the best thing to come out of the theater program – The Wichitan

MSU’s Theater Program, in conjunction with the University Choir and music department students, presented its biannual spring musical, Big Fish. The musical took place March 3-6 at the auditorium of the Fain Fine Arts Center.

I was a member of the big fish pit chorus and it was an amazing experience. I got to work with some amazing people, not just in the pit chorus, but in the cast and crew of the show. Everyone was so talented and I loved the audience because we had such great audiences every show night or matinee.

Big Fish is a Broadway musical written by Andrew Lippa and John August. It’s based on the 1998 novel, “Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions” written by Daniel Wallace but that’s not what matters. What matters (for those who haven’t seen it) is that Big Fish is a musical about love, fantasy, death, and the magical experiments the drama department delivered. Director and choreographer, Morgan Mallory, assistant professor of musical theater and acting, gives her interpretation of Big Fish.

“I see Big Fish as a love story, but instead of a traditional love story, it’s a story between a father and his son as they work on their relationship as the son tries to solidify his feelings and navigate the relationship with his father as his father leaves this earth,” Mallory said.

Mass Communication sophomore Ethan Boone plays Edward Bloom, the musical’s protagonist, Will’s father and Sandra Templeton’s husband/lover. Boone is not just an amazing actor, but an amazing person. It was an absolute privilege to rehearse and perform with him. He is a breathtaking person. Boone gives his take on his character, Edward.

“Edward is a sweet, caring guy who has a tough shell around him that’s really important to the history of the musical and he tries to be a good dad despite what Will thinks of him,” Boone said.

Sophomore theater student Luke Craddock plays William “Will” Bloom, the musical’s deuteragonist and narrator of the 1998 novel. Will is the husband of Josephine Bloom, father of her unnamed child, and son of Edward and Sandra Bloom. Working with Craddock has been very insightful and impressive because he’s so talented at what he does that it’s ambitious. Craddock’s cheerful nature and serious attitude made working with him very enjoyable. Craddock gives his interpretation of his character, Will.

“Will’s childhood made him very pragmatic and much more down to earth. Will is a realist, a little pessimistic, and sees things as they are and he doesn’t do a lot of imaginative things. He’s very dry and dry and that’s partly because of his relationship with his dad,” Craddock said.

Emily Frerich plays Sandra Templeton-Bloom, the musical’s tritagonist. Sandra is the resolution to Will and Edward’s relationship. Frerich was my favorite person I got to interact with for this show. She is so talented, sweet, compassionate and such a good soul. One of my favorite memories from the show was when she gave everyone a bag of candy and compliment cards for Valentine’s Day. She’s an amazing soul and her singing is so good she sounded exceptionally better than when Kate Baldwin did the broadway version of Big Fish. Frerich gives her renditions of her character, Sandra.

“Sandra is an optimistic and adventurous person. She loves adventures and stories because of her imagination, which makes her the perfect partner for Edward,” Frerich said.

The musical features many different characters to fall in love with, played by so many talented students, each with specific roles that are very important to the musical as a whole. Working with all these theater students and seeing them in their element has been an absolute joy. Sophomore drama student James Alexander gives a quick overview of their character, Karl the Giant.

“Karl is a giant from Alabama who lives in a cave for most of his life until Edward Bloom comes in and tells him that he is and can be bigger than living in a cave and Karl listen to Edward and go out into the world and find yourself and your happiness,” Alexander said.

Making this musical was no small feat and it’s thanks to the incredible men and women who worked on the team, whether it was choreographing the musical prop, sound and light, designing the costumes and hair, coordinating rehearsals, etc., these men and women made the process of creating this musical easier and more enjoyable.

The drama department and the music department worked so diligently and impressively to prepare this musical for the opening night of March 3 and they delivered the musical perfectly. I am sad that it ended but also grateful to have lived this magical moment. Special mention to Thomas Wininger, Director of Choral Activities and Musical Director of Big Fish the Musical. Working with Wininger on any project is always so smooth and amazing, but he made this musical very easy, comfortable and stress-free. Wininger explains why you should have seen the musical on premiere night.

“First of all, it’s a story that everyone can relate to. It’s moving and moving and it will make you feel something and secondly, it’s music that everyone can relate to. identify and that mimics our culture in wide variety,” Wininger said.

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