'Big Fish' Explores The Power Of Stories
One of my favorite family stories comes from my father's childhood, and involves my grandmother preventing my father and his older brother from following their father into town by hooking the straps of their overalls over a couple of laundry lines. I don't know if this story is actually true. When I think too hard about it, the edges begin to fray and dissolve, so I don't dwell on the details. I just focus on the glorious notion of two small boys running up and down opposite clothes lines.
Every family has at least partly apocryphal stories—“big fish” stories that may or may not be factual, but are nonetheless repeated as truth. Music Theatre Wichita is bringing to the stage the musical version of Big Fish, based on the film adaptation by John August of the novel by Daniel Wallace. John August wrote the book for the musical, as well, with music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa.
The story revolves around the tales told by salesman Edward Bloom to his son William. For the character of William Bloom, unraveling his father's stories, pulling away the threads of whimsy, is necessary to understanding who his dying father was, and remains.
Few concepts better lend themselves to the freewheeling joy and spectacle of the stage musical than the fanciful tales of a traveling salesman. You can catch Big Fish on stage at Century II, from July 22nd through the 26th.