Two-time Tony Award winner Butz, who takes on the massive lead role of Edward Bloom in the musical by Tony nominee Andrew Lippa and August, performed the first half of Big Fish at the Oct. 9 matinee. His understudy Ben Crawford (Shrek the Musical) took over for the second act and will also perform the Oct. 9 evening show.
Butz will be out of the show on doctor's orders, and members of the press who were scheduled to attend the Oct. 9 evening show have been asked to reschedule their tickets.
Big Fish opened Oct. 6 at Broadway's Neil Simon Theatre, following previews that began Sept. 5.
Directed and choreographed by five-time Tony Award winner Susan Stroman (The Producers, Contact, Show Boat, Crazy for You), the work features music and lyrics by Grammy and Tony nominee Lippa (The Addams Family) with a book by Grammy and BAFTA Award nominee August.
Stroman, whose last Broadway project, The Scottsboro Boys, earned her 2011 Tony Award nominations for direction and choreography, says her newest Broadway project holds a special place in her heart. "My father was a salesman with a big smile, a man who could talk anyone into anything," she told Playbill magazine. "I was that little girl who danced around the living room to her father's music while he played the piano. For me, creating to music started when I was five or six. [He] whistled tunes constantly, until you thought it would make you crazy — and then you realized you were whistling right along with him... He also told big fish stories."
Butz (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Catch Me If You Can) tells the "big fish stories" in the musical adaptation, in which he stars as Edward Bloom opposite Tony Award nominee Kate Baldwin (Finian's Rainbow) as Sandra Bloom and Tony Award nominee Bobby Steggert (Ragtime, Off-Broadway's Giant) as Will Bloom.
Click here for audio tracks from Big Fish that feature Butz and Baldwin.
"In a way, there are two scores in the show," composer Lippa told Playbill.com about the balance between the family story and the various fantasies that Edward Bloom explores with his son, Will. "One of them is the romantic family drama, and one of them is the fantasy drama — all of the fantasies that Edward Bloom goes on and all of the stories he tells. Early on, I wanted to capture a tiny bit of flavor of the South, but not make this a 'country musical.' I also wanted to be as romantic as I could possibly be." Read the full interview here.
Also in the cast are Krystal Joy Brown (Leap of Faith, Hair) as Josephine Bloom and Zachary Unger (Chaplin) and Anthony Pierini (Mary Poppins) alternating in the role of Young Will with Ryan Andes (The Red Box at SoHo Rep), Ben Crawford (Shrek, Les Misérables), J. C. Montgomery (The Scottsboro Boys, The Color Purple), Tony Award nominee Brad Oscar (The Producers, Nice Work If You Can Get It), Ciara Renee (Broadway debut) as The Witch, Kirsten Scott (Follies, Hairspray) and Sarrah Strimel (Rock of Ages, Young Frankenstein).
|Photo by Paul Kolnik|
Big Fish, according to press notes, "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. Big Fish is about dreaming, loving and living bigger."
Rounding out the ensemble are Preston Truman Boyd, Bree Branker, Alex Brightman, Joshua Buscher, Robin Campbell, Bryn Dowling, Jason Lee Garrett, Leah Hofmann, Synthia Link, Angie Schworer, Lara Seibert, Tally Sessions, Cary Tedder and Ashley Yeater.
The world premiere of Big Fish began April 2, prior to an official opening April 19, at Chicago's Oriental Theatre, where it played through May 5.
The new musical has scenic design by Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award winner Julian Crouch, costume design by five-time Tony Award winner William Ivey Long, lighting design by two-time Tony Award winner Donald Holder, sound design by Los Angeles Drama Critics Award winner Jon Weston, projection design by Drama Desk Award winner Benjamin Pearcy for 59 Productions, musical direction by Mary-Mitchell Campbell, orchestrations by Larry Hochman and dance arrangements by Sam Davis.
"Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions" was first printed in 1998. In December 2003 an acclaimed film of "Big Fish" was released by Columbia Pictures directed by Tim Burton, starring Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, Billy Crudup, Jessica Lange and Helena Bonham Carter. The film was nominated for an Academy Award, Grammy Award, four Golden Globe Awards and seven BAFTA Awards.
Big Fish is produced by Dan Jinks, Bruce Cohen and Stage Entertainment USA with Roy Furman, Edward Walson, James L. Nederlander, Broadway Across America/Rich Entertainment Group, John Domo, and in association with Parrothead Productions, Lucky Fish, Peter May/Jim Fantaci, Harvey Weinstein/Carole L. Haber, Dancing Elephant Productions, CJ E&M, Ted Liebowitz, Ted Hartley, Clay Floren and Columbia Pictures.
Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com or by calling (866) 870-2717.
The Neil Simon Theatre is located at 250 W. 52nd Street. Visit BigFishTheMusical.com.