Dr. Blackwell's BLOG

Monday, November 18, 2013

Theater Review: BIG FISH The Musical

Filed under: Performing Arts — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 00:00


BLOGBOARD Entry by Guest Contributor: Elva Fisher
Saw Big Fish tonight. After the reviews & the recent, surprising news it’s closing 12/29, was expecting a mixed bag & some hefty disappointment. To my surprise & pleasure, much of it was beautiful, wonderful and even astonishing. Of course some was thin, wan & more than a bit static, but my pretty strong reaction is to ask why they’re closing. The reviews have strongly criticized the music, but I found most of it more than acceptable. Not unexpected, Susan Strohman has directed and choreographed an exceptional show. Much of the production is breathtakingly beautiful, lush and astonishing. The large orchestra adds its own strength & color. Andrew Lippa’s music & lyrics aren’t as objectionable as reviewers said. Many of the concepts & scenes are worderful. They and Norbert Butz’s exceptional performance lift this show well above all expectations. Butz is in a class by himself — one of the best actors, dancers and phenomenally wonderful at creating characters. Everything I’ve seen him in — Thou Shalt Not, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Catch Me if you Can & Wicked have all been incredibly wonderful portrayals of remarkable characters. He’s one of a very few actors to win 2 Tonys for Best Actor, as well as a slew of other awards — remarkable talent. Kate Baldwin plays his wife — luminously beautiful, good dancer, fine singer & actor. Bobby Steggert shot to fame & fortune w/ his Tony in Ragtime. I’ve never thought he was as good as many & tonight he did a good performance, but for me, often missed the mark a bit. His wife, Krystal Joy Brown did well, but I wondered why a black woman was chosen for the part. There are 3 young boys that trade off the part of Butz’s son as a child, a necessary part, but nothing very special. Zachary Unger tonight — his diction was poor & he needs to support better. Tonight included a little Pippin, a little Into the Woods & a little Music Man/Oklahoma & Barnum. Having seen a great many productions that have far less to offer than this one, I am at quite a loss to understand why it’s closing. The house was full and the audience frequently & loudly showed enormous approval throughout the performance. Strohman’s huge production numbers & special effects are fabulous & Butz is incredibly wonderful. Those 2 alone make this an amazingly special show. Check out highlights from BIG FISH: The Musical below:

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