“My father and I were like strangers that knew each other very well.” (Big Fish) The excitement of seeing a product before it goes to Broadway may lead to disappointment. The Adams Family after its pre-Broadway run in Chicago changed much of the story by the time it arrived on Broadway. To know that your reaction to these shows actually helps form them gives you a sense of being part of the creative process. With that being said, I would like to express my concern for the show.
The first act of the show was a bunch of stores that an old man tells his son. No common thread except for the fathers overwhelming ability to make a simple story a fantastical story that has everyone hooked. The first act felt like CATS, nothing truly bringing these stories together, no purpose no reason for the audience to stay past intermission. I thought about leaving at intermission but felt that there had to be more to this story in order for them to make it into a musical, so I stayed.
The second act is where all of the important story content is. It is where you learn the son’s true desire to know his father, and a father’s reason for such fantastical tales. I am not sure if there was a dry eye in the audience by the end of the show, as the touching moments at the end are those of a son realizing the fathers need for this stories were not to hide the truth but to inspire and drive the son to greatness.
While the product 5 weeks into pre-views was plagued with sound issues, a few minor staging issues, and a long production time (2hours 30 minute, not counting intermission) it is a great production. I hope that when they arrive on Broadway that they can find some cliff hanger to hold audiences over to the second act that will ensure that everyone sees the wonderful acting, directing and the final breath taking story.
Big Fish on Broadway will be a must see, hopefully with a few Tony nominations. While I do not think it will last as long as some shows I think it will have a few good years. If possible I would return to see it before I leaves Chicago. I hope that it again will grace a Chicago stage for its national tour as I would enjoy the chance to witness it again.