Do we ever really know our parents, especially who they were before we existed? Michael Kurowski as William Bloom, a journalist on the deathbed of his salesman father is determined to reconcile their rocky relationship. He is driven to ascertain who Alexander Gemignani as Edward Bloom really is. William has always seen his father as an irresponsible, foolhardy, falsifier. We get to follow his father’s charming tall tales and adventures through his son’s retelling. The musical has its roots in American author Daniel Wallace’s 1998 most successful novel, Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportion, which nods to the poetry of the Odyssey and James Joyce’s Ulysses.
John August read the early drafts of the book and convinced Columbia/Sony Studios to buy the rights. He spent five years adapting the novel for the big screen. In 2003 the Tim Burton-directed Southern Gothic film was released starring Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, Billy Crudup, and Jessica Lang among other notable actors. It received positive reviews from critics while garnishing four Golden Globe Nominations and an Oscar win for music.
Daniel Wallace never saw his novel becoming a musical, but despite that John August, felt it screamed out for music and dance. It was destined to become a classic theater success. Almost a decade later John August had written the play script and Andrew Lippa the music and lyrics with Susan Stroman who directed and choreograph the Broadway Musical version. This kind of larger-than-life magical entertainment is why we love attending the Marriott Lincolnshire Theater. A most comfortable not a bad seat in the house theater showcasing premium entertainment. The theater has received an awesome 500 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations. Since 1975 they have staged more than 180 productions seen by almost eleven million fans.
With its dreamy vignettes, Big Fish compels us to live life to its fullest. Will in the end sees the legacy his father wished to impart. His father never was trying to impress his son. Edward’s mission was to inspire Will to live life to the fullest, dream large, and love bigger. This cast and crew are more than up to the task. Alexander Gemignani is a powerfully commanding presence on stage with a wry sense of humor. Heidi Kettenring as wife, mother, and mediator between father and son proves once again why she is a perennial fan favorite. She is credited with twenty-seven appearances at Marriot productions. Micheal Kurkowski is an outstanding singer. William Daly as the young Will makes his debut at Marriott. He is absolutely adorable with his frank truthful retorts. Lucy Godinez handles her diverse roles with aplomb. I fell in love with the dulcet tones of Jonah D. Winston in his Marriott debut performance. He plays both the giant and the doctor. His mellifluous voice in both speech and song had me entranced and mesmerized. Ayana Strutz as a mermaid and circus artist is a graceful strong shimmering Hawaiian Princess. Emma Rosenthal plays a convincing circus impresario (Amos Calloway) and a werewolf. Lydia Burke plays William Bloom’s wife. Her performance is heart-warming.
Conductor Kevin Reeks and his skilled orchestra play the evocative score magnificently. I now understand why Lippa’s music won an Academy Award. Jesse Klug’s lighting design mirrors the magic of this production. While Amander Vander Byl’s eclectic, brilliant costume design adds to this fun, fantastical musical. Collete Pollard’s scenic designs are colorful, imaginative, and whimsical. The audience from the very first scene laughed out loud and gave the cast, orchestra, and crew a rousing, well-deserved standing ovation at the finale
Big Fish opens Wednesday, February 1, and is scheduled to run Wednesdays at 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., with select Thursday 1:00 p.m., shows. The run time is approximately two and a half hours. Ticket prices range from $59 to $64, excluding tax and handling fees. Call for student, senior, and military discounts. On Wednesday and Thursday evenings there are a limited number of dinner-theatre packages available for purchase through the Marriott Theatre Box Office. To make a restaurant reservation, please call 847.634.0100. Reservations are strongly recommended. Free parking is available at all performances. To reserve tickets, please call The Marriott Theatre Box Office at 847.634.0200 or visit www.MarriottTheatre.com for more information. Masks are optional. (847) 634-0200
Photos: Courtesy of Marriott Theatre and Heron Agency
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