krystal joy brown & bobby steggert

BIG FISH co-stars Krystal Joy Brown and Bobby Steggert attend Opening Night post party celebration at Roseland in New York City. (Photo courtesy Bruce Glikas @ Broadway.com)

*The enchanting story of a father and son struggling to understand each other is the heart of the hit new musical Big Fish which had one of the splashiest Broadway opening nights, ever!

The catchy production began performances on Broadway, Thursday, September 5, 2013, and had a splashy opening on Sunday, October 6, 2013 at the Neil Simon Theatre (250 West 52nd Street, NYC).  And from all accounts, this spectacular musical is expected to have one whale of a Broadway run with critics touting it as having just the right bait for Tony nominations.

The cast had a lot to celebrate at the flashy after party at Roseland as early reviews recommend that everyone go fishing because from every angle – lighting, costumes, dance numbers, performances – this is one big fish that is the prize catch of Broadway!

Directed by five-time Tony Award winner Susan Stroman, with music and lyrics by Grammy and Tony Award nominee Andrew Lippa, and a book by Grammy and BAFTA Award nominee John August, Big Fish has all the trappings of a successful run.  From dancing trees, a fish flying right out of the orchestra pit, a mermaid who makes cameo appearances and a rear view of dancing elephants — this child friendly play is filled with incredible imaginary sets that will take you to a magical wonderland.  Along the Disneyesque way you are introduced to many fairytales that will make you laugh, cry and dance in your seats.  This production is about dreaming, loving and living bigger.

Starring two-time Tony Award winner Norbert Leo Butz as Edward Bloom, Tony Award nominee Kate Baldwin as Sandra Bloom, Tony Award nominee Bobby Steggert as Will Bloom, Krystal Joy Brown as Josephine Bloom, Anthony Pierini and Zachary Unger alternating as Young Will, Ryan Andes as Karl, Ben Crawford as Don Price, and Tony Award nominee Brad Oscar as Amos Calloway, Big Fish features JC Montgomery, Ciara Renée, Kirsten Scott and Sarrah Strimel, in a cast of 27 that includes Preston Truman Boyd, Bree Branker, Alex Brightman, Joshua Buscher, Robin Campbell, Bryn Dowling, Jason Lee Garrett, Leah Hofmann, Synthia Link, Angie Schworer, Lara Seibert, Tally Sessions, Cary Tedder and Ashley Yeater.

Big Fish centers on Edward Bloom, a traveling salesman who lives life to its fullest… and then some! Edward’s incredible, larger-than-life stories thrill everyone around him – most of all, his devoted wife Sandra.  But their son Will, about to have a child of his own, is determined to find the truth behind his father’s epic tales. Will visits his father and tries one last time to find out the truth behind the tall tales.  As Edward and Will’s relationship becomes increasingly strained, Will must decide whether to accept his father’s wild stories as fact or risk losing him completely.

Big Fish has scenic design by Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award winner Julian Crouch, costume design by six-time Tony Award winner William Ivey Long, lighting design by two-time Tony Award winner Donald Holder, sound design by Los Angeles Drama Critics Award winner Jon Weston, projection design by Drama Desk Award winner Benjamin Pearcy for 59 Productions, wig and hair design by Paul Huntley, make-up design by Angelina Avallone, musical direction by Mary-Mitchell Campbell, orchestrations by Tony Award winner Larry Hochman and dance arrangements by Sam Davis.

Big Fish is produced by Dan Jinks, Bruce Cohen and Stage Entertainment USA with Roy Furman, Edward Walson, James L. Nederlander, Broadway Across America/Rich Entertainment Group, John Domo, and in association with Parrothead Productions, Lucky Fish, Peter May/Jim Fantaci, Harvey Weinstein/Carole L. Haber, Dancing Elephant Productions, CJ E&M, Ted Liebowitz, Ted Hartley, Clay Floren and Columbia Pictures.

Big Fish is based on the 1998 novel “Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions” by Daniel Wallace, and the 2003 critically acclaimed film from Columbia Pictures written by John August.  Directed by Tim Burton, the film starred Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, Billy Crudup, Jessica Lange and Helena Bonham Carter, and was nominated for an Academy Award, Grammy Award, 4 Golden Globe Awards and 7 BAFTA Awards.  Big Fish had its pre-Broadway world premiere at Chicago’s Oriental Theatre in a critically-lauded 5-week engagement from Tuesday, April 2, 2013, through Sunday, May 5, 2013.

waka waka

MOTHER AFRICA Waka Waka dance number (Photo courtesy Circus der Sinne)

*Celebrate the Holiday Season with the Joy of Africa!  Merry and bright, Mother Africa will shine on 42nd Street in a powerful performance of stunning African artistry when Circus Der Sinne makes its U.S. premiere of Mother Africa from December 6, 2013 – January 5, 2014 at The New Victory Theater, New York City’s premier performing arts venue for kids and families.  Featuring a diverse cast from different countries throughout the African continent, Mother Africa mixes modern circus arts with traditional African dance and music.  Mother Africa has a running time of 90 minutes including one intermission, and is recommended for everyone ages five and older.

