Honesty Time

Keeping it real since 2013


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True Life: I cried at Hunchback

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Disney fans, movie fans, theatre lovers and fangirls, cultured folks, and friends of all of the above, may have heard the growing praises for the new musical adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

And if you haven’t heard yet, you should.

By the way, the show may be produced by Disney Theatrical Group, but this is not marketed towards children. The Disney name doesn’t even appear on the poster or any merchandise. While some people are oddly turned off by the dark tone, I love it. There was a talkback with the cast after one of the performances and, I believe it was Michael Arden but stop me if I’m wrong, said it best when he said that he grew up watching the movie, but now this version of the story has grown up with him. Love it. So true. I adored having the songs and characters I already knew being explored in a different way. It is also more faithful to the original story by Victor Hugo. I don’t believe that stories need to be dumbed down or sugar coated for audiences, so I heartily applaud the truthful, faithful, and emotional storytelling of this adaptation.

Talk Back with the cast. Yes, Patrick Page has on a Spiderman shirt.

Talk Back with the cast.

Truth: The first night I saw it, two ladies behind me left at intermission because it was not the Disney that they were expecting. Those who react to a show in such a way are closed minded and missing out on life’s experiences. Suit yourself, but if you choose to leave a performance because it’s not playing out exactly as you wanted it to, then I find you to be selfish. Good day, sir.

I mentioned for a split second up there “the first night I saw it.” Which means, yes, I saw it twice. I went back two days later because I couldn’t get the show out of my head, and emotionally, I wasn’t done with it. The first time I was mostly in awe. I was sitting very close, and being an all around theatre person, I spent the entire show trying to take in the whole story, the set, the lights, the costumes, the sound design, and everything. My jaw was dropped the entire time, not only because I was a full time Chuckie Finster Mouth Breather that night, but also because I couldn’t believe what I was experiencing. The second time was less of a shock, so I was able to delve into the lyrics and narrative a bit more, which resulted in a lot more tears than the first night.

Yup. I’m a big crier, even when it comes to works of fiction, and I’m never ashamed to admit it. I still get misty when I listen to Big Fish in the car, and don’t you dare get me started on the face-rain that happens when Sirius Black dies.

Yes, I sat nice and close. The set was a sight to behold.

Yes, I sat nice and close. The set was a sight to behold.

Here are 7 reasons why you’ll cry because of Hunchback.

  1. Your high school student walks out on stage and, surprise, is part of the production. Ok, fine. This isn’t applicable to most people, but it was for me. The choir accompanying the professional cast on the stage is made up of your everyday, talented folk from New Jersey. My student, now a senior, auditioned and was given the once in a lifetime chance to join this production. As I no longer work at that school, I had no idea he was doing this. One of the kindest and most genuine students, he is also hard to miss as he is tall and sports a curly, ginger head of hair. He walked right out and sat in the first row of the choral boxes, and I couldn’t mistake him. Apologies to everyone who sat near me as I exclaimed “That’s my kid! That’s my student! My student is up there!” I tried to be quiet but who knows how quiet I was. I was so proud. I love my students with all of my heart. And so, I cried.
  2. The show is starting. I tend to get misty eyed and let a stray tear loose when I listen to overtures, both in recordings and at shows. I feel that I am blessed to witness the gift that I am about to receive. When the opening is as powerful and well-done as it was with Hunchback, the chances of this happening are quadrupled. Thank you, orchestra and Continuo Arts choir. For most people, it might be a goosebumps moment, but, like I said, I’m a crier.
  3. Ciara Renée is singing “God Help the Outcasts.” Have you ever been an outcast? Do you understand that feeling of otherness? Come, child, here, have some tissues. Not to mention that Ciara had REAL ACTUAL TEARS in her eyes, so if I was welling up, seeing that made me actually cry. I cry when other people cry too. I’m a crier. Also, as a theatre lover, I can appreciate a truly well-done stage picture. The end of the song had Esmeralda singing out to the world (or, er, the house), with Quasimodo lurking farther up, against the colorful stained glass. Feeling the same feelings, but being so far apart, trapped inside the breathtaking prison, the merging of two people into one shared situation… it was a lot for my emotions.
  4. Quasimodo is singing “Heaven’s Light.” Michael Arden is the best Quasimodo I can imagine. His physicality was not a caricature, and he was honest. His honesty allowed Quasimodo to have a little humor, a lot of authenticity in his feelings and actions, and a truly broken spirit. His voice, though mangled a bit in speaking as the half-formed, mostly deaf young man, was clear as could be while singing. Arden’s tone was as pure and striking as the bells above him, and by the end of the song, I was brought to tears simply by his voice mixed with the ringing of said bells. I can’t even freaking tell you what he was singing about because by the end of the song, I was so emotional that I had no idea what was happening.
    Side note: Has that ever happened to anyone else? You’re so into something, you’re responding emotionally, you love it, but what the hell just happened? All memory of the actual content gone?

