A new magical musical has started reviews on Broadway. The Weinsteins, better know for their indie movies have brought to the Great White Way a musical version of the 90's Tim Burton movie, Big Fish, based on the novel by Daniel Wallace. Big Fish for those of you that are not familiar with the movie is a fantastical tale told by the main character, who in his son's eyes only tells tall tales. This leads to a great divide between the son and father as the son has taken up a profession as a reporter, one whose livelihood is based on finding out he facts. His father is a great teller of stories and growing up hearing al these stories has numbed his son to the point that he thinks everything that comes out of his father's mouth is fiction. Things come to a head when the son is about to become a father and his father is on the verge of dying. Wanting to know the truth he digs through the past and finds unexpected answers.
The movie and the musical is full of fantastic characters including a mermaid, a giant, a werewolf and a witch. The direction by Susan Strohman and scenic design by Julian Crouch all lead to a technically beautiful show to look at.
Mr. Norbert Leo Butz once again turns in a great performance as the lead, Edward Bloom. I thoroughly enjoy him as an actor, he has a strong voice and everyman looks. He is just a fantastic entertainer and a perfect fit for the role. He seamlessly transitions between the older and the younger Edward. Most of all we as the audience love the delivery of his stories and his matter-of-factness. It's this simple charm that really holds the show together.
More and more we are seeing studios bring hit movies to the musical stage. It is a tricky business figuring out which ones will make the transition as a commercial success. Big Fish works for me. It has all the elements to be successful if the audience can let themselves get lost in the story and suspend disbelief like they should. Catch it if you can and get lost in the story.