Archive for Big Fish
The reviews are in for Big Fish, and the critics have mixed feelings about the large-scale production. By all accounts, the musical — based on the Tim Burton movie and the Daniel Wallace novel — features spectacular stage magic from the mind of director Susan Stroman and a lovable leading man in Norbert Leo Butz (as Edward Bloom). Some consider the score by Andrew Lippa and the book by John August (the screenplay writer for the 2003 movie) to be weaknesses of the production, lacking in imagination and creativity, but some say that Stroman’s technical ingenuity covers all of that up nicely. Basically, if fantastical lighting and scenery are what you want to see, Big Fish could be great for you. If you’re searching for a story with an unpredictable plot and emotionally-charged characters, maybe you’d be happier sitting this one out.
NEW YORK TIMES
“For a show that celebrates tall tales, “Big Fish” feels curiously stunted. Granted, this movie-inspired musical about a whopper-spinning traveling salesman, which opened on Sunday night at the Neil Simon Theater, is certainly big by most conventional measurements.”
“Fantasy wages war with reality in Big Fish, a delightfully old-fashioned musical based on Daniel Wallace’s beloved novel (and Tim Burton’s 2003 film). In one corner, there is Edward Bloom (the sensational Norbert Leo Butz), a traveling salesman from backwater Alabama given to spinning tall tales about mermaids and giants to fill in the gaps in his otherwise ordinary life. In the other, there is his son, Will (Bobby Steggert), a just-the-facts journalist who’s never really connected with his often absent, now-ailing dad and faces the prospect of fatherhood himself.”
NBC NEW YORK
“Edward Bloom will die a “glorious” death at the end of “Big Fish,” which has just opened at the Neil Simon Theatre. That’s not a spoiler; it’s an explanation. Blessed, if you’d call it that, to know the “when” and “how” of his life’s final chapter, the peculiar protagonist of Susan Stroman’s giddy, overstuffed new musical is free to take risks the rest of us wouldn’t, for fear of bodily harm.”
“I doubt Broadway has ever seen a prettier, more sensuously kinetic musical than Susan Stroman’s adaptation of “Big Fish” set to music by Andrew Lippa (“The Addams Family.”) It’s enchanting, especially once it slows down a bit to catch its breath. That doesn’t happen until the second act, but it won’t matter much, even to fans of the Tim Burton movie (or the Daniel Wallace novel that started it all).”
“Wholesomeness gets a bad rap on Broadway these days, usually regarded as the kind of unbearably sweet and inoffensive entertainment that sophisticated theatergoers must endure while taking their conservative grandmas out for a night on the town. But Big Fish, the new musical that tattoos its heart on its arm, displays no fear in plopping its unabashed wholesomeness right in your lap. Its spirit is steeped in Rodgers and Hammerstein decency that propels an evening that’s adventurous, romantic and, yeah, kinda hip.”
All of the nominations are out for the various awards, with most expecting Matilda and Kinky Boots to take home the big prizes this year. It’s always surprising to see flops, like Hands on a Hardbody (which closed after only 28 performances) and Scandalous (which closed after 29) make the lists at all, but there will be a lot of close categories this year. (For a full list of all nominees for all of the various awards, click here.)
Here’s when all of the award ceremonies will take place:
Tony Awards: June 9, 8pm EST
Drama Desk Awards: May 19, 8pm EST
Drama League Awards: May 17, 12pm EST
Outer Critics Circle: Announced May 13
(NOTE: The Theatre World Awards have yet to announce dates…)
And all of the nominated shows…
But enough awards talk, on to exciting NEW things!
First up is one that is confirmed (and already marquee’d) for Broadway: First Date – a new musical about a horrible blind date. It’s slated to begin previews July 9 and open August 4. The show played well to the Seattle crowd and is still undergoing more changes before hitting, the Great White Way – seems a bit better suited for Off-Broadway, but who knows, maybe it’ll be next season’s runaway hit…
The other confirmed musical is Big Fish, an adaptation of the film that’ll star the oh-so-talented Norbert Leo Butz and Kate Baldwin. With Susan Stroman at the helm, there are a lot of big names attached to the project, which is now doing it’s out of town try out in Chicago, so it’s likely going to be a difficult investment to recoup.
Next up is Always… Patsy Cline, a jukebox musical telling the story of Patsy’s life through the eyes of her most devoted fan. Motown is still doing well box-office-wise, so the jukebox musical isn’t likely to die anytime soon. We’ll see if Patsy’s songs can fare better than some of the more recent attempts in this genre.
Prince of Broadway is another jukebox musical looking to open in the fall – celebrating the shows Hal Prince helped make into the big hits they were, this musical will have a bit more self-awareness than other jukebox musicals and a fantastic cast, including: Linda Lavin, Sebastian Arcelus, Sierra Boggess, Daniel Breaker, Josh Grisetti, Shuler Hensley, Richard Kind, Amanda Kloots-Larsen, LaChanze, Caroline O’Connor, David Pittu and Emily Skinner. But apparently that cast is part of the reason the show didn’t open when it was originally slated to do so. Will this one end never making it to opening night? We’ll just have to wait and see…
Then we’ve got Diner, with Sheryl Crow penning the score and lyrics and Barry Levinson, the film’s director and writer on the book. Bosting an Academy Award, Emmy Award and Grammy Award between them, this pair is hoping to add some Tony’s to their shelf too.
Beyond that are a number of shows that have tentative and out-of-town announcements, including:
Rocky: The Musical (a German transfer based on the film and directed by Alex Timbers)
Houdini (with music by Stephen Schwartz and starring Hugh Jackman)
Ever After (based on the film and directed by Kathleen Marshall)
Bullets Over Broadway (based on the film and directed by Susan Stroman)
Les Miserables (with fresh scenic and narrative elements and new orchestrations)
Aladdin (based on the Disney film and directed by Casey Nicholaw)
Some exciting stuff in there…hopefully they all make it to Broadway!
What are you most looking forward to seeing?