    Photo by Jerry Dalia. Source: Playbill.com Michael Arden and Ciara Renée during "Top of the World"

    Photo by Jerry Dalia. Source: Playbill.com Michael Arden and Ciara Renée during “Top of the World”

  5.  Ciara Renée and Andrew Samonsky are singing “Someday.” I wish there was a recording of them singing this for me to play over and over again. Part of the power of a lot of this show, but in particular this song, is how the themes are, sadly, always applicable. She’s singing about justice’s dawn, and learning to live and let others live, which is something we, as a world, struggle with immensely. Then they sing something to the effect of “someday, these dreams will be real/’Til then we’ll wish upon the moon,” which is one of the single most beautiful vocal moments ever, and the exact moment when, if you aren’t already dabbing your eyes, you’ll be scrambling for your tissues. You can listen to the super hip, super 90’s All-4-One recording, but it’s just not the same (literally. The songs are different from each other, but close).

    You’re welcome for this fabs 90s style music video. Yas.
  6. Michael Arden is breaking the fourth wall (as is done masterfully so many times during the show to aid in narration, as the style calls for storytelling, and not just action) and giving a bit of an epilogue to Quasimodo’s story. The story he tells is almost direct from the book, in a chapter entitled “The Marriage of Quasimodo.” By this point, there was a distinct little river streaming down from one of my eyes and I gave up on trying to wipe it away. That’s some real honesty time there. I don’t want to spoil it, but the words were sweet, simple, and really hit the audience members right in the feels. Love and devotion and loyalty are eternal, y’all.
  7.  Oh, well, here comes the finale. The entire cast and choir are singing. Erik Liberman, as cunning Clopin, comes to end the show, just as he began it. And then everyone joins in. And they’re just singing “bells, bells, bells, bells” and they’re just standing in a line. And then they’re not even singing any words anymore. But they’re singing with such conviction. And pride. And they move downstage. And I’m still crying, and then the lights go out, and then I’m on my feet applauding.

I could continue to gush about all aspects of the show… Patrick Page is the world’s best, most human villain and I’d also like to listen to him talk all day long. The sound design was brilliant in a way that I know most non-theatre enthusiasts are sure to notice, but not understand as I do. The congregants were versatile and fluid in their movements from one part to the next, taking on each little role with a firm mastery. The lights exemplified the perfect use of color theory that I wish my students would pay attention more attention to. Hello, all that orange and blue? The teal and purple? Quasi almost always being in what reads as a pure light? UGH love it.

But I have to leave it here. I could go on all day. I almost have. Sorry not sorry.

Be ready for wherever this show lands next, and catch it when you can. You will be sorry if you miss it. There’s only one more week left to see this show in its current life at Papermill Playhouse in New Jersey. You can bet that when it goes to Broadway (and it has to. It’s too powerful to just sit on a shelf now), I will see it again.


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A Message From The Cat



Humans, 

I write to you because my owner (aka MOOOOOOOM) is not capable of doing so herself. 

Similar to how she is incapable of feeding me at 4am. Or tolerating my Velcro tongue kisses on her hands for the full required 20 minutes. I don’t know what fibromyalgia and eczema are, but I don’t care. I shall lick. And whine. 

My mother is busy because she has been using a loud machine every day and she says funny sounding words at it and then yells. 

