“The ending is always a surprise.” Daniel Wallace wrote this in his book Big Fish which was is the source material for Homestead’s musical this year. But as our witch in the musical says, “Everyone dies, Edward Bloom, but your death is glorious. Let me show you.” She then reveals all the people whose life Edward will impact. That is all we are, the stories and memories we pass on to friends and family. And that is just what Homestead High School’s production of Big Fish the Musical is all about, storytelling and remembering.
The musical cast comically bring to life the fantastic stories that dominate much of Edward’s creative energy. And they are indeed comical, involving a giant, a witch, wartime heroics, a circus and its freak performers, the story of how Edward met and wooed his beautiful, socially out-of-his-class wife, and a bizarre fishing technique known as the Alabama Stomp.
A witch, a giant, a circus, a mermaid and a hidden secret or two are all part of the whimsical odyssey of Edward Bloom (Jack Cannon), who rose above his poor Alabama farm roots to live a fantastical life. Alternating from the present to the past through flashbacks, the story follows Bloom’s son Will (Ronnie Match) as he tries to verify his dying father’s remarkable stories of adventure and romance while reconciling their complicated and conflicted relationship.
Cannon’s down-home charm and supple range match perfectly with the radiant Chloe Diamond, who is captivating as his wife Sandra. Match’s talents are on full display, and with his pregnant bride Josephine, a tender Kaet Sisney, and the endearing Josh Wirth as the young Will (a role shared with Will Saywer), this is a family you can really believe in. The ensemble covers numerous featured roles in the stories that unfold along the way, including Amelia Eichmeier (Witch), Gabrielle Martin (Girl in the Water), David Blatz (Karl), Ryenne Julian (Jenny), Katrina Liberman (Amos Calloway), Grayson Buesing (Don) and Ethan Schlesinger (Zacky).
Big Fish is enhanced immeasurably, as always with HHS musicals, by the live music flowing from the orchestra pit. The stage crew works tirelessly backstage creating the many worlds in Big Fish and the costumes and lighting add the finishing touch.
Patrons will find Big Fish an affecting and recognizable expression of human emotion: The jovial dad whose real heroics are buried under layers of heroic fantasies; the resentful son who is more like his father than he knows; the son’s fiancee, whose fresh eyes see the charm in the father to which the son has grown blind.