St. Luke's United Methodist Church's BIG FISH Opens Tonight
St. Luke's United Methodist Church's production of Big Fish opens tonight, August 15. The church, located at 4851 S. Apopka-Vineland Road in Orlando, is elated to be the first community theater group in the country to open this larger than life musical since the show ended its run on Broadway in December of 2013.
Big Fish follows the incredible stories of Edward Bloom, a traveling salesman who cultivates adventure where ever he goes. Edward's thrilling tales of meeting a giant, dodging a flood, and joining the circus captivate his lovely wife Sandra but their son Will, ever the skeptic, is not so easily amused.
Big Fish will have audiences of all ages bursting with laughter while their hearts are warmed with themes of acceptance, forgiveness, and family. This will be the third consecutive year that Orlando director, Steve MacKinnon, will be calling the shots for St. Luke's summer musical. MacKinnon, who splits time between his role as the Artistic and Music Associate with the Orlando Repertory Theater, a Resident Director/Teaching Artist for Disney Performing Arts with the Walt Disney Company, and overseeing the contemporary music at St. Luke's, is energized to be working on the new material. During a break in rehearsals MacKinnon noted that, "The Central Florida theater community and St. Luke's have come together to bring this vibrant production to life and truly showcase how people, no matter how different their stories might be, can become a family through a shared experience like Big Fish."
Actor Erik Nelson plays Will Bloom, Edward's son, in the musical. Nelson is a mainstay in the Orlando theater scene having worked with the Orlando Repertory Theater and The Garden Theater. The principle actor had this to say when asked why he wanted to be a part of this cast, "Big Fish has it all. The show's humor, heartbreak, and musical storytelling challenge us as actors to convey such a wide range of emotions. Preparing for the role has been enriching and working with such a talented team is an honor."
While finishing touches are added to the rustic wooden attic set and colorful costumes are pulled for final fittings, some may ask why a church would take on the enormous task of producing a Broadway musical. St. Luke's Co-Lead Pastor, The Rev. Jennifer Stiles Williams, says that, "The play offers theater-goers an opportunity to examine their real-life relationships through the experiences of this fictional family. The golden thread that runs through Edward's elaborate fantasies is faith- faith in ourselves, faith in each other, and faith in something beyond what we see with our eyes." St. Luke's will follow the show with a sermon series called "Relationslips" starting Sunday, August 24. The weekly messages will center on reconciling all types of relationships. The church will also offer supplemental classes and take-home material for those wishing to dig deeper into the content.
Performances will be Friday, August 15 and Saturday, August 16 at 7:00 p.m., Sunday, August 17 at 2:30 p.m., Thursday, August 21, Friday, August 22 and Saturday, August 23 at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, August 24 at 2:30 p.m. at St. Luke's United Methodist Church. Tickets are on sale now at www.st.lukes.org/bigfish.