BIG FISH to Make Collegiate Premiere at Abilene Christian University, 10/10-12

The Abilene Christian University Theatre, under special arrangement with Theatrical Rights Worldwide, Inc., is proud to announce the Collegiate Premiere of BIG FISH for its 2014 Homecoming Musical.

Having just finished its Broadway run BIG FISH is quite a catch for the ACU Theatre. BIG FISH is based on John August's screenplay for the critically acclaimed 2003 film of the same name directed by Tim Burton. This all new musical features a book by John August with music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa (The Addams Family, I AM HARVEY MILK, The Wild Party). Not only is ACU's production the first to be presented in the university setting, but it is also one of the first in the nation following the Broadway run. BIG FISH will play the Abilene Civic Center October 10th-12th, 2014.

BIG FISH centers on Edward Bloom, a traveling salesman who lives life to its fullest...and then some! Edward's incredible, larger-than-life stories thrill everyone around him - most of all, his devoted wife Sandra. But their son Will, about to have a child of his own, is determined to find the truth behind his father's epic tales. Overflowing with heart, humor and spectacular stagecraft, Big Fish is an extraordinary new Broadway musical that reminds us why we love going to the theatre - for an experience that's richer, funnier and BIGGER than life itself.

The ACU Theatre's connection to this piece stems from one of the university's most distinguished alumni being part of the original Broadway company of BIG FISH. Lara Siebert Young (Broadway: A Christmas Story The Musical, Hugh Jackman Back on Broadway, Young Frankenstein) is currently a swing in the Tony Award Winning Broadway revival of Pippin covering roles such as The Leading Player. Lara is a 2006 graduate of ACU and was a member of Big Fish's ensemble and understudied the principle female roles.

The cast of ACU Theatre's BIG FISH includes Tyler Hazard as Edward Bloom, Sarah Yarbrough as Sandra Bloom, Jonathan Steffins as Will Bloom, and Kaitlin Sacco as Josephine Bloom along with a large company of ACU Theatre majors and minors.

Director Dawne Swearingen Meeks, Associate Professor of Theatre and Assistant Chair of the Department of Theatre, is a member of Actor's Equity Association as well as the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers. Meeks jumped at the chance to direct BIG FISH at ACU after having seen it in New York and falling in love with the story. Meeks holds a BA from ACU and an MFA in Directing and Acting from University of Arizona. At ACU she has directed Little Shop of Horrors, Titanic, Footloose, and co-directed Les Mise?rables . She has choreographed multiple times for Oklahoma Shakespeare and directed and choreographed The Marvelous Wonderettes for Atlanta's Legacy Theatre.

Choreographer Eean Cochran is a senior at ACU fresh off the national and international tours of the hit musicals Dreamgirls and Bring It On: The Musical. For Dreamgirls Cochran was a member of the ensemble and covered the role of James "Thunder" Early. In the recently closed tour of Bring it On: The Musical he served as dance captain and covered all male roles. Regionally Cochran has played Terk in Tarzan and Judah in Joseph...Dreamcoat for Atlanta's Legacy Theatre as well as being the dance captain for Casa Man?ana's Hairspray. At ACU, he played Andy Lee in 42nd Street, Willard in Footloose and served as assistant choreographer for Footloose.

BIG FISH will have vocal direction by ACU Associate Professor of Theatre Kari Hatfield (B.A. Oklahoma Christian University, M.F.A. Virginia Commonwealth). Hatfield's directing experience includes The King and I and The Pirates of Penzance. Accompanying the actors will be a full orchestra comprised of ACU Department of Music students and professionals under the direction of ACU Director of Bands and Orchestra, Dr. Steven Ward.

Production design includes scenic design by ACU alum David Utley (Television: Glee, Franklin and Bash, It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia) and projection designs by Andrew Lazarow (I AM HARVEY MILK, arena events for the Dalai Lama). Lighting design will be by ACU Professor of Theatre Gary Varner (M.F.A. Tulane University) and costume design by ACU Associate Professor of Theatre Sandy Freeman (M.F.A. University of Oklahoma), assisted by current students Amanda Martin and Alexandra Eddins.

ACU Theatre's Collegiate Premier of BIG FISH will open Friday October 10th, 2014 at 8PM with performances following on Saturday the 11th at 8PM and Sunday the 12th with a 2PM matinee performance. Tickets range from $12 - $25 and can be obtained at the Williams Performing Arts Center box office at (325) 674-ARTS (2787) from 1-5PM on weekdays or online at

ABOUT THE ABILENE CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY DEPARMTENT OF THEATRE - The ACU Theatre of Abilene Christian University in Abilene, TX is chaired by Adam Hester (B.A. Abilene Christian University, M.F.A. Trinity University). Hester has served in this capacity since 1991. Under his tenure Hester has established a department that integrates artistic excellence, spiritual depth, intellectual pursuit and physical soundness to create an environment where exceptional theatre happens and exceptional theatre artists are shaped. Hester developed the Abilene Shakespeare Festival in 1990 which continues to be a staple for West Texas audiences every summer, bringing in Equity actors for roles.

The ACU Theatre is housed in the Williams Performing Arts Center on the Abilene Christian University campus. The "WPAC" is a $17 million facility opened in 2003 which features the 325-seat Fulks Theatre and the more intimate multi-form Culp Theatre. The annual Homecoming Musical is performed in the 2,200 seat Abilene Civic Center every fall. Past Homecoming Musicals include the Texas Collegiate Premier of Les Mise?rables (directed by Hester and Meeks), 42nd Street, The King and I, and Thoroughly Modern Millie. Some notable alumni include Lara Seibert Young, Ben Jeffrey (Pumbaa in Broadway's The Lion King), and Juliette Trafton (Off Broadway: The Fantastiks). Learn more about Abilene Christian University and the Department of Theatre at


WHO: Abilene Christian University Theatre
WHAT: Collegiate Premiere of the Broadway Musical Big Fish WHEN: Friday October 10, 2014 - Sunday October 12, 2014 WHERE: Abilene Civic Center, Abilene, TX
TICKETS: $12 - $25


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