mid-1800s perfectly. Each character had a costume that defined their characters personality.  White and black outfits were used to symbolize the more serious times versus the colorful outfits used for the creative times.  From the wow factor of balloons falling from the ceiling to confetti cannons exploding, stating that this show was astonishing would not be a “humbug”.  This is a circus that I would definitely join!”

By Amanda Rines of Lake Minneola High School


“Overall, the show was fantastic.  The audience reacted well, and this allowed the actors to carry on with the show without any distractions or breaking of character.  While some lines were hard to understand due to a lack of slowing down for the words, the fast- paced nature allowed the audience to experience the hectic circus in awe and marvel at each new trick.  The characterization was fantastic, and every detail was planned out well. This performance, while laced excellently with humor, was still true to its message and was an impressive performance.”

By Mary Grimes of Winter Springs High School


“Montverde Academy succeeded in capturing the true feeling of a circus.  Those freak shows deserved the standing ovation that the audience enthusiastically offered at the conclusion of the magic.”

By Julia Saffer D’anna of Winter Park High School


“Not only was Alexander LaPlante playing P.T Barnum but he also was the Magic Coordinator for the show. He came up with all of the magic tricks in the show. Stage Manager, Reagan Porter, did an excellent job of calling the show.  Ending the show with the show stopping number “Join the Circus’ Barnum is a story of love and loss that everyone should go see.”

By Emma Boles of Edgewater High School