When Michael Ball finally gets out of his dress (in Hairspray), it may be to get into a circus ring. He’s in talks to take the title role in Cameron Mackintosh’s 2010 revival of the 1980 Broadway musical Barnum about PT Barnum, the 19th-century American showman and founder of Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

The part had previously been tipped for John Barrowman but, according to the Daily Mail, Barrowman declined because of his TV and other commitments. Jim Dale originated Barnum on Broadway, while Michael Crawford starred in the 1981 West End premiere at the London Palladium.

The musical has music by Cy Coleman, lyrics by Michael Stewart and a book by Mark Bramble who is revamping it for the new production, for which Parade’s Rob Ashford has been signed up to direct and choreograph.