NO TALL TALE – A FANTASTICAL JOURNEY WITH SOUTHERN ROOTS
By Lori Simmons Zelenko
BIG FISH the Broadway Musical is food for the soul. Impossible to resist its message to share the story that is in your heart – Impossible not to be galvanized to break free from the conventional and zestfully enjoy life – Aren’t you at best when not at rest? Listen closely and hear the “50,000 drums” that spur Edward Bloom the supremely engaging storyteller of BIG FISH to “Fight the Dragons! Storm the Castles! Win a Battle or Two!” – as he joyfully embellishes turning reality into fantasy – and in a heartbeat, you’re on board happy to suspend disbelief as the exuberant Tony® Winner Norbert Leo Butz – authentically cast as a Southern dad (a father himself to three daughters and a Southerner too!) spins whimsical, winning stories that charm us all. Go now and get tickets to put that smile on your face – see BIG FISH before it closes December 29.
The stories of BIG FISH are many – and all are playful, delightfully entertaining and visually inventive beyond belief – each so beautifully realized by director/choreographer Susan Stroman that experiencing BIG FISH is a nearly never-ending delight. The message of being a HERO in your own story – being the star of your own tall tale – your individual Big Fish – crosses generations and as shared between a father and son in the show is poignant and revealing. It is second nature to spring to your feet to applaud this marvelous musical and say to yourself, “I need to reach out and celebrate the Big Fish in my life – the teller of tall tales and family legends.” The actors notably including Kate Baldwin whose voice is Susan Stroman describes as being like a “bell, clear and strong you can hear it in the back of the theatre,” have a fine time playing themselves at different ages from their youthful first encounter to Edward Bloom’s twilight years.
BIG FISH based on the Tim Burton movie of the same name, celebrates the concept of a “Big Fish” story – engaging tall tales told through generations that resonate with men, women and yes, children too. After all the story is about a son who works through disbelief to learn that his father’s tall tales have a magical spell to weave – a spell that takes on even greater magic as its passed from generation to generation.
Indeed speaking with her as Millennium did, we are drawn deeper into the magic she so artfully creates. “You never forget a live performance,” Susan Stroman says, “You will remember it for the rest of your life. Being part of Big Fish was she reveals transformative, “my favorite day during rehearsal was when each cast member came in with a Big Fish story…Sharing these wonderfully imaginative and personal stories brought us all closer together, we experienced firsthand that there’s a message in every tall tale – never give up hope…and who doesn’t LOVE to hear a Big Fish story? Is there one among us who hasn’t embellished for art’s sake?”
Like Southern Charm, the full effect of BIG FISH is felt even after the show is over. Recollecting a fantastical sojourn…traveling though memories and imagining the best of all possible worlds…are we there yet? Are you ready to be the HERO of your own story?
Catch BIG FISH before it swims away at www.bigfishthemusical.com until December 29 at the Neil Simon Theatre 250 W. 52nd St., New York, NY.