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Big Fish

Playing at the Neil Simon Theatre located at 250 West 52nd Street.  It runs two hours fifteen minutes with one intermission.  This show is an open ended run.

The musical is based on the 2003 Columbia Pictures film directed by Tim Burton and written by John August.  The movie starred Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, Billy Crudup, Jessica Lang and Helena Bonham Carter.  The movie was nominated for an Academy Award, Grammy Award, four Golden Globe Awards and seven Bafta Awards,

The show is directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman.  She has won five Tony Awards.  For directing and choreography in 2001 “The Producers”, choreography in  2000 “Contact”, choreography in 1995 “Show Boat” and choreography  in 1992 “Crazy For You”.  Susan was nominated for a Tony Award for director and choreography in 2011 for “The Scottsboro Boys”.  She was also nominated for a Tony Award for choreography for the following shows “Oklahoma” (2002), “The Music Man” (2000), “Steel Pier” (1997), “Big” (1996) and directing “Contact” (2000). This is a small representation of the awards and nominations she has received.

Nobert Leo Butz has won two Tony Awards in 2011 for “Catch Me if You Can” and 2005 “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”.  He is one of only nine actors to have won the award twice as lead actor.  Nobert was nominated for a Tony Award in 2002 for “Thou Shalt Not”. 

Kate Balwin was nominated for a Tony Award and Drama Desk Award in 2010 for “Finian’s Rainbow”.

Bobby Steggert was nominated for a Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award and Drama League award for “Ragtime” (2010).

Brad Oscar was nominated for a Tony Award for “The Producers” (2001).

Andrew Lippa is doing the music and lyrics for the show.  He was nominated for a Tony Award in 2010 for “The Adams Family”,  Grammy Award (2000) for “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”.  He won a Drama Desk Award and Outer Circle Critics Award for “The Wild Party” (2000). 

There is a cast of twenty seven.

Edward Bloom (Norbert Leo Butz) loves to tell his son Will (Zacharey Unger) wild stories.  His son wants him to read a book to him but he rather tell him a story. The stories he tells come to life.  How he met a witch or a mermaid are among these stories.

The story goes back and forth to grown up Will (Bobby Steggert) and when he was little.  Will is getting married to Josephine Bloom (Krystal Joy Brown).  Dad guesses she is with child.

Edward has cancer which he has kept from his wife Sandra (Kate Baldwin) and Will.  Sandra encourages him to tell his son. Will recall the stories his father has told him.  As his father is dying he discovers things about him that he did not know.  His opinion of him changes as he discovers the man he did not know.   All for the better.   The traits that his father did that he did not like he is doing to his son.

The scene and songs I like the best were a man say he needs fish to feed his family “Be a Hero” is sung.  Fish pop up on the stage, they even come out the orchestra pit.  “Out There on the Road” the town people tell Will to get rid of the giant in town.  He succeeds on convincing Karl (Ryan Andes) to leave.  The dance routine is fantastic.   In act two “Fight the Dragon” is touching.  There are other great scenes, this is just a few.

Norbert Leo Butz does an outstanding job both singing and dancing.  He shows such compassion to Will you think it was his own son.

Kate Baldwin is moving and terrific as the mother.

Bobby Steggert comes alive in the second act.  He is so touching when he realizes what kind of man his father is, it will bring tears to your eyes.  An audience member I spoke to said she had to take tissues out.

I was amazed on how Ryan Andes was able to move and dance on the stilts.  He does such a great job. Wow how graceful.

Other cast members who give a great performance are Sara Strimel (mermaid), Ben Crawford (student) and Brad Oscar (ring master).

The set, costumes and cast are worth seeing.

This is an entertaining show.  It is mystical story that has substance and meaning.  It makes you think about your dad and the type of person he is or was.

Big Fish is Broadways first new seasons hit.  Hats off to Susan Strome (direction and choreography), Julian Crouch (scenic design) and Andrew Lipping (music and lyrics) for a job well done.

I would love to see the show again, that’s how good it is.

Review by Rozanna Radakovich.

Photos by Annazor.

For a candid interview with the cast, scroll down to the left for recent photos.  Click on recent photos for this and other shows.

 

 

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