Actually, the same words and yelling she directs towards me at 4am. Which must mean that she loves and worships that funny machine.

I know I worship it. Because when she uses it, she drops small, thin snakes on the ground. Then I get to hunt the snakes and eat them. Then I get to throw them up before the sun has come up because I don’t really like to eat those little snakes, I just want to show them who is in charge. 

Lately, Mom has been coming home very late. She complains about kids and some things called “costumes” and “microphones”. 

She doesn’t even have time to feed me. So her mother, my grandma, has to feed me my gooshy food at night. But I am fussy, and will only accept the food from mother’s hands. So I run away from my grandma. Then she chases me. This must be what you humans call exercise. You’re welcome. 

When my mother comes home, many hours after my dinner time, she yells. Again. It must be that she is glad to see me and is so happy that I am still awake, out of my room, and that I waited to eat until she got home. That must be it. I am so kind to her. 

On nights like tonight, when she arrives home way after my bedtime, I eagerly await her so that she may worship and feed me properly. But she gets right into my big bed and turns off the lights and flashing picture box. And gives me no pets. 

I must stage a protest. I will. Perhaps at 3am this next morning. Perhaps I shall vomit. Or knead her sore legs. Or jump on the large wood box where she keeps her sticks and snakes and bottles. Perhaps I shall bring her a mouse to show her that I harbor no hard feelings to her recent neglect. But I must do so with much fanfare, and announce my gift, so that she knows how sincere I am. Yes, 3am will be the perfect moment for this.

I am aware that Mom says that she is “almost done with this work”, so I assume that means that she will soon pet me for hours again. She is doing a poor job serving me. Good thing I love her. 

I must take my slumber now, as I have to wake up soon and commence running from one side of the room to other in order to stay limber. 

A cat’s life is so busy. I don’t know what my mom is complaining about. Busy? She doesn’t even bring me feather demons like I do for her. She is lazy. Oh, you humans. 

Sincerely, 

Licorice

(The cat)

(The superior one)


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How A Costumer Shops

Welcome. To. My. Hell.

I’m about to take you on a photo journey of what it is like to go fabric and notion shopping as a costume designer.

It is frustrating. It is overwhelming, and incomplete because at certain points I stopped taking pictures because #frustration.

Here we go.

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Thought 1: Why why why why are the aisles SO NARROW today? It’s like a cave. It’s claustrophobic. I can’t fit my cart through here. So of course I pushed the racks and rearranged because I’m a stubborn Taurus with a little OCD. Oops

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I also brought my gigantic binder that has all of the information for my three shows in it. Well, now I have that much less room in my cart. Still in a narrow aisle. I imagine this is what Elton John’s closet might look like.

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Now I am also confused because that fabric says “Merry Christmas” and… What? I realized that I’m not actually sure what day it is. We’re pretty far from Christmas, right?

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My cart is already full. But I’ve only just begun. Stress.

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Can’t I just cuddle with this monkey fleece instead? Maybe I did, and maybe I didn’t.

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My students requested something Earthy and natural for one character’s costume. Is this taking things too far? Nah.

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Today, annoying glitter fused sequin fabric, you have not won. I did not put any of this in my cart, even though I usually use it for every show. Not this time, sewing machine destroyer. Not this time.

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This fabric was right next to it. It is shiny and pretty and got to join my too-full cart.

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This is a real thing. Looks like fancy satin. Feels soft like flannel! Excuse me while I update my wardrobe because this is amazing.

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I stopped to scowl at this glitter costume satin, which I used in a show last year. That costume was a big fat fail. Scowl scowl scowl.

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I am overwhelmed by the trim and ribbon wall. So much. So many. Too many. Which to choose? More like which not to choose.

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Welcome to Mt. Everest.

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While I wait on a very long line to get my fabric cut to size, I contemplate buying cat print fabric, because I am bored and a cat lady. I manage to resist the charm.

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I see this at the cutting counter. I contemplate making myself an Elsa costume, because I’ve lost all control of my life so maybe now’s the right time. I don’t, because I don’t hate myself that much yet.

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Remember when I posted about birds on hats for Hello, Dolly? Yeah, I’m doing it.