Based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Circus Der Sinne’s Mother Africa features a cast of more than two dozen acrobats, musicians and dancers who will fill The New Victory stage with breathtaking feats, exuberant afro-beats and a swirl of colorful bazin and kitenge fabrics.  Rare acts like the thrilling Icarian Games from Ethiopia, in which foot jugglers toss fellow acrobats into the air, join crowd favorites like a chair stack from Tanzania, and a contortionist from Kenya described as “the most flexible man in the world.”

A live band keeps the party going with every strike of the congos and strum of the mbira, while stilt dancers, gumboot steppers and a marvel of traditional masks showcase Africa’s expressive dance culture.  Rich in rhythm and robust in song, Mother Africa has earned rave reviews around the globe and has performed for nearly 1 million people worldwide since the show’s debut in 2006.

The performers of Circus Der Sinne, which means “Circus of Joy,” received their training at director Winston Ruddle’s African Acrobatic Academy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, which has an open door policy — anyone can join, watch and audition.  Young people who exhibit significant talent are invited to study a suitable artistic discipline and participate in a program where all materials, meals and daily transportation to and from the school are paid for by the Academy.

Over the years, Ruddle has trained over 150 young African performers, and for most of them, the African Acrobatic Academy is an opportunity to escape the poverty of their homeland.  The young performers’ dedication to their art form and cultural heritage translates into an effusive and seemingly inexhaustible joy for performance, hence the company’s name.

Additionally, the academy supports social aid projects in Africa, such as Karl-Heinz Böhm’s Menschen für Menschen (“Humans for Humans”), which provides social aid to Ethiopia.

Directed by co-founder Winston Ruddle and produced by co-founder Hubert Schober, Mother Africa is choreographed by Sibongile Prudence, Clive Madlala and Mduduzi Magagula, with music direction by Finn Martin.  Lighting design is by Daniel Volk and costumes are by Tsendbjamba Erdeneshoo and Tumaini Mutru.

The talented performers are Jean Marc Kouassi Agbogba, Tomas Teka Alemu, Tamrat Yemane Ayalew, Christina Jacob Benedict, Benick Pompido Dominick, Adama Doumbouya, Baraka Juma Ferouz, Roy Gregory Figueiredo, Yusuphu Ramadhani Fuko, Merherete Yeshewamebrat Kassa, Clive Madlala, Mduduzi Magagula, Silethemba Magonya, Nurdini Athumani Makimu, Nomathamsanqa Treatie Mkwananzi, Khamis Suleiman Mlenge, Theresa Makaita Muteta, Lazarus Gitu Mwangi, Richard Leonard Mwanisawa, Bizimana Emmanuel Ntavyo, Omary Ramadhani Omary, Fadhili Ramadhani Rashidi, Wubshet Amare Sahale, Sewasew Alemu Truneh, Ibrahim H. Mussa Tulwo and Stephen Gambo William.

Watch a trailer of Circus Der Sinne’s “Mother Africa”:

About The New Victory Theater
The New Victory Theater introduces extraordinary performing artists from around the world to extraordinary audiences in New York City, bringing kids to the arts and arts to kids. Created in 1995 for young New Yorkers, their families and schoolmates, The New Victory Theater presents a diverse season of international companies at low ticket prices year after year. Through the theater’s award-winning education programs, The New Victory continues to provide access to schools and communities of New York City who seek to experience and engage with the work on our stages, often for the very first time. The theater’s contributions to the cultural landscape of the city were celebrated by the prestigious New York critics’ organization, The Drama Desk, which presented The New Victory Theater with a 2012 Special Award for “providing enchanting, sophisticated children’s theater that appeals to the child in all of us, and for nurturing a love of theater in young people.”

About The New 42nd Street
Building on the foundation of seven historic theaters, The New 42nd Street leads the dynamic evolution of the reinvented 42nd Street, cultivating a unique New York City cultural and entertainment destination through its three projects: The New Victory Theater, a performing arts theater devoted to kids and families; The New 42nd Street Studios, a state-of-the-art, 10-story performing arts complex for rehearsal, performance and arts administration; and The Duke on 42nd Street, an intimate black-box theater.  An independent, nonprofit organization, The New 42nd Street is committed to the transformational power of the arts.

New York based award-winning journalist Audrey J. Bernard covers entertainment, fashion & beauty, film, lifestyles and travel for the Electronic Urban Report and other outlets.  Contact her via: [email protected]

audrey bernard

Audrey J. Bernard