Last night we attended a performance of Big The Musical at The Empress Theatre, and had a blast! This is our third production we have seen at The Empress, and every time we attend this theatre we fall more and more in love with it! One of my friends commented that it’s “community theatre at its best!” My kids get excited as we attend more and more productions here, and they recognize key players from previous productions.
One of my favorite movies growing up was/is Big, starring Tom Hanks, so I was excited to see the stage version of it. My favorite part of the movie is where Josh eats and gags on Beluga. Jake Andersen, who played grownup Josh Baskin, did a fantastic job with that scene, as well as another scene with “grownup food.” I couldn’t stop laughing, and was thrilled they played up this aspect of grownup Josh.
Andersen’s interaction with the Susan Lawrence character, played by Rebecca Waite, was fun to watch. They both did a great job with their roles, and interacted well together.
When you go see Big, make sure you bring quarters for Zoltar Speaks! He is in the lobby before each show, and will grant you a wish for 25 cents. But be careful what you wish for; last night I made a wish to be “big,” and when I woke up this morning, I was a thirty-something year old woman! Looks like I will need to return for anther screening and make another wish with Zoltar!
Travis Hymas played the role of young Josh Baskin, and did a great job with the role. I especially enjoyed his singing and the way he interacted with his best friend, Billy (played by Ryan Bullock). His on-stage relationship with Kimberly Johnson, who played the part of Mrs. Baskin, was touching, especially at the end when he returns home.
One of my favorite things about this specific show was the costume design. Because Big takes place in the 80s, the costume designer at The Empress really played up on this. I enjoyed seeing the feathered bangs, crimped hair, leg warmers, denim jackets, Converse shoes and rolled up jeans. The overall look of the characters really added to the story, and even my 9-year old daughter noticed how disheveled the hair was on the workers that had been “working all night” to come up with a Christmas toy. Using the costumes and the look of the characters to tell the story was that one extra step that stood out to me in this production, and made it that much more spectacular. Chalese Craig did a fabulous job with the choreography, and we especially enjoyed the dance scene during the MacMillan company party. It made us want to get out of our seats and dance with them!
Every time we attend a production at The Empress, my kids are excited to see how the set is going to be painted. They change it with each production, and it is always fun to see. We really enjoyed the set design of Big, and loved that they turned the stairs into piano keys for the piano scene between Josh and Mr MacMillan.
The best part of live theatre is that sometimes the unexpected can happen, such as a phone falling off of its stand, or a broken coffee pot. It’s fun to see how the characters will react to these unexpected twists during performance, and the cast of Big The Musical did a fabulous job with their ad lib last night! Andersen had us laughing at how quick and witty he was at coming up with things to say to “explain” the circumstances. This is why live theatre is much more entertaining than just sitting down for a pre-taped movie!
Big The Musical included a lot of kids in the production, and they did a fabulous job. The kids from “Josh’s neighborhood” really got into their roles, and it was obvious they were having a fun time performing. I wonder what they thought about wearing “retro” clothes from the 80s, and having 80s hair-dos?!
In going along with a toy company theme, there are toys set up in the hallway for silent auction.
Big The Musical is playing at The Empress Theatre until March 2nd 2013, every Monday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30pm, and a special matinee performance on Saturday February 16th at 2pm. You can purchase tickets online, or in person at the Empress box office in Magna.
A huge thanks to The Empress Theatre marketing team for inviting us back to The Empress to review Big The Musical! We absolutely love attending performances there, and this one was definitely no exception! Thanks!
About The Empress Theatre:
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I was provided with two complimentary tickets to Big The Musical to attend and write a review. I was not compensated financially, nor was I required or persuaded to write any certain type of review. The opinions and views expressed in this review are all my own.