The Greatest Showman: ARC welcomes one and all to Saenger big top


The Arc of Southeast Mississippi Showstoppers are ready to hit the Saenger Theater stage for another incredible performance. This year’s theme is The Greatest Showman and is set for 2 p.m. Sunday, March 31, on the Saenger stage.

Sponsored by the Hattiesburg Arts Council and the Saenger Theater, the title is quite appropriate for this group of about 25 who will sing and dance to a variety of tunes.

According to Cindy Pennington, Arc director, when the movie The Greatest Showman came out, various Arc individuals started sending her message recommending that this be their next show choir performance.

“When we had our initial meeting with our show choir directors, they came in with a great idea for this show choir and yes, you guessed it, The Greatest Showman,” Pennington said. 

Practices began in the fall with most show choir participants already knowing the songs. “Although some have seen the movie, it's typically the music that gives them such joy and provides such a connection to the world,” Pennington said. “And when you tie in the dance moves with that, they can express themselves like anyone else.”

Pennington said she had not seen the movie, so she Googled it to learn more about it. “One Google was ‘8 Quotes to Live by From The Greatest Showman.’  I read each one and I kept thinking, this is just like the people at The Arc!”

She said one quote by P.T. Barnum really hit home with her: “No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else.”

“That's one of the things I love the most,” Pennington said. “They are good with where they are and they don't pretend to be someone they are not.”  

With about 25 Arc clients participating, it’s not the biggest group that’s ever participated, “but they promise to put joy in your soul.”  

Abigail Lenz-Allen and Allison Neville will share the co-hosting duties and there will be some other really unique "circus shows" by some of the Arc individuals with disabilities that will also provide great entertainment.

The event will also include a silent auction that features a variety of great auction items, including a signed Alabama football, jewelry and prints.

The Arc will also have its beautiful pottery for sale as well as showcasing some new pieces.

Tickets, which are $13, may be purchased at the door or online with the Saenger Theater, 

The show is also made possible with support from the PineBelt Foundation and Ann Morris Memorial Fund.