BEHIND THE SCENES: Big Fish the Musical

Izzy Rejino and Natalie Cullen

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Photo by: Rae Gray

Seniors Kamryn Morales and Eric Larson lead the cast in the musical number; “Red, White, and True”. Holme appreciated the lighthearted and colorful feel to this scene, deeming it one of her top favorites.

Anna Holme, Reporter

Big Fish experiments with stories that are larger than life

Towards the end of January, the Starlight Theatre Company put on their annual musical. This year featured, “Big Fish,” a story about a father with wild stories and a son who’s hesitant to believe them. The show was originally based on the 2003 film directed by Tim Burton but has since been made a broadway musical, closing in late December of 2013 after 98 performances.  

After the massive success of “Mamma Mia!” last year, I was curious to see how this one would match up. And, after watching the show, I can safely say I was not disappointed. I went to see the show twice, so I was able to see both casts perform. The consistency between the two nights was great, and it felt like both casts had really clean and immersive performances. 

Photo by: Rae Gray
Sandra and Edward, played by seniors Eric Larson and Kamryn Morales, share a tender moment on stage. Holme was most impressed with the acting in this scene performed by the seniors.

One grievance I did have was when I walked into the lobby outside of the theatre, there was some confusion about where I should go (I bought my tickets online). Maybe a little more clarity about what to do if you buy your tickets online versus in-person would’ve been helpful. But as for the show itself, I should start with the visuals of the show.

As for set design, there were wooden boards going up the side and top of the stage, which I felt looked really nice and added to the rustic setting of the musical, considering the fact that the show takes place in rural Alabama. There was a platform extending in front of the stage, creating a pit that acted as an entrance and exit for many of the performers, which I thought was really creative, and added a lot to the movement for the performers. 

As far as lighting goes, it went really smoothly, everything was really well lit, and the colors/brightness changed according to the mood. A good example of this is that of the bright colors during “Red, White, and True” the first scene in the second act, that featured a lively tap routine. These visuals really added to my experience, making it more immersive and entertaining to experience.

The music was also incredible. Not only are the songs in general well-composed, but the actual musical performance by students was super impressive, so much so that I almost forgot that high school students were performing it and that it wasn’t a recording. This music, paired with the fun choreography and dance numbers present throughout the show (like the amazing tap routine of “Red, White, and True”) really elevated the whole show.

The actors themselves exhibited great performances, and I felt that no matter the size of the role, everyone performed extremely well, with impressive emotional articulation. My favorite scene in terms of acting was “I Don’t Need a Roof,” which features a distressed Edward waking up from a nightmare as Sandra comforts him. Due simultaneously to both of the Sandra’s singing voices (played by seniors Kamryn Morales and Gillian Griffis), and the dynamic between Edward and Sandra Bloom. The scene felt exceptionally emotional, and it was captivating to watch.

Photo by: Rae Gray
Senior Kamyrn Morales and juniors Maia Gerdes and Sydney Reinhart perform in the number “Time Stops”. Gerdes plays a younger version of the female lead, Sandra, while Morales plays an older Sandra.

While “I Don’t Need a Roof,” was fantastic, my favorite scene overall (and favorite song) was “Daffodils,” due to the mix of all the best visuals, musical talent, and acting in the whole show. During the song, daffodils sprout up at the front of the stage, and both nights I went I could tell how shocked the audience was at this effect. This, mixed with some incredible singing and acting by both Edward’s (played by senior Eric Larson and junior Jaden Davis), created a true highlight to the show. 

Overall, Big Fish was an outstanding show that I thoroughly enjoyed. The time and effort taken to make it happen really showed through its attention to detail and amazing performances. Just from the reactions of the audience, and the standing ovation that occurred both nights that I went to see it, I could tell I’m not the only one who feels this way. To tech theatre, the musicians, the performers, the theatre directors and anyone else who was involved; amazing job!