Not picture is the long line to check out, me trying to resist all of the candy and the large bags of Chex Mix while waiting to check out, and my struggle trying to get all of this junk to my car.

Happy musical season, everyone.


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So Many Cats.

I’m totally nuts and have 3 shows coming up and I already can’t keep track of the days.

Surprise it’s Monday again and I forgot about that until 10pm.

So here are some of the face charts that I’ve done for Cats. So many cats. So. Many.

Jennyanydots Makeup

Munkustrap Makeup Exotica Makeup Grizabella Makeup Carbucketty Makeup Demeter Makeup

So that’s what I’ve been working on everyday since Friday. 30 charts and a lot of Friends.


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How to Quick Change a Tin Man

Wizard of Oz finished yesterday, after 5 weekends of either 3 or 4 shows.

It was a massive show to costume, but the artist director and I did it all and it was a very good looking show.

My biggest task every day was changing one of the Kansas characters into the Tin Man, and then at the end of the show, back into a farmhand.

Getting him made up to be the Tin Man was not so difficult. The whole process probably took 15-20 minutes, if even. I never really had the time to look at the clock and figure it out. But he was always down in the green room during the twister, and would be dressed and made up by the beginning of the Scarecrow’s song, sometimes even before the Munchkins got back downstairs from their scene. Not bad, for those of you who know the show/movie well.

Taking him apart at the end?

Hah.

 

Hah.

Remove the Tin Man get up, put on farmer clothes, and remove makeup. This was done in less than 2 minutes. I think we may have gotten it down to 1 min 30 seconds.

I’m looking at the pictures I took last night of the change. As he starts to walk offstage for his change, it was 4:38pm.

By time he was already on stage and I had organized most of the pieces of Tin Man carnage, it was 4:41pm. So that’s 3 minutes for him to walk offstage, get everything changed – including shoes – have a second to prep before his entrance, and time for me clean up the wings (backstage). That’s pretty boss.

Before I started the process of costuming this show, I tried to look online everywhere for tips about how to do this change, but there were only a few videos of people getting into Tin Man makeup (the West End production is one!!) and one of someone getting out. So here are my tips and tricks for a successful Tin Man with less stress.

So here are the products that I used to get the Tin Man makeup on:

  • Kyrolan Aquacolor in Silver
  • Mehron metallic powder in silver – only used during intermission for minor touch ups to the silver.
  • E.L.F. cream eyeliner in black
  • Kryolan Supracolor cream wheel – used the white for highlights.
  • NYX jumbo eye pencil in Milk – to cover his brows and prime his eyelids
  • NYX Wicked Lippie in Cold Hearted
  • Cover Girl eye shadow palette 205 – Tropical Fusion – the blue color for his eyes

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These are the 3 brushes I used. Two are from E.L.F., and one of them is actually a paint brush. This proves that you don’t need to spend big bucks on name brand makeup brushes, because these brushes kick butt and I used them for everything. As a matter of fact, I just ordered more for Cats. To apply the silver, I just used a regular, damp triangle makeup sponge.

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For those wondering, this is what the Kryolan Aquacolor in silver looks like. I applied it to my hands with a damp sponge and this is only after one swipe and a few pats. The coverage is complete and opaque. If you’re wondering how it handles different pigmentation due to different skin tones, acne, scars, etc, I challenge you to find the massively discolored scar in this picture. Aquacolors are also very bulletproof. He was definitely sweating a lot in that Tin Man suit, and during intermission I only needed to touch up the areas around his funnel hat, where the combination of friction plus sweat rubbed the makeup off just a little bit.

NOW, here’s the tricky part: Turning the Tin Man back into Hickory.

Ponds cold cream

This stuff. Cold cream. Isn’t that for old ladies? I don’t know. But cold cream plus makeup remover wipes (the CVS knock-off brand in the big blue package) does the trick. To be efficient, I set up three wet wipes – two with cold cream – and two dry Kleenex towels, and did this well before he even got off stage. I also set up his clothes neatly folded on a ladder, so everything was accessible.

