Big Fish - April 12 - April 14, 2018

Jamestown High

 From The Director's Chair 

In the history of musical theatre Big Fish is regarded as a "flop."  It ran for just 98 performances before closing in December 2013. I can remember walking down the street in New York and seeing a Big Fish billboard and thinking, "Why did they make that into a musical?"


There are many reasons to not pick Big Fish:


·   It is an unknown show. I can’t count the number of people(including “theatre people”) who have rolled their eyes at this choice.


·   Those familiar with the Tim Burton movie, might not appreciate the changes to the story.


·   One actor has to play a man at at least three different ages and places in his life.


·   The storyline is anything but linear, it can be hard to follow, and there is just some wacky stuff happening.


So why Big Fish for a high school show?


·      It is great material--- told with a balance of traditional musical theatre structure and contemporary style. I knew we could use Big Fish as an instructional tool about traditional musical theatre components, but with a more resonant story.


·      It is full of simple profound truths about family, fantasy, potential, inspiration, and connection. Those are all things I think we need to experience more.


·      It is has a variety of parts that both honor and challenge the talents of a high school performer(or any performer for that matter).


John August and Andrew Lippa have taken Daniel Wallace's book and given us a show that empowers us to "Be The Hero." Edward Bloom is the quintessential "Big fish in a small pond." He tells us that his life was small, but he wants to be remembered as "big." High school is full of opportunities for students to "blend in," but this musical shows us the importance of standing out. Edward's encounters with a mermaid, witch, giant, werewolf, poison assassin, and more are all places where he could shrink into a secondary character. However, Edward positions himself to be an important & positive part of every story. He does so without discounting anyone else's importance. What a great matter, but so does everyone else.


So that's why I love Big Fish, because we all need a reminder that everyone can be a hero. Everyone can stand out, everyone can make a difference, everyone can be remembered in a positive way, and everyone can "change the world with just one thought." That's how I see things...


From The Director's Chair,



J. Harvey Stone

Jamestown Theatre

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