Be the hero of your story
That’s the lesson a father teaches his young son at the opening of the new musical Big Fish.
Big Fish is another Susan Strohman show, sweeter and smaller than her typical production. Even with the magic and the big numbers, this is really a show about a family. The act one finale is a duet–not typical.
I do love the way Norbert Leo Butz moves and will remember his little tap riff with three enormous elephant rear ends. And he has charm to spare. He’s perfectly cast as the tall tale teller.
This is the first time I’ve seen Kate Baldwin, and I particularly appreciated that she, as an older woman, got a torch song, albeit a short one.
The show has that entertainment pleasure, but it’s the small sweetnesses that characterizes it. “Time Stops” reprised in the second act, is supposed to be the break out number, and it’s a solo.
The show ends quietly, not with a rouser. The audience gave it a standing ovation, while I think it warranted a more reserved and more sincere seated, straight play acknowledgment. I liked it as a piece of theater and have a couple of the songs stuck in my head. But it wasn’t as rip roaring as I expected.
Will its subdued and sad subtlety sell on Broadway? It’s based on a beloved movie (aren’t all Broadway shows now?). Is that enough? I’m interested to find out with time that in real life doesn’t stop.