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  • Pamela Froman

Big Fish


The relationship between fathers and sons can be a strained one, yet filled with fancy, love and the bonds of family, it can overcome any obstacle. Nowhere is that more evident than in the musical Big Fish.

Based on the celebrated novel by Daniel Wallace and the acclaimed Columbia Pictures film directed by Tim Burton, Big Fish is the story of Edward Bloom, a traveling salesman who lives life with a healthy dose of imagination. Edward's incredible, larger-than-life stories thrill everyone around him - most of all, his devoted wife Sandra.

As Edward's adult son Will nears the building of his own family with a child of his own, he struggles to understand the man behind his father's creative tales. As a child, Will idolizes his father. Young Will, played by Marcello Silva, is swept away on a wave of fancy every time Edward shares a new tale. But as an adult Will is unsure of having his head in the clouds. What is the real truth behind the stories? And should Will be proud of his father or mistrust him?

Simi Valley Cultural Center presented this illuminating production, starring Will Shupe as Edward and Andrew Allen as Will. Shupe has been working in theatre for over 20 years. He played the uninhibited Edward skillfully, showing us the man behind the mystery. As well, Allen's work in the role as Edward's son Will was relatable and down to earth. He last appeared as Perchik in Fiddler on the Roof at this same stage – Simi Valley Cultural Center!

The music behind the performance really gave a thrill to this amazing story, and one of the best singers in the production had to be Conchita Belisle Newman, who played Edward's wife Sandra. She really breathed life into the character she portrayed. Newman holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre from the Boston Conservatory and she is truly talented. And of course, the supporting ensemble cast really brought this fun-filled production to life.

This rollicking fantasy based in the American South is a tribute to the power of dreaming. Witches, mermaids, giants and a hero that saves the day – you'll find it all here. And with a gorgeous score and lyrics by Andrew Lippa, as well as a funny, heartwarming book by John August, Big Fish teaches you how to to live big!

Big Fish is playing through May 21, 2017 at the Simi Valley Cultural Center, located at 3050 Los Angeles Ave. in Simi Valley. For tickets call the Box Office at (805) 583-7900, email: artscenter@simivalley.org or visit the website at http://www.simi-arts.org

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