by Lorie Lewis Ham
If you are in need of something to help you forget the political craziness that has been going on, head over to the Selma Arts Center this weekend and see Big Fish. This show will lift your spirits and take you out of the real world for awhile!Big Fish is a musical written by Andrew Lippa and John August, based on the book by Daniel Wallace and the 2003 film written by August and directed by Tim Burton. The story revolves around the relationship between traveling salesman Edward Bloom (Tyler Jarrett), and his adult son Will (Marcus Cardenas), who is trying to figure out who his father really is behind all of those tall tale “big fish” stories that his father has told him all of his life. The story starts with an older Edward and an adult Will who is about to get married, and goes back and forth between that time, and their past when Will (Marcus Valdes, Landon Davis) was a boy. We get to see Edward’s fanciful stories come to life on stage as he tells them–stories where he is always a hero. As an adult, Will is frustrated and just wants his father to tell him the truth about his life and stop telling stories. Edward’s stories include a giant named Karl (Brandon Cleveland), a circus ringmaster named Amos Calloway (Tommie Hill), a witch (Camille Gaston), a mermaid (Andrea Ruiz), the old west, a war, and more. We also see the sweet love story between Edward and Will’s mom Sandra (Lesley Ogle) develop through his stories.
The songs in this musical are a mix of hilarious, sweet, and just plain fun and silly. However, what stands out the most to me in Big Fish is the amazing story! It is sweet, funny, inspiring, and heartwarming all wrapped up into one delightful show. If you are unfamiliar with the story like I was, you will also have some funny and sweet secrets to discover along the way.Musical highlights include Camille (The Witch) in “I Know What You Want” with her big beautiful voice, and one of the sweetest love songs I’ve ever heard, “I Don’t Need A Roof,” sung by Lesley (Sandra) singing to Edward toward the end of his life. Tommie (Amos) and Brandon (Karl) were absolutely hilarious and brought most of the funniest moments to the show. Tyler (Edward) did a wonderful job of bringing to life this fascinating, delightful, and loveable character, and he and Lesley have a nice chemistry.
This is a feel good show filled with fantasy, heroes, love, family, joy, and just a bit of sadness. You also learn along with Will how to truly live life to its fullest and always be the hero of your story. Everyone involved with the show did a wonderful job, with special kudos going out to co-directors Nicolette C. Anderson and Dominic Grijalva for putting it all together. I highly recommend that you go see Big Fish this weekend! Let’s pack out every performance because I think we could all use some escape right now.
Big Fish performs at the Selma Arts Center, 1935 High Street in Selma, CA through November 19. Tickets can be purchased by calling their box office (559) 891-2238 or online.
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