 

There I am freaking out for our last ever quick change! Yes, it’s dark back there! But the first picture is of the makeup wipes all lined up on a rung of a ladder, the second is of each item of clothing on a separate rung, and like I said, me.

Here he comes! 4:38pm

Here he comes! 4:38pm

Order of operations:

  1. Take the heart, axe, funnel hat, and cowl off. RIP the body off.
  2. WHILE someone else is essentially cutting him out of the legs and unzipping his silver boots.
  3. WHILE he is removing his gloves and arms and boots.
  4. Then, hand him his Hickory shirt, which has been outfitted with Velcro so that we don’t need to fiddle with buttons.
  5. As someone is helping him get his legs into his pants and he starts to do his pants, slather his face with the cold cream wipes. Rub.
  6. At some point, Toto is coming upstairs so you have to pause to get the dog ready for its entrance as well.
  7. Someone helps the Tin Man into his farm shoes, while another person puts his suspenders on, while he and I finish removing the makeup.
  8. One person stands by with a flashlight so we can see where he still has silver or other makeup.
  9. Dry towel wipe every now and then to remove residue.
  10. Use the last makeup remover wipe to get off any remaining sparkles, lipstick, or blue eye shadow.
  11. Hat.
  12. Go.
  13. Rejoice.
Carnage at 4:41pm

Carnage at 4:41pm

Now, while I just washed the Aquacolor off of my hand with soap and water in a matter of 15 seconds, the addition of other makeup (eyeliner, shadow, etc) and the time crunch means that for this Tin Man situation, the emollient cold cream works better than just a soap and water rag.

So there you go. 3 people + 1 Tin Man = 1 minute and 30 seconds, give or take. Boom. Done. Celebrate.

Final curtain call.  Hickory saying thanks and goodbye at 4:46pm

Final curtain call. Hickory saying thanks and goodbye at 4:46pm

And now it’s all over.

Good thing I have 3 more shows coming up in January, February, and March!


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Another Crazed Picture Post

I’m getting ready for show #2! Here comes All Shook Up. And I’m done with 5 weeks of the 12 weeks of physical therapy, so those appointments also keep me busy. And I have almost no idea what day it is again! I have no idea what I’m doing! Get ready for a picture post! My week in pictures, again! Minus pictures of physical therapy, because I really don’t need to share pictures of the 60-90 pelvic tilts I do every session. Ok? Here we go!

 

First up! Sweeney Todd with the NY Philharmonic at Lincoln Center!

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Here’s the list of the leads in the show. First of all – amazing. Second of all – the question mark was the best part. Click on that to watch clips from the show and at about 1:08 see that Audra McDonald was the Beggar Woman! NY Phil punk’d us all and surprised everyone with Audra! My queen!

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The stage – pre show. If you watched the video, you see that obviously it doesn’t stay this way.

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Here’s curtain call! Photo credz actually goes to one of the kids from 9 to 5. Another FYI – We were all on our feet, smacking our hands together so hard right at this moment. The ensemble, the NY Philharmonic, the lead actors, and the conductor all gave jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring performances. To be honest, when the lights went out, way before the cast even took their curtain call, the entire audience was up on their feet. It was that good.

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Here I am, looking absolutely crazy/crazed with Christian Borle, who was really nice when I asked for a picture.

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Here I am with Ryan Andes! He was in the ensemble of Sweeney Todd and even more importantly was Karl the giant in Big Fish My friends and I met him at the stage door when we saw Big Fish, and he was honestly the nicest person ever and stopped to have a full conversation with us. I wanted to take a picture with him, but our ride showed up and kind of clogged traffic on the street, so we dashed. Here we are a few months later and I had my chance again! I may have delayed our school bus leaving by insisting that I stalk the stage door to wait for him. Sorry not sorry that I’m so weird and obsessive. Also speaking of Big Fish and Ryan Andes, please click here to see the world’s best GIF ever that I found on BroadwayBox.com. It’s really kind of massive so I didn’t want to post it on this page itself. But it’s the best, ever.

The cats missed me. Here they are being cute.

We’re doing some set painting and light hanging with the kids to get ready for All Shook Up. Some progress pics.

