PHOTO EXCLUSIVE: A Two-Show Day at Broadway's Big Fish With Singer-Dancer-Puppeteer Leah Hofmann

By Matthew Blank
25 Oct 2013

Leah Hofmann — who last year took us behind the scenes and inside the puppets at Lincoln Center's War Horse — is back on Broadway lending her song, dance and puppetry skills to the new musical Big Fish. The versatile performer and Etch-A-Sketch art virtuoso shares a recent two-show day at the theatre.





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Good Morning, Playbill.com! After sharing my backstage shenanigans at War Horse, I’m honored to take ya’ll on a Two-Show Day Journey with my fellow company of the new Broadway show Big Fish!
Photo by Leah Hofmann



Hofmann's theatre credits include War Horse on Broadway, Young Frankenstein, The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Sunset Boulevard, The Producers, Camelot, La Cage aux Folles, 42nd Street, My One and Only and Gypsy. She holds an MPT from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

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The new Broadway musical Big Fish, a father-and-son tale based on the 1998 novel by Daniel Wallace and the subsequent 2003 film by John August, makes a splash at Broadway's Neil Simon Theatre, where it officially opened Oct. 6, 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 Andrew Lippa (The Addams Family) with a book by Grammy and BAFTA Award nominee August.

Two-time Tony Award winner Norbert Leo 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.

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).

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.