PHOTO CALL: Broadway-Bound New Musical Big Fish in Rehearsal
By Matthew Blank
The world premiere of the new musical Big Fish, based on the 1998 novel by Daniel Wallace and the 2003 Columbia Pictures film written by John August, begins its pre-Broadway engagement April 2, prior to an official opening April 19, in Chicago. Here is a look at the cast during early rehearsals in New York.
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) and Tony Award nominee Kate Baldwin (Finian's Rainbow) star as Edward and Sandra Bloom, respectively.
Click here for audio tracks from Big Fish that feature Butz and Baldwin.
Performances continue through May 5 at Chicago's Oriental Theatre. Following Chicago, the musical will swim into Broadway's Neil Simon Theatre Sept. 5, prior to an official opening Oct. 6.
Also in the cast are Tony Award nominee Bobby Steggert (Ragtime, Off-Broadway's Giant) as Will Bloom, Krystal Joy Brown (Leap of Faith, Hair) as Josephine Bloom and Zachary Unger (Chaplin) and Anthony Pierini (Mary Poppins) alternating 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), Kirsten Scott (Follies, Hairspray), Sarrah Strimel (Rock of Ages, Young Frankenstein) and Katie Thompson (Off-Broadway's Giant).
"A rollicking fantasy set in the American South," Big Fish, according to press notes, "centers on the charismatic Edward Bloom (Butz), whose impossible stories of his epic adventures frustrate his son Will (Steggert). As Edward's final chapter approaches, Will embarks on his own journey to find out who his father really is, revealing the man behind the myth, the truth from the tall tales."
Rounding out the ensemble are Preston Truman Boyd, Alex Brightman, Bree Branker, Joshua Buscher, Robin Campbell, Bryn Dowling, Jason Lee Garrett, Leah Hoffman, Synthia Link, Angie Schworer, Lara Seibert, Tally Sessions, Cary Tedder and Ashley Yeater.
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 with Roy Furman, The Nederlander Organization, John Domo and Broadway Across America.
The Oriental Theatre is located at 24 West Randolph Street in Chicago, IL. Visit BigFishTheMusical.com.
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