I bought fabric for All Shook Up! Two shopping carts’ worth, actually. And then I bought a serger too. Oops. I don’t even know how to use it, to be perfectly honest. Double oops.

So yesterday my pal and I went into the city again to go to 54 Below to see “54 Below Sings Side Show!” So next to Big Fish, my other musical obsession is Side Show, the show about conjoined twins Violet and Daisy Hilton. My friend and I are so nutty for it, so we got tickets to this awesome dinner and a show night. While in the city, I went to my favorite place to grab a bite to eat – Schmackary’s. Yes, my favorite place to eat in the city is a cookie place. They had two!!! gluten free flavors yesterday – monster cookie and sweet corn. I ate them both, obviously. Just thinking about the sweet corn cookie makes me salivate. Best cookie ever on this Earth. I took a lot of selfies because I’m crazy. And when we went to 54 Below, out seats were actually right next to the stage. Practically on stage. Afterwards, we met Norm Lewis, Jeff McCarthy, Alice Ripley (pictured with me! She was so nice! She’s so talented! I died!), and Nick Cearley from The Skivvies. A very successful evening!

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And finally, today, a student brought her dog to rehearsal. Best rehearsal ever? Close enough when there’s a dog involved.

So there you have it! My very busy, very exciting, very exhausting week! I hope you click on some of the links and check out The Skivvies and 54 Below and everything. They’re all awesome and worth checking out if you like theatre or musicals or music at all. Also, again, the Sweeney Todd video is phenomenal. Hopefully next week I’ll be less crazy!


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Time to Cry aka Big Fish Time

Big Fish. I don’t know what to say, but it’s time to say it. This movie, this book, this musical, has such a hold on me. What is it about Edward Bloom and his story that gets me? Guess what? Big girls do cry because all three variations of this story make me sob like a baby.

This morning, I spent a lot of time talking to my boss-lady about the spectacle that is Big Fish, the new Broadway musical (which is why I had the urge to write something about it today). We were talking about our spring show, All Shook Up (ugh, sorry, but just…ugh jukebox musicals), and she was saying that we should try to use projections to create the locales that we need. It will be visually interesting, unique, and saves us money on sets. Not to mention our “stage” (aka classroom) is itty bitty, so we need space saving ideas!

So of course, I told her about Big Fish and the drop-dead stunning projection, scenic, and lighting work that help set the scenes and the moods for each part of the show. Benjamin Pearcy, Donald Holder, and Julian Crouch made seamless magic together. Now that’s how different designers create a unified vision successfully. Take notes, children!

And then of course, I got all weepy and sentimental because we started watching clips of the show on YouTube and I love everything that has to do with Big Fish.

Daniel Wallace’s original novel is very different from the movie, which in turn is also different from the musical. The musical is a combination of both source materials, though it is larger than life in ways more similar to the movie than the book.

Susan Stroman and her spectacle, y’all. Also, you can’t employ William Ivey Long to costume a show and not have pure brilliance, detail, and magic up on that stage.

Speaking of magic and going on a totally new train of thought…

You know how some girls say that Disney ruined falling in love for them? I think Big Fish did that for me. When Edward Bloom is at the circus and sees Sandra, time literally stops. He is captivated by her because he knows that they are destined to be together. There is an entire song dedicated to time stopping in the new musical. I think I have always expected time to stop, the moment to stand still. Welp, that’s never happened for me. Maybe when I met my cats? Eh, not even then.

Someday, I want to open my window and see a well-dressed man, hopefully in tweed with elbow patches on his sweater or jacket, standing with a field full of my favorite flowers (purple roses and lilies, everyone. Just FYI). I don’t want him to get punched in the face a million times though. But I do want a “Daffodils” moment.

“Remembering a man’s stories makes him immortal, did you know that?”

I hope that with my enthusiasm for the show, I can make sure it’s remembered for what it meant to so many people. I am not affiliated with the show in any way (though gosh I wish I had been) but one of my saddest recent days was finding out that Big Fish set a closing date.

I know some people found the show cheesy and campy (I’m looking at you, student of mine who is actually hopefully never going to read this), and had problems with the fantasy versus reality. To them, I say that they missed the point, and that’s such a shame. The show is supposed to be clean-cut, fun, bright, and above all else, poignant (without being a drama).

The point of Will Bloom’s story is that he didn’t know what to believe about his often-absent, now ailing, father. Life was a fairy tale for Edward. Stories drove him forward in his life, and he was an excellent storyteller. Obviously, so is Norbert Leo Butz, who plays the role in the musical. He was able to play young Edward, old Edward, sick Edward, all with such a natural verve. It was impressive. And I just love to listen to NLB sing, of course.

Don’t we all have family members like Edward? A big fish tale in life, and one day in death. I’m thinking specifically of my grandfather, actually, who is in his mid-90s right now. I’m thinking of his photo album from the war and far-fetched stories like how he claims he invented Boston Cream doughnuts while he was a cook in the war (it has to do with undercooking bagels or buns or something like that).

In real life, Ryan Andes kind of is a giant, even without stilts. Also, the nicest person ever. Photo source: Paul Kolnik.

In real life, Ryan Andes kind of is a giant, even without stilts. Also, the nicest person ever. Photo source: Paul Kolnik.

I’m also thinking of Will’s struggle with his father, and the pain and frustration of losing trust and faith in a family member. It took tragedy to bring them back together. The time line is a matter of months in the musical, but in the movie Edward and his son are estranged for what seems to be quite some time.

Sometimes, I’m afraid of my own family hurting in the same way. We argue a lot. We don’t see eye to eye. The older I get, the harder it is to believe in my family. I find that I identify a bit with the character, played by Bobby Steggart in the musical.

For real, the way I describe this all, in short, to anyone in regards to my feelings about the musical is always “If you have ever loved any family member, ever, through disagreements or not, you will understand this.”

And you will cry. I cried every time the father and son duo were not in sync with one another. I cried during “Daffodils” because it was just so touching and a gorgeous way to end the first act. I really cried when Kate Baldwin sang “I Don’t Need a Roof” and I failed to keep myself together for the remainder of the show. Big Fish turns everyone into proud “ugly criers” for the night.

Spoiler alert.

In the end, all of Edward Bloom’s stories had some truth to them, and all of his stories were right there with him to say goodbye. Always believe in your loved ones. Sometimes, a big fish tale is just that. A little exaggerated and it won’t hurt anyone, but it certainly will add more spice to your life.

Perhaps my love for this story also comes from my love of fairy tales, folklore, and mythology. Disney movies are still my favorite movies, I’ve already spoken about my love for fairy tales and books related to the genre, and a good fantasy moment makes every glum day better for me.

Big Fish, in all of its incarnations, has this for me.

This fierceness garnered a great big "YAAASSSSSS" from my pals and me. Photo source Paul Kolnik

This fierceness garnered a great big “YAAASSSSSS” from my pals and me. Photo source Paul Kolnik

I’m so heartbroken that due to my sad wallet, I will never see Big Fish the musical again. I am blessed that I had to the chance to see it and I’m thankful that two of my great friends came alone for the journey on the last night of previews back in October. I’m glad that they’re both still my friends even after I smacked them with excitement when I saw taps come out on the stage for “Red, White and True”. I’m so glad that we all “awww”ed over “Daffodils” together and that we all gave major snaps and claps for the fierceness that is Ciara Renée as The Witch. Together we took a journey to watch elephants dance, a giant come to life, and a mermaid swim in the pit.

I haven’t even scratched the surface of what this show means to me, why I watch the movie on the reg, and why the book is my favorite.

It’s part of my heart. And I highly recommend that everyone checks out the story in whichever form you are able to. You have until December 29th to get your butt to the city to see the musical. I’ll be weeping silently to myself until the cast recording is released in February.

To end, here are two more videos that show off some of the cool visuals that took my breath away and captured my imagination during the show.

Thank you, Big Fish, and all of your many creators, the casts of both the movie and the musical (thanks y’all for signing my Playbill and being so talented and beyond friendly at the stage door), for giving me something so special that I feel speechless when I talk about it. That’s the end of my incoherent babble about a story that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.