REVIEW: Big – The Musical

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Looking for some family fun this weekend? Want to introduce your children to the theatre? BIG: THE MUSCIAL at Parrish Auditorium at Miami Hamilton might just be a good bet.

This is the musical version of the Tom Hank’s movie, which I haven’t seen in years. Jeremy Braley plays the lead, Josh Baskin, a 13-year-old who wishes he was “big” and gets his wish much to his chagrin. Braley is a physical performer and this role requires it. He does a remarkable job maintaining the innocence of the character throughout the show. He is wonderful.

Also wonderful was Pam Noah-Leonard, who plays his mother.  Despite being under the weather, her professional vocal chops shine through in both of her solos.  She’s fantastic.  Also vocally strong is Julia Bowen, who plays “Susan Lawrence.”  There are wonderful performances from Bill Balfour, Brett Parr, and the entire dance ensemble, as well.

Director Kevin Brunck has the daunting task of taking a very large ensemble of adults, teens, and children and finding a way to utilize them all without getting in each others way.  The staging of this beast of a musical is extremely well done; I’ve often said Brunck is a genius and he proves it again with this show.

Other highlights include the gorgeous orchestra led by Benjamin Price.  While a little over powering, especially in Act One, this is a talented group of musicians.  Brian Kienlen designed the set-piece for the iconic giant floor-piano and it actually works!  Kudos to Kienlen, as well as Braley and Balfour for pulling this scene off in such a great way.

Now, make no mistake, this is definitely community theatre.  But with some professional talent imported from Kings Island (including a random cameo by Snoopy himself) the Hamilton Rotary Club has a winner that the whole family can enjoy.

BIG THE MUSICAL performs tonight, tomorrow afternoon, tomorrow evening, and Sunday afternoon.  Here’s a link to the Facebook event where you can get tickets.

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