Review Roundup: Broadway-Bound BIG FISH Starring Norbert Leo Butz and Kate Baldwin
BIG FISH, a new musical based on the novel by Daniel Wallace and the 2003 Columbia Pictures film written by John August, opened in Chicago on April 19 for its pre-Broadway world premiere in a limited 5-week engagement through May 5, 2013.
Starring two-time Tony Award winner Norbert Leo Butz (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Catch Me If You Can) as Edward Bloom, Tony Award nominee Kate Baldwin (Giant, Finian's Rainbow) as Sandra Bloom, Tony Award nominee Bobby Steggert (Giant, Ragtime) as Will Bloom,Krystal Joy Brown (Leap Of Faith) as Josephine Bloom and Zachary Unger/Anthony Pierini as Young Will, and featuring Ryan Andes, Ben Crawford, J. C. Montgomery, Tony Award nominee Brad Oscar, Kirsten Scott, Sarrah Strimel and Katie Thompson, Big Fish has a cast of 27 that includes Preston Truman Boyd, Alex Brightman, Bree Branker, Joshua Buscher,Robin Campbell, Bryn Dowling, Jason Lee Garrett, Leah Hofmann, Synthia Link, Angie Schworer, Lara Seibert, Tally Sessions, Cary Tedder and Ashley Yeater.
Let's see what the critics had to say:
Steven Oxman of Variety writes: This is a wholly satisfying show: meaningful, emotional, tasteful, theatrically imaginative and engaging. Director/choreographer Susan Stroman pulls off a remarkable balance, unifying serious, potentially dark elements - a dying father, a son harboring a lifetime of anger - with the fanciful. It's is not a genre piece that has a clear niche audience, but that uniqueness is exactly what makes it so broadly appealing.
Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune says: It has resonance, integrity, originality of form, formidable leading talents in Norbert Leo Butz and Kate Baldwin, and about two-thirds of what should end up as Andrew Lippa's best score to date.
Kris Vire of Time Out Chicago writes: Onstage, August needs to better establish early-on the dynamic of resentment between storyteller Edward Bloom (Norbert Leo Butz) and son Will (Bobby Steggert). As is, the brief top-of-show snippet of young Will (alternating child actors Anthony Pierini and Zachary Unger) challenging his dad's bedtime story transitions directly into adult Will fuming at Edward for showing off at Will's wedding, misguidedly tipping the audience toward Team Edward from